In a class dominated by the name Kyle Pitts, Boston College’s Hunter Long awaits among the best of the rest when it comes to tight end options at the 2021 NFL Draft.
Long enjoyed something of a breakout year in 2020 as he led all tight ends in college football with 57 receptions from 89 targets for 685 receiving yards and five touchdowns as a prominent feature in the Boston College offense.
Prior to that he had managed just 26 catches for 464 yards and two scores in 2019, and four receptions for 103 yards and two touchdowns in 2018.
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“You guys can expect just a monster,” former college team-mate and now Green Bay Packers running back AJ Dillon told Sky Sports. “He can really do it all, he really can.
“Super smart kid, awesome guy to have in the locker room so the sky is the limit and I’m excited, he did his thing in the Senior Bowl and I’m just excited for him, he’s going to get picked up for sure I know that, and eventually show the world what he can do on a national stage.”
Boston College’s Hunter Long was named top TE on National team in a vote from the LB and DS groups at practice player-of-the-week awards ceremony tonight at 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl. #TheDraftStartsInMobile pic.twitter.com/VknifeglL2
An impressive Senior Bowl week warranted high praise from analysts, including NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks who highlighted Long as a contender to be the second tight end off the board. Florida’s mismatch nightmare Pitts landed with the Atlanta Falcons at the No 4 overall pick on day one.
The 22-year-old is a smooth route-runner with promising upside, has natural pass-catching ability, uses his size well to absorb contact, operates with good body control laterally and carries potential as a long-term contributor in the NFL.
He finds himself alongside the likes of Penn State’s Pat Freiermuth, Miami’s Brevin Jordan, Notre Dame’s Tommy Tremble and Georgia’s Tre’ McKitty as the leading tight end candidates on day two.
“Hunter fits that realm of he’s like a Greg Olsen, athletic strong, reliable, durable tight end,” said former NFL safety and Boston College product Will Blackmon. “I have him definitely in the top three for tight ends.
“He’s easily going to play 10 years instantly so I can see him in systems like a West Coast type of offense with high percentage passes. Maybe like the Minnesota Vikings, I can see him going there with Kirk Cousins, I think he’d fit perfectly.
“The Rams do have (Tyler) Higbee, but I can see something like that. You saw what New England did, they loaded up on tight ends and paid big money for that. The Chargers lost their tight end (Hunter Henry) so I could definitely see the Chargers being a high place. Definitely in those kinds of systems.”
Coverage of the NFL Draft continues on Sky Sports NFL on Friday and Saturday, with the second and third round picks taking place on Friday from midnight
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