No. 4: Chargers tight end Hunter Henry
Tight end Hunter Henry finds himself at what might be the crossroads of his career with Los Angeles. He will play on the franchise tag in 2020, and Henry said he didn’t believe he’d get an extension prior to the deadline.
To me, Henry is in that second tier of tight ends after guys like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Rob Gronkowski, Philadelphia Eagles’ Zach Ertz, Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce, and San Francisco 49ers’ George Kittle. It’s clear injuries have held Henry back from becoming an undisputed top-five tight end. The torn ACL in 2018 was devastating, and it’s clear he wasn’t back to fully being himself as a player in 2019.
ACL tears usually take two years to recover from.
Blocking is where there needs to be some improvement from Henry. In 2019, he had a 56.7 overall Pro Football Focus blocking grade. If an NFL team is going to pay a tight end big money in the current era, there just has to be better production than that. As said earlier, though, there will be some improvement in that department if he’s fully recovered from the ACL injury.
Staying on the field is the main goal for Henry in 2020, as well as incrementally improving on route running and blocking. There are a lot of “ifs” when talking about what needs to happen for L.A. to extend Henry, but there’s also a lot of potential.
He’s still in his mid-20s, too. There were times in 2020 where Henry looked unstoppable. He’s able to make great contested catches as well. The future of Henry on the Chargers is unknown, but he has more than enough talent to ball out on the franchise tag.