One of the biggest steals of the entire 2016 NFL Draft may have been the Chargers selection of former Mackey Award-winning tight end Hunter Henry from Arkansas early in the second round.
Henry had a terrific rookie season. He led the Chargers with eight touchdown catches – tied for most in the NFL by a tight end and tied for second in the League among rookies. His 478 receiving yards were the most by any rookie tight end in the NFL in 2016.
One of the reasons Henry was the nation’s top tight end as a collegian was that he did not drop a single pass thrown in his direction during the entire 2015 season. Henry also proved to be a capable blocker. During that 2015 season, he did not allow a sack or quarterback hurry, and he played a key role in the Razorbacks running game which rushed for more than 200 yards in an SEC-best six conference games. A native of Little Rock, Ark., Henry’s father, Mark, also played at Arkansas (1988-91). Mark was a team captain as a senior in 1991. He is now a Pastor in Little Rock. Henry’s hobbies include hunting, fishing and spending time at the beach.
TRANSACTION HISTORY: Second-round pick by Chargers (35th overall), April 29, 2016...signed four-year contract, June 3.
2017: Started 13 of 14 contests, posting 45 receptions for 579 yards (12.9 avg.) and four TDs, marking career highs for catches and receiving yards in a single season…Saw action on 23 special teams plays…Registered a TD reception in the first game of October for the second consecutive season…Reached 81 career receptions, moving into sole possession of 13th in franchise history among tight ends…Moved into sole possession of 12th in team annals among tight ends with 1,057 career receiving yards…Placed on injured reserve on Dec. 19 with a season-ending kidney injury…Awards: Pro Football Focus Second-Team All-Pro…at Denver (Sept. 11): Saw time on 23 offensive snaps at tight end…vs. Miami (Sept. 17): Opened the game at TE, playing 33 snaps on offense…Hauled in a career-high seven receptions for 80 yards (11.4 avg.)…Five of the receptions went for 10-plus yards…vs. Kansas City (Sept. 24): Made his second-consecutive start at TE, appearing on 41 offensive snaps…Had a key downfield block on an 11-yard TD run by RB Melvin Gordon in the first quarter…vs. Philadelphia (Oct. 1): Started at TE and played 35 offensive plays…Reached 45 career receptions, posting two catches for 16 yards (8.0 avg.) and a TD…Was initially ruled out of bounds on the TD, but was overturned after a Los Angeles challenge…Beat S Malcolm Jenkins on a seam-route and got both feet down in-bounds in the back of the end zone on the one-handed catch…It marked the ninth TD catch of his career and his first of the season…Had a key block of Jenkins on a fourth quarter TD run by RB Austin Ekeler…at New York Giants (Oct. 8): Hauled in three catches for 42 yards (14.0 avg.) and a TD, seeing action on 59 offensive snaps…The 25-yard score gave the Chargers a one-point lead late in the third quarter…On the play, lined up outside of the right tackle and ran a post-pattern, getting behind three New York defenders before corralling the pass for a score…at Oakland (Oct. 15): Posted five receptions for a career-high 90 yards (18.0)…Started at TE, appearing on 54 offensive snaps…Surpassed 50 career receptions and 700 career receiving yards…Hauled in two catches of 20-plus yards on the first three plays of the final, game-winning drive…On the first play of the drive, got behind the coverage of S Karl Joseph for a 34-yard gain…Two plays later, settled between two defenders along the right sideline for a 23-yard gain to the Oakland 33-yard line…Four of his five receptions went for first downs…vs. Denver (Oct. 22): Started at TE, seeing action on 47 plays on offense…Registered four catches for 73 yards (18.3 avg.)…After catching a play-action pass in the right flat, broke Denver tackles to bring the ball to the Denver 11-yard line for a 34-yard catch-and-run on the team’s first offensive play…In the fourth quarter, converted a third-and-11 with a 13-yard reception from QB Philip Rivers on a hitch-route in front of S Will Parks…at New England (Oct. 29): Hauled in two catches for 11 yards (5.5 avg.) on 35 offensive plays…Made downfield blocks of S Devin McCourty and S Duron Harmon to spring RB Melvin Gordon free for a franchise-record 87-yard TD run in the first quarter…at Jacksonville (Nov. 12): Started as the second TE, posting a seven-yard reception on 45 offensive snaps…The catch marked No. 60 of his career, putting him in sole possession of 15th place in franchise history among tight ends…vs. Buffalo (Nov. 19): Opened the game at TE, seeing action on 44 plays on offense…Hauled in two passes for 25 yards (12.5 avg.), bringing his career total to 822 receiving yards to pass Pettis Norman (820) for 15th in team history among tight ends…at Dallas (Nov. 23): Started the 20th game of his career at TE, playing 52 snaps on offense…Finished with five catches for 76 yards (15.2 avg.)…Hauled in a deep crossing-route for 26 yards in the first quarter and converted a third-and-four in the second quarter for a 22-yard gain on a crossing pattern…Posted up in front of S Byron Jones in the end zone for a three-yard TD catch in the third quarter…vs. Cleveland (Dec. 3): Tied a career high with seven receptions, posting 81 receiving yards (11.6 avg.)…Eclipsed totals in receptions and receiving yards in a single season from his rookie season in 2016…Passed Mikhael Ricks (914) and Alfred Pupunu (966) to move into a tie with Derrick Walker for 12th in receiving yards among tight ends in team history with 979…In the first quarter, was knocked to the ground when running a route, but picked himself off the turf as QB Philip Rivers rolled to his right and hauled in a 12-yard gain for a first down…In the third quarter, ran a go-route after lining up split wide to the left, bringing in a pass for 25 yards to surpass his previous career high for receiving yards in a season…vs. Washington (Dec. 10): Started as the second TE, totaling 42 snaps on offense and one on special teams…Finished with four receptions for 50 yards (12.5 avg.) and a TD, marking his fourth of the season…In the first quarter, ran a dig-route and hauled in a 14-yard gain despite defensive pass interference by CB Bashaud Breeland…Later in the first quarter, ran a crossing-route in the back of the end zone before gaining separation from S Deshazor Everett for an eight-yard TD catch…Passed Derrick Walker (979) for sole possession of 12th in receiving yards by a tight end in team history, closing the game with 1,029…at Kansas City (Dec. 16): Started at TE, playing 38 offensive snaps…Finished with three catches for 28 yards (9.3 avg.) before departing due to a season-ending kidney injury.
COLLEGE: 2015 John Mackey Award as nation’s top tight end...consensus first-team All-America, including Associated Press, USA Today, Sporting News and ESPN.com as junior in 2015...also second-team All-America by Sports Illustrated and consensus first-team All-SEC...116 career catches for 1,661 yards (second in school history) and nine touchdowns…eighth SEC tight end all-time with 100 receptions and one of only four with 1,500 yards...93 of 116 career receptions (80 percent) resulted in first downs...led FBS tight ends in receiving yards (739), first-down catches (36) and plays of 15-plus yards (21) in 2015...second-team All-SEC as sophomore in 2014...Freshman All-America, second-team All-SEC and named to SEC All-Freshman Team in 2013...placed on Mackey Award Watch List as true freshman...played at Arkansas from 2013-15...pre-business major.
PERSONAL: Born in Little Rock, Ark...first-team All-America at Pulaski Academy in Little Rock...team captain for Under Armour All-America Game following senior season...107 catches for 1,449 yards and 15 touchdowns as senior while leading team to semifinals of 5A state playoffs...64 catches for 1,093 yards and 16 touchdowns in leading Bruins to 14-0 mark and 4A state championship as junior…led team to state title runner up as sophomore with 45 catches for 748 yards and 10 touchdowns.