Tha Sports Junkies 101

TSJ101 Training Camp Edition: Hunter Henry’s Rookie Campaign – San Diego Chargers


Hunter Henry’s Rookie Campaign

This off-season, the San Diego Chargers went a little bold and selected Hunter Henry with their 2nd round pick in the NFL Draft. They expect him to be the post-Antonio Gates era tight end that they need.

Word is that Henry is fitting in very easily with the team and is becoming a beast. It’s pretty clear that the plan for Hunter is to bring him in, learn from Antonio Gates, and become the starter in the near future for a very, very long time. This seems to be a great strategy as long as the young kid who’s coming in is willing to take a year of sitting behind a legend who’s aging. But, as a rookie, you don’t really have much of a choice.

But, when we look into this year it is hard to tell the production that Henry will have. Antonio is closing in on the most touchdowns caught by a tight end in NFL history, and we all know Phillip Rivers wants to get him that. Plus, Antonio seems to age so much slower than your normal player at this position. His craft and technique are ageless.

With this being said, Hunter may have to endure the role that former Charger Ladarius Green had his first four seasons with the team before moving on to Pittsburgh. Green had some very fine moments in San Diego, and got his time to shine with injuries or suspensions to Gates. But, he just never saw the field enough to make too big of a name for himself.

Henry could see similar play this year from San Diego. What he needs to do is look at it from a learning perspective and not get frustrated with it. He obviously has the starting tight end talent for this league considering the Chargers spent a 2nd round pick on him. Sometimes, guys just get stuck in situations where they aren’t going to jump right into a starting role.

This does not in any way mean Henry won’t see the field this year. Gates is old, regardless of how good and ageless he is. He will need his rest. Henry should be able to step right in and provide the production expected from him. Sometimes, Green outplayed Antonio. Plus, Gates more than likely only has a couple of years left, and Henry is just getting started.

With the situation being introduced, there is no denying Henry’s talent. He comes in at 6 foot 6 inches and 250 pounds. He was a huge key to the success of Arkansas‘ running game last year. Boy, could the Chargers use that. Once he gets the feel for the NFL game, it’s going to be tough for linebackers to cover him one on one. With that being said, his biggest strength may very well be his hands. He had zero drops in his last year of college ball. Zero.

When you’re such a talented prospect coming out of college, it’s hard to not see yourself in a starting role for your team as soon as you put on the pads in the NFL. But, it does not always happen like that sometimes. Hunter Henry is looking to be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come, but he may have to sit back and watch the legend of Antonio Gates show him how it’s done at a pro level this year.

Either way, Henry will get his shots at proving himself and Gates will still be Gates. The Chargers tight end depth along with their receiving core makes out to be a pretty fun offense to watch this year, and it’ll be very interesting to see how Hunter Henry moves into the lineup and makes an impact in his rookie year.