Despite having a very good 2019 season at the University of Washington, tight end Hunter Bryant wasn’t drafted. The Detroit Lions signed the undrafted free agent. Here are Bryant’s odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year as well as the Lions’ over/under win total.
Coming out of high school in the Seattle area, Bryant was ranked as the No. 2 tight end prospect in the country. Over his prep career, he caught 138 passes for 2,483 yards and 35 touchdowns. In 2017 as a true freshman at UW, Bryant played in nine games and started five. He finished the season with 22 receptions for 331 yards and a touchdown.
Bryant was limited to five games as a sophomore due to injury. He would have 11 catches for 238 yards and a score.
Last year, he was named first-team All-Pac-12 in catching 52 balls for 825 yards and three scores. The recaptions were second-most in UW single-season history by a tight end, while 825 receiving yards were just 25 short of the school record for a tight end. Bryant was also one of three finalists for the Mackey Award, which goes to the nation’s top tight end. He was named UW’s most outstanding offensive player at the postseason awards banquet.
Bryant concluded his career – he opted not to return to school for his senior year – with 85 receptions for 1,394 yards, the fourth- and second-most, respectively, by a tight end in UW history.
“It’s been a long journey,” Bryant posted on social media when declaring for the draft. “From the first time I picked up a football when I was five years old to playing at Eastside Catholic and winning championships with my brothers; from training at FSP to going to UW and winning a Pac-12 championship and playing in a Rose Bowl. I’d like to thank everyone who’s helped me out along the way — especially my family, my coaches, my teammates, but most importantly, the fans of Husky nation. With that being said, I’m declaring for the 2020 NFL draft and pursuing my childhood dreams of becoming a pro. I can’t wait to make the state of Washington proud.”
At the NFL Combine, Bryant ran an unofficial 40-yard dash of 4.60 seconds. Bryant (6’2/248) was tied with Cincinnati’s Joseph Degura for second in his running group with a sprint of 4.60 seconds. NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein compared Bryant to Redskins TE Jordan Reed. Bryant can play in the slot as a wide receiver as well, creating some mismatches for the defense.
He may not be much of a blocker, but he clearly stands out in this year’s tight end class because of his physical traits and his tantalizing upside as a big target. He’s great after the catch, a fluid mover with the ability to shake a tackle or two. His production came in Washington’s pro-style offense as opposed to a high-octane spread attack that would have inflated his numbers.
It was rather surprising that Bryant wasn’t drafted, although a history of knee issues likely played a role. For example, Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame scout Gil Brandt rated Bryant the No. 3 tight end and 86th prospect overall among players at all positions. ESPN rated Bryant 86th, and No. 5 among tight ends.
Several teams tried to sign him, with the Lions winning out. The Lions are already pretty heavily invested at tight end between spending a first-round pick on TJ Hockenson last season and signing Jesse James to a decent-sized deal, but Bryant brings a different element to the group and has the potential to really benefit the offense.