4. Hayden Hurst
2022 Team: Cincinnati Bengals
Hurst did not have a huge season for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2022 (52 receptions for 414 yards and two touchdowns in 13 games), as a background player in the Bengals’ offensive machine with Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, etc. leading the way. In three playoff games he was a solid contributor, with 13 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown.
But Hurst has 50-plus catches in two of the last three seasons (56 catches and six touchdowns with the Atlanta Falcons in 2020). He’s a capable pass catcher (six career drops on 249 career targets), who may just need a bigger opportunity/target share to reach a higher ceiling.
Hurst is not in a position to cash in big on the open market, which should put him right in the Lions’ wheelhouse as they address other needs in free agency.
Hurst is a better receiver than a blocker, which strains his potential fit in Detroit. But Pro Football Focus has graded him solidly as a pass blocker, and he does offer a little versatility as a passing game weapon (98 slot snaps; 18.9 percent slot snap rate-No. 28 among tight ends last season, per Player Profiler).