Hunter Henry emerging as one of the NFL’s top tight ends

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 23: Hunter Henry /

Los Angeles Chargers second-year player Hunter Henry is emerging as one of the NFL’s best and most well-rounded tight ends…

You hate to blame the kicking game for any team’s struggles in terms of a win-loss record, but the Los Angeles Chargers deserve a lot of credit for getting out of the hole kickers have dug them.

Despite not having the most consistent week-to-week numbers as a pass catcher, Chargers tight end Hunter Henry is really emerging as one of the NFL’s best, most well-rounded tight ends.

On Thanksgiving against the Cowboys, Henry put on a show in terms of the type of difference he’s capable of making for this Chargers team down the stretch, a team that appears to now be contending for a division title in the AFC West.

Henry’s performance against the Cowboys — five receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown — was one of his best performances of the season as a pass catcher, but what you might not know about this young player is how much he has excelled as a run blocker this season.

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Henry is the third highest graded run blocking tight end according to Pro Football Focus’ metrics, and fourth in terms of his grade as a receiver.

He ranks 7th in yards per reception, and 14th with a catch percentage of 72.1 percent.

After scoring eight touchdowns a season ago, Henry appears to be developing in his craft as a tight end in more ways than just catching passes. He will be an incredibly important piece of the Chargers’ playoff run moving forward, and showed what kind of difference he can make against the Cowboys when he’s at his best.

His touchdown catch showed his ability to make tough, contested catches, but this is a guy that can not only make big plays in the red zone, he can stretch the field, he can make plays after the catch, and he can dominate smaller defensive backs when lined up in the slot.

The Chargers would do well to continue progressing Henry as a focal point in their offense, which seems to have vaulted to a new level in recent weeks.