Marc Sessler of NFL.com projected one future Pro Bowler for each team and his choice for the Falcons is tight end Hayden Hurst.
"Consider this a projection for Hurst, who fills an Austin Hooper-shaped void for the Falcons," Sessler said of Hurst. "Hooper nabbed a pair of Pro Bowl nods after snatching 146 passes from Matt Ryan over the past two seasons. Hurst, meanwhile, squeezed out just 43 grabs over his first two campaigns in Baltimore while playing second-fiddle to Mark Andrews. Ryan sees the potential, though, calling Hurst one of the 'fastest and most athletic tight ends I've ever played with.' Tight ends have thrived in Atlanta, providing evidence that Hurst is ready to make good on the first-round pedigree that saw him picked by the Ravens ahead of planetary wonder Lamar Jackson in 2018."
The expectations are high for Hurst, there's no doubt about it and Sessler's reasoning proves why.
Hurst, 26, was drafted by the Ravens with the 25th-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, one pick before the Falcons selected wide receiver Calvin Ridley out of Alabama.
When asked specifically about the impression Hurst has made on Ryan so far, the former NFL MVP pointed to his willingness to get extra work in with his new quarterback at all times.
Hurst recently said he was traveling from Jacksonville, Fla. to Atlanta to run routes and catch passes from Ryan.
In addition to Ryan's connection to his tight ends, Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter also has a long history of utilizing them often.
Look at how Koetter featured Tony Gonzalez in his first stint with the Falcons to Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard in Tampa Bay to Hooper last season.
That right there is enough of a reason to believe Hurst is due for a big year.