These days, everyone is talking about running backs and wide receivers. It’s time to talk about the big boys lining up next to the tackles at the end of the line of scrimmage. I cannot tell you how excited I am to hit you with my Hunter Long rookie profile, the 2021 rookie tight end from Boston College. This is an incredibly deep 2021 draft class and Long should be one of the top four tight ends taken. Let us dig deeper into the redshirt junior from Chestnut Hill and tell you why he should be moving up your draft boards!
At the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl, Long measured in at 6’ 5” and 253 lbs. He has an 83” wingspan and his arms were 33 ¾”. Both his wingspan and arm length were tied for the longest amongst offensive skill position players in the Senior Bowl. Those measurables are going to be very attractive to any NFL scout, as it means his catch radius will be huge and will help him when he’s asked to block. Throw it up to him like he’s playing the post in basketball and let him do the rest. He has great NFL size and is a well-rounded tight end prospect.
As a redshirt sophomore in 2019, he caught 28 passes, two TDs, and led the BC Eagles with 509 receiving yards. His 18.2 yards per reception that year was good for the fifth-highest mark in the ACC. In 2020, he doubled his catch total from the previous year and came down with 57 receptions for 685 yards and caught five TDs. Long’s 57 catches were most among FBS tight ends and ranked sixth-highest in the ACC this past year.
In the 2021 NFL draft, there is an absolute unit of a tight end in Florida’s Kyle Pitts. Pitts is an incredible athlete, is a vertical threat down the field, and is more of a refined receiver. (Click here to check out our Kyle Pitts Rookie Profile from our YouTube channel). Long does not have Pitts’ speed, but he is a complete tight end. In fact, I believe he’s the second-best “complete” tight end in this class behind Penn State’s Pat Freiermuth. He can block, make those big, contested catches, and can find the soft spot across the middle, and is able to absorb those big hits from the secondary due to his frame. He’s a do-it-all tight end who you never have to take off the field. A big asset that Long brings to the NFL is that he played in a pro-style offense at Boston College. He is used to running a balanced offensive attack and was utilized in all phases of the game scheme. You can see below in this clip from Brandon Lejeune’s Devy Dashboard that Long can get downfield easily and has great hand-eye coordination.
Although Long has a really well-rounded skill set at the tight end position, he’s not going to be a difference-maker athletically. He doesn’t have flashy speed, he’s not going to hurdle defenders or break any ankles in the open field. His athleticism can be summed up as: it’s alright. I don’t think he’s capped as an athlete right now so hopefully, once he gets into an NFL strength and conditioning program, we’ll see more out of him. The other thing I’d like to see Long work on at the next level is his route running. Compared to someone like Pitts, he’s just not as refined as he could be with his route running. If he’s able to work on some of the details of his routes, I think that could have a big impact on his involvement in the passing game.
NFL Draft Possibilities
Of the teams that need a tight end, I would think the Panthers, Washington Football Team, Patriots, Texans, and surprise…the Chiefs could all draft Long. I have him as my TE3 behind Kyle Pitts and Pat Freiermuth. Most people have Miami’s Brevin Jordan as their TE3, but I believe Long is a more refined tight end and could make an impact earlier. Jordan is obviously the better athlete, but he has more to work on as a raw prospect. I know you are probably still hung up on that Chiefs pick, but honestly, even though they have the best tight end in the league with Travis Kelce – there is no one behind him. Long would be the perfect backup to Kelce. He is a complete tight end, much like Kelce, and can offer so much to an Andy Reid offense.
Long may not have the storied college career that some tight ends do, but he has shown the past two years that he can hang with the big boys and excel. He has the perfect blend of catching and blocking. He may not be quick, but he has enough speed to be a receiving threat and with that wingspan and arm size, you do not have to throw him dimes. We all know that in fantasy, it takes tight ends a few years to produce and mature, but with the leg up that he has via playing in a pro-style offense he should be able to pick up NFL offenses quickly. Finding a comp for him is tough. Size-wise, he’s similar to guys like Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Zach Ertz. Looking at the overall player, though, I think he comps similarly to someone like Hayden Hurst. Better blocker than pass catcher, but can get better with time. I’ve seen little hype with Hunter Long, so you can take him later in your dynasty rookie drafts, let him simmer on your taxi/bench, and reap the rewards when the time comes!
Thank you for checking out my Huner Long rookie profile and be sure to keep our dynasty page bookmarked as we’ll be dropping content here all offseason!