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Bengals sent tight ends coach to check out Hayden Hurst at South Carolina pro day

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The Bengals send tight ends coach Jonathan Hayes to take a closer look at Hayden Hurst.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina recently held their pro day, and the Bengals made sure to send their tight ends coach Jonathan Hayes.

Why?

To get a closer look at one of the top tight ends in this year’s draft in Hayden Hurst.

Hurst is an interesting prospect. He will be 25 years old by the start of the season. He is much older than most other prospect because he spent two years trying to break his way into baseball after being selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

When that didn’t pan out, he returned to South Carolina to give football another go, and it really worked out. Over the past two seasons, he accumulated 92 catches for 1,175 yards and three touchdowns.

Why are the Bengals still checking out tight ends even after re-signing Tyler Eifert?

Well, if you look closely the Bengals don’t have any tight ends under contract past next season. Cincinnati has always been a team to draft a player at a position of need a year earlier than needed, and this is one of those times.

It is possible that they could end up re-signing Eifert, Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomah next offseason, but they would rather play it safe by drafting a tight end that they could have for four years just in case.

It doesn’t hurt that it would also be a cheaper option that re-signing all three of those players, not to mention Eifert hasn’t exactly been in reliable health the past two seasons. Having a backup tight end to fill his role would be a great luxury to have.

Hurst is a great combination of size and speed. He measured out to be 6’4” and 250 pounds. He also tied for the third best 40-yard dash time among tight ends. His age will give teams some concerns, but the bright side to it is you basically know what you’re getting. There are is no filling out the rest of his frame or getting stronger.

The only negative to really give him, aside from the age, is his route running needs improving. Sometimes he gives away his route, or he doesn’t optimize his speed by running a route poorly. Obviously, some time with coaching will fix that right up.

Overall, he will end up being a nice option for a few years for a team that needs to upgrade at the tight end position. It will likely depend just how far he falls though if he ends up on the Bengals.