Hunter Bryant may not find much consolation in this revelation fast gaining traction, from Sports Illustrated to The Athletic to Mel Kiper Jr. (before a late flip), but the former University of Washington tight end has been deemed the NFL's top free-agent signing.
Of all the players not chosen in the recently conducted draft, and that included eight other Huskies, Bryant's exclusion and subsequent signing with the Detroit Lions has generated the most discussion.
Some considered him the nation's top tight end based on receiving skills alone, with his mix of size and speed. He was more of a hybrid pass-catcher than anyone else available.
But once seven rounds and 255 picks were in, Bryant was not among the selections.
Husky Maven/SI's Mike Martin, however, pointed out to Dakota Brecht of SI/All Lions that Bryant unwisely put on added weight for the NFL combine to impress the assembled scouts in Indianapolis, only have his speed decrease from 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash to 4.7.
Of course, NFL teams might have raised red flags after examining Bryant's surgically repaired knees and medical records up close. Still, the Issaquah, Washington, product has so much upside a late-round draft pick couldn't have been too prohibitive.
"Bryant falling out of the draft is the clear-cut biggest head-scratcher on this list," NBC Sports Northwest's Jonathan Warner wrote. "He was 79th overall and the top-ranked tight end on our board, and it's not as if were significantly higher on him than mot draft pundits. ... Barring red flags popping up related to several knee injuries he suffered in the past, Bryant falling out of the draft entirely is a shock."
As the draft came to a close, ESPN's Kiper promoted Bryant as the best player available until making him the second-best draft candidate still on the board -- behind UW running back and teammate Salvon Ahmed.
Now all Bryant has to do is prove everybody right. Detroit should become enamored with everything about this guy, from his gliding route-running style to his deep, resonant voice (see video).