NFL Draft

A Tight End for the Future: Hunter Henry

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The Chargers followed the surprising selection of Joey Bosa in the first round with another shocker in the second, tabbing Arkansas TE Hunter Henry with the No. 35 overall pick.

With Ladarius Green now in Pittsburgh and Antonio Gates turning 36 later this season, the plan is for Henry to replace Green in the short-term and take over for Gates in the long-term.

“I’ve loved watching Antonio Gates growing up,” Henry said. “Now to be able to play with a Hall of Fame tight end, it’s an honor.”

At 6’5″ and 253 lbs., Henry possesses the frame and playmaking ability to make an immediate impact at the highest level. In 35 career games as a Razorback, he caught 116 passes for 1,661 yards and nine touchdowns, improving his receptions and yardage totals each year.

Henry’s immaculate skills as a pass catcher warranted him consensus first-team All-American honors as well as the John Mackey award for the nation’s best tight end. Henry finds himself in elite company as past John Mackey award winners include Tyler Eifert, Heath Miller and Dallas Clark.

Perhaps Henry’s most desirable trait is what the Chargers lacked most last year: reliability. Henry did not drop a single pass his junior season, and 93 of his 116 career receptions went for a first down or touchdown.

“For us, he’s the best tight end in the draft,” said GM Tom Telesco.

Henry should be an immediate boon the Chargers offense even with Gates still entrenched as the starter. There are more than enough targets to go around in San Diego’s pass-happy offense and Henry should continue to move the chains and dominate in the red zone.

He certainly has some giant shoes to fill when Gates eventually retires, but if anyone in this year’s draft is capable of filling them, it is Henry.

About Jesse Cohen

Jesse Cohen graduated from the University of California, San Diego, where he received his B.S. in Physics. This background helps Jesse to find insight through a statistically comprehensive and analytical view of the topics he covers. When he's not covering sports, he plays professional ultimate for the San Diego Growlers.

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