Falcons: Why will Tight End University benefit Kyle Pitts and Hayden Hurst?

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This trend of positional summits to collaborate on tricks of the trade started with pass rushers, offensive linemen, and quarterbacks and continues with Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Greg Olsen hosting the first-ever Tight End University, broken by Adam Schefter.

Kelce spoke with Matt McMullen and Mitch Holthus during the 2021 draft, where he shared some thoughts on being a mentor to the position group as a whole. “That’s the biggest thing for me is to help this position grow,” Kelce said. “I didn’t have this success and I don’t have all the fun out there on the field without a guy like Tony Gonzalez or Vernon Davis. I mean you name it, the guys before me, they’ve blazed the trail and given me an opportunity to have that much trust in an offense. You name it. I’ve just been very fortunate. I just want to pass that torch.”

TEU has over 40 attendees in its inaugural summit, including Kyle Pitts — the only rookie invited — and Hayden Hurst. It makes a lot of sense for both of these players to attend because both have something they can learn and improve upon. Pitts is a rookie, and though he projects to be the next great receiving threat at tight end, everyone should temper their expectations for him to contribute in 2021 immediately. Historically, rookie tight ends have struggled mightily and usually see the greatest leap in production coming in their second year. However, Pitts’ freakish size and athleticism, combined with the advice of Hall of Fame-caliber tight ends at the summit should allow him to thrive from day one.

After all, the 6’6″, 245-pound freak ran his 40-yard dash in a remarkable 4.44 seconds, recorded a 10’9″ broad jump and a 33.5-inch vertical leap at his Florida pro day. However, the most impressive measurement had to be his wingspan, which is over 83 inches and is longer than any other wide receiver or tight end that has been measured at the NFL combine in the last 20 years.

It is apparent why he was invited, but Hurst may need the advice just as much. He’s in a contract year and hasn’t quite lived up to his draft selection. Still, there is reason to believe he can capture magic after an extraordinary offseason that’s seen the former Gamecock get in the best shape of his life. Focus and determination combined with Arthur Smith’s love for tight ends should propel Hurst to career-highs, but the collaboration between the league’s best tight ends will benefit him in more ways than one — mainly blocking, which is paramount in Smith’s offense and something Hurst has struggled with.

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