2020 NFL Draft Profile: Strengths, weaknesses, best Fantasy fits for Hunter Bryant
The 2020 tight end class isn't strong at the top, but Hunter Bryant might be the best receiving option in the group.
A hyped high school prospect, Hunter Bryant played early as a true freshman before a knee injury cut short his season. After surgery the following June to the same knee, Bryant lost all but the last five games of his sophomore year. He finally made it through a full year in a solid junior season before declaring early for the NFL Draft. His Combine numbers weren't as impressive as some had hoped, but Bryant has good ball skills and tight ends with receiving ability always have more Fantasy upside than those that excel as blockers.
Numbers to Know
Date of Birth: August 20, 1998
Height: 6 feet 2 inches
Weight: 248 pounds
Hand: 10.4 inches
Arm: 32 inches
40 time: 4.74 seconds
Vertical leap: 32.5 inches
2019: 12 games, 52 receptions, 825 receiving yards (28% share), 3 TD
Bryant's 28% share of receiving yards in his final season is an impressive rate for a tight end, and his 15.9 yards per reception speaks to his ability to get down the field and put pressure on defenses.
Career: 26 games, 85 receptions, 1394 receiving yards (24% share), 5 TD
Bryant only played 26 career games due to injury, but when only looking at games he played, he posted receiving yardage market shares of 18% and 21% in his freshman and sophomore seasons. It's hard to reconcile only scoring five career touchdowns against his career 16.4 yards per reception rate, but he simply might not have enough size to be a big red zone threat.
Known Injury History
- Knee, October 2017 (surgery in June 2018)
A move tight end, Bryant is able to get downfield and make the types of vertical plays that are coveted from the tight end position in the modern NFL. Like many similar tight ends, Bryant looks at times like an oversized wide receiver rather than more traditional options at the position. His ball skills are evident despite some drops issues in his final season, and he's capable of adding plenty of yardage after the catch either through his athleticism or tackle-breaking ability.
Per PFF, Bryant averaged 2.71 yards per route run, an impressive figure that speaks to his ability to generate plays down the field.
Blocking isn't thought of as a strong suit of Bryant's game, and it could be a hindrance to him seeing consistent playing time at the next level. Bryant also didn't recover well from a knee injury in his freshman year, and it ultimately cost him a bigger chunk of his sophomore campaign. Though he weighed in at a reasonable 248 pounds, durability could become an issue.
Bryant's 4.74 40-yard dash time was underwhelming for a player of his size and archetype, and while it seems he put on weight before the Combine, his ability to play as a slightly bigger but perhaps slightly slower version of himself remains to be seen.
Ryan Wilson's Take
No. 2 TE
Hunter Bryant is an athlete who happens to be listed at tight end. He can line up anywhere — inline, slot, H-back, out wide — and in many ways reminds us of Evan Engram. He's not a great blocker, but that's not why you would draft him, either. But Hunter does run really good routes and has the speed to beat linebackers and even safeties down the field. Drops are the biggest red flag -- he dropped 9.7 percent of the catchable targets last season, according to Sports Info Solutions. Those drops appear to be focus-based and not from some inherent flaw in how he catches the football. Still, unless Bryant can convince NFL teams that he can be more consistent in that area, he'll likely slip in the draft.
It's easy to jump to names like Engram and Jordan Reed from a stylistic perspective, but there are several comparable tight ends to what Bryant is that haven't had nearly the same type of Fantasy impact. Bryant's realistic Fantasy comps are probably closer to guys like Jacob Hollister and Gerald Everett, who have both been productive in spurts. There is enough of a receiving profile here that should Bryant see the field in the coming years, he's likely to be Fantasy relevant. But from a prospect perspective, he doesn't look to have a top-five ceiling at the position.
Favorite Fantasy Fits
Tight end fits are always dependent on how the player will be used — for example, Bryant could theoretically be a weapon in New England, but we're not sure how Bill Belichick's offense might evolve. There would presumably be targets available for him in Cincinnati or Washington, but the Bengals have a deep receiver room and Washington may not have a great passing offense. Bryant would also make a lot of sense in Eric Ebron's vacated role alongside Jack Doyle with the Colts.
Fantasy Bottom Line
Though injuries cut short each of his first two collegiate seasons, Bryant's limited college track record features plenty of receiving production. Questions about his blocking and durability remain, and he didn't test out as an athletic specimen, but his film shows plenty of receiving ability as a move tight end who posted strong per-catch and per-route run efficiency.
Which players are poised for breakouts, which sleepers do you need to jump on, and which busts should you avoid at all costs in your Fantasy football league? Visit SportsLine now to get early rankings, plus see which WR is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.
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