New England Patriots

Bill Belichick continues to make the rounds at various Pro Day events ahead of the NFL Draft. He attended Tuesday’s Pro Day for the South Carolina Gamecocks, and one of the players he met with plays a position of intrigue.

As reported by Josh Kendall of The State in Columbia, S.C., tight end prospect Hayden Hurst said he met privately with Belichick twice – neither of them at his Pro Day on Tuesday. He met the Patriots head coach during the Combine in Indianapolis, and again on Monday night.

“He’s just a normal football coach,” Hurst said of Belichick during the meeting. “You get in the room with him and he just talks football, asks you about plays, your offense, things like that. It’s not that crazy. At first, when I walked in, I was like, ‘That’s the guy I see on TV,’ but you get used to it after a little while.”

Hurst is generally projected to be drafted right around the Patriots’ picks at No. 31 and 43. His NFL.com Draft Profile compares him to Dallas Clark as a big, athletic tight end with star potential as a pass-catcher. However, his blocking apparently needs work.

Here’s a look at what he can do when the football is thrown his way:

So Belichick’s interest in meeting with Hurst multiple times would indicate that he may have some interest in drafting the heir apparent to Rob Gronkowski as the Patriots’ starting tight end. However, it could also just mean that Belichick wants to gather information about Hurst with the potential of acquiring him down the road.

Whatever he ends up doing, it’s clear that Belichick likes him some Hayden Hurst.

Who Else Did He Scout?

Rob Gronkowski Patriots reacts with head coach Bill Belichick after catching a touchdown pass for the New England Patriots against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on November 26, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski Patriots reacts with head coach Bill Belichick after catching a touchdown pass for the New England Patriots against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on November 26, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Belichick reportedly also met with linebacker Skai Moore and defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth. Moore, whom NFL.com projects as a seventh-round pick or undrafted free agent, described Belichick as “a pretty quiet guy” and “real down to Earth” during their meeting, when they watched game film from South Carolina’s game against Clemson last season.

Stallworth, meanwhile, described Belichick as “more intense” than Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp, but his current coach is “right around there.” The South Carolina nose tackle is projected as a late-round pick.

The Next Tight End?

Just because Belichick is meeting with these players doesn’t mean he specifically intends to draft them – or even draft at their positions. But if he keeps meeting with tight ends at future Pro Days, that could indicate that he’s seeking the team’s tight end of the future. Cynical types could take it a step further and frame it as a question about Rob Gronkowski’s future.

But either way, Gronk’s time in the NFL appears limited. So it would behoove the Patriots to find another tight end sooner rather than later, and perhaps Hurst will be on their radar come draft day.

— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.