The LA Chargers have long been associated with the tight end position. They’ve been blessed with two Hall of Famers — one already in the HoF and one in waiting — and are lucky enough once again to have a top-tier talent at the position.
Even without notable depth behind him, Henry’s talent is apparent and almost single-handedly keep this group in the top 10. For those curious, the Chargers landed at No. 9 in the NFL.
Author Steve Palazzolo, believes Henry has top-5 potential when he’s able to stay healthy. With grades of 85.7 and 86.7 in his rookie and sophomore seasons, respectively, he’s been one of the highest-graded tight ends since 2017, hanging consistently around Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce during that span.
Hunter Henry GET UP @Hunter_Henry84 pic.twitter.com/2Gw778sfGq— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) November 19, 2019
This past season, Henry only played in 12 games after succumbing to a tibia plateau fracture in the their Week 1 contest against the Colts. He finished the season with career-highs in both catches (55) and yards (652) while managing five touchdowns. Per Palazzolo, quarterbacks that have targeted Henry have a passer rating of 132.3 since 2016, which is more than 10 points higher than any other tight end.
Here’s what Palazzolo had to say about the Chargers’ depth at the position:
The backup is Virgil Green, a run-blocking specialist who takes on the more difficult, in-line blocking assignments. Green is not much of a threat in the passing game — he’s never caught more than 22 passes in a season — but he’s performed his backup role well during his nine years in the league.
The rest of the depth chart includes Stephen Anderson, more of a “move,” H-back type, and 6-foot-8 Donald Parham, a third-year project out of Stetson College. The Chargers need a full year of Henry to maximize their pass-game potential, and if he stays healthy, they’ll have one of the more productive tight end units in the league.
The other tight ends on the roster certainly help make the group well-rounded. The Bolts have always appreciated having a run-blocking specialist on the team to pair with their dynamic No. 1 while taking chances on guys with traits. Anderson is the type of vertical threat they like and Parham showed in the XFL that he can stretch the field when given the chance.
Landry Jones to Donald Parham for a 65-yard touchdown pic.twitter.com/fBvYQvARrl— Arif Hasan, after curfew ⏰ (@ArifHasanNFL) February 23, 2020
In the Chargers’ vertical passing game, these types of players can find a niche. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if either Anderson or Parham outproduces Green when it comes to catching the ball in 2020. My money is on Parham, who could really make waves if he’s able to fill out his frame some more and get accustomed to the strength he’ll be facing consistently in the NFL.