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Dolphins draft TE Hunter Long with No. 81 pick of 2021 NFL Draft

Boston College TE Hunter Long goes to the Miami Dolphins with the No. 81 pick in the 2021 draft. Will he be a fantasy football asset to start his career?

Boston College Eagles tight end Hunter Long (80) catches a pass against Duke Blue Devils safety Marquis Waters in the fourth quarter at Wallace Wade Stadium. The Boston College Eagles won 26-6. Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins made a solid addition to their tight end room with former Boston College Eagles player Hunter Long, selecting him in the third round, No. 81 overall. One of the top players at the position in this draft class, Long has a chance to make a name for himself as a contributor in the passing game for years to come in this offense.

Long broke through in his second college season and started all 11 games in 2020. In his final season, Long led all Boston College players in receptions. He showed off his ability in the passing game by finishing the season with 57, and they went for 685 yards and five touchdowns.

Scouting Report

Like many standout tight ends, Long is much more known for his ability as a pass catcher than he is as a blocker. He was a critical part of the Boston College offense in each of the last two seasons and proved to be a real matchup problem for defenses with his 6-foot-5 frame. Long does a great job making plays on the ball but in order to sustain a long career in the NFL, he will need to get better in the run blocking area of his game, which can be fixed through coaching technique.

Fantasy football impact

Rookie

Mike Gesicki is still the top dog in Miami, so Long will have to take some lumps in Year 1. Gesicki played at least 70% of the snaps for Carolina last season and split time with Adam Shaheen and Durham Smythe. The 25-year-old tight end led Miami in receiving touchdowns with six last season, and ranked second in receptions (53), targets (85), and receiving yards (703). Tua Tagovailoa probably won’t focus on his backup tight end too much with DeVante Parker, Jaylen Waddle, Will Fuller, and Myles Gaskin at his disposal. Long should be an afterthought as a rookie.

Long-term

Long didn’t score a ton of touchdowns in college, but his size, athletics, and ability to consistently move the chains could make him a constant threat in time. The rookie can find seams in the defense, can haul in throws away from his body, and be effective on short, intermediate, and deep routes. Long will be a quality starter at some point, but it might not be with the Dolphins.