South Carolina tight end prospect Hayden Hurst could be as high as the 19th overall pick of the NFL draft, ESPN analyst Mel Kiper said Wednesday.
“Hayden Hurst is a first-rounder,” said Kiper, who has covered the NFL draft for 35 years. “Maybe he gets into the late first round. I think New Orleans would be a good fit for him (with the No. 27 overall pick).”
Kiper compared Hurst, 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, to former Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller, a 6-foot-5, 250-pounder who had 592 catches for 6,569 yards in 11 NFL seasons.
“Excellent hands, versatile, just a great kid, very humble, well-spoken,” Kiper said of Hurst.
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Hurst caught 100 passes for 1,281 yards and three touchdowns in a three-year career with the Gamecocks. He gave up his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL draft early. The draft will be held April 26-28 in Arlington, Texas.
Hurst and South Dakota State tight end Dallas Goedert are the two best tight ends in the draft, and Hurst’s stock is helped because he’s a good blocker, Kiper said.
“He’s an inline blocker, which very few of these guys do know,” Kiper said. “He’s unique to the position now.”