He can be one of the top tight ends in this league. He’ll step in there. He’ll block. He’ll catch. (We have) Antonio Gates so he is learning from one of the best in the game right now.
The new Chargers head coach is certainly setting a high bar for his young tight end, but it is not at all unrealistic. Statistically speaking, Henry was already one of the best tight ends in the NFL during his rookie campaign. He was targeted 53 times, caught 68% of balls thrown his way, and amassed 478 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Those traditional stats do not tell the whole story, though.
By Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjust Yards Above Replacement, Henry was the league’s fifth most productive tight end behind only Travis Kelce, Jimmy Graham, Martellus Bennett, and Rob Gronkowski. That is some pretty impressive company for a first-year player, and on a per-play basis, he was actually more efficient than Kelce and Graham.
Coach Lynn seems to think Hunter Henry can get even better based on his comments, and if he is learning from Antonio Gates, you have to imagine he can. If he does, the rest of the league had better watch out.