OWINGS MILLS, Md. — On Thursday morning, near the midpoint of a Baltimore Ravens training camp during which Mark Andrews has emerged as the team’s most dependable pass catcher, fellow tight end Hayden Hurst offered a reminder that he should not be overlooked.
Late in practice, the 2018 first-round draft pick scored on a roughly 70-yard catch-and-run from Lamar Jackson, the longest completion of camp. Hurst acknowledged afterward that the completion came against “a little bit of a busted coverage,” but it was a vivid reminder of his potential.
Even if Hurst seems unlikely to out-produce Andrews this season, he’s distancing himself from a debut year marred by an early-season stress fracture in his foot and limited production (13 catches for 163 yards and a touchdown in 12 games).
“I think you learn from the past, but you don’t dwell on it, so where he is right now, he’s in a great place,” tight ends coach Bobby Engram said. “He’s working hard. I think he’s really understanding the offense and what we want him to do. . . . I think in Year 2, that’s when he can make a big jump in that category. And obviously, with his speed and his physicality, in terms of him wanting to put on weight and just be stronger but not lose any speed, I think that’s going to help him in the pass game moving forward as well.”
Hurst said his “head was spinning a little bit last year” and the game has slowed for him. He also beefed up during the offseason to 264 pounds from 247.
“Right now, I feel really good,” he said. “I feel like I’m making a lot of plays out there. I’m catching every ball that comes my way, and I just go out there and do my job. I know what I’m capable of on a football field.”
Also Thursday, the first rotation of first-team offensive linemen in 11-on-11 action featured Orlando Brown Jr. back at right tackle and rookie Ben Powers at left guard. The second rotation featured James Hurst at right tackle and Powers still at left guard.
Powers, a fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma, has been a fixture between left tackle Ronnie Stanley and center Matt Skura throughout camp. That’s partly because of third-year lineman Jermaine Eluemunor’s suboptimal conditioning and partly because Hurst, as Coach John Harbaugh said, “knows how to play the position.”
Hurst started at left guard for the Ravens over their final four regular season games, as well as their playoff loss to the Los Angeles Chargers — in which he struggled greatly.
So Powers hasn’t won the job, Harbaugh said — far from it. Asked about his first-team reps there, the coach was blunt: “We don’t have a starter there, and who would you want me to put in there? He’s the guy right now. Jermaine’s got to get in shape still more, and those guys are competing along with James Hurst.”
Meanwhile, the Ravens brought back a familiar face, signing defensive back and special teams ace Brynden Trawick, who played the first three of his six seasons with Baltimore.
Trawick, 29, spent the past two seasons with the Tennessee Titans after one year with the Oakland Raiders. In his first season with the Titans, he made the Pro Bowl as a special teams player.
“Brynden was a guy that we really wanted to keep when he left, and we weren’t able to do it financially,” Harbaugh said. “But to have him back, put him in the mix, those guys will be competing to make the team, and we’ll see what happens.”
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