With Antonio Gates out of the fold, the Los Angeles Chargers have room for a new, young tight end to step up and become part of the future. Could that player be Cole Hunt?
Last season, I spotlighted every one of the Chargers’ undrafted free agents and plan to do the same this year. The Chargers signed 21 free agents following the draft this year so this is going to be a process. However, they will all be profiled here in some order right here over the course of the next several weeks.
Up first will be Cole Hunt, a massive tight end from TCU.
At 6-7. Hunt will come into camp as the tallest tight end on the Chargers’ roster. He was a middle-of-the-pack tight end coming into the draft and didn’t receive a ton of attention in the draft process, so to see him go undrafted wasn’t all that surprising.
However, don’t let his career stat line fool you. Tight ends weren’t really asked to be part of the passing game in Gary Patterson’s offense with the Horned Frogs. Instead, Hunt was used for his size to be a blocker.
Hunt began his career at Rice and after two seasons there, transferred to TCU, the same school his older brother played at. Joey Hunt was a center for the Horned Frogs and is now a member of the Seattle Seahawks.
If the NFL thing doesn’t work out for Hunt, he should be able to fall back on a solid career. He earned a degree in sports management from Rice in just three years. Of course, he’d like to catch on with the Chargers before having to go down that road.
Hunt caught just 25 passes during his college career but was an impressive blocker and that will give him a chance to earn a look in camp this year. But he’ll need to be able to use his height to possibly become a red-zone target for the team.
The Chargers currently have six tight ends on the roster and of those, only Hunter Henry and Virgil Green should be considered locks to make the final roster. If the team keeps three tight ends, that means one spot is wide open. Hunt will compete with Sean Culkin, Ben Johnson and Braedon Bowman for that spot.
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How effective can Hunt be in the passing game? That’s what a potential roster spot will come down to for him. He didn’t display it in college, but if given the chance, he could surprise due to his size and athletic ability.
Because the team signed Green this offseason, it doesn’t need another tight end that is primarily used as a blocker. That said, I don’t see any of the other three guys that Hunt will be battling doing anything to blow him away this summer.
Culkin did spend last summer in camp with the Chargers, so that should give him a bit of an advantage.
I do feel Hunt has a chance to surprise some folks and if he is able to stretch the field and make plays after he makes the catch, he could be an intriguing player for this team.