NY Jets: Chris Herndon’s return will help more than just Sam Darnold

The NY Jets surely missed promising young tight end Chris Herndon in 2019.

NY Jets‘ tight end Chris Herndon should be ready to go in 2020 as he’s set to return from a rib injury that prohibited him from seeing the field for the bulk of last season.

The tight end position is set to stay the same for the foreseeable future, with Ryan Griffin, Daniel Brown, and Trevon Wesco (notably on the bubble) all signed throughout this upcoming year.

And Herndon should fit right in with a group that built some much-needed chemistry throughout this past season.

A player that most certainly missed, Herndon’s versatility at the tight end position was especially valuable to quarterback Sam Darnold, who spent most of last year running for his life while dealing with a stop-gap receiving corps and a patchwork offensive line.

Darnold, who threw for 19 touchdowns in his second NFL season, could have definitely used Herndon as a red-zone target as he did in 2018. Instead, the former fourth-round pick missed essentially the entire season.

While the 2019 season is behind us, it’s difficult not to look back and reminisce on what could have been between the Darnold and Herndon.

Sam Darnold wasn’t the only NY Jets player who benefited from having Chris Herndon on the field.

Although Darnold would have benefited the most from having a healthy Herndon on the field, his duties went beyond catching the rock at tight end. Herndon, who spent three years at the University of Miami mastering the position, was used quite often in blocking schemes.

Time and time again. Herndon was able to isolate his man on the outside, creating running lanes for Jets running backs that have had their fair share of struggles over the years.

It’s fair to say that with Herndon seeing the field, he adds security for Darnold who hasn’t seen much as of late.

If a quarterback is able to have multiple check-down options as targets are working to get open downfield, the sense of urgency while trying to find that big gain seems to decrease as we’ve seen from Darnold in the past.

Le’Veon Bell provided a hint of this last season, but with the offensive line struggling early on, and never finding their rhythm, Darnold seemingly grappled with the fact that he had no choice but to get the ball out quicker.

Herndon, assuming he’ll play all 16 games this upcoming season, should be able to split the workload reception-wise.

Next: NY Jets: 3 players with something to prove in 2020

Jets fans are certainly excited to see how Herndon works himself back into the system, and how head coach Adam Gase adjusts to his arrival.

Stats prediction: 60 receptions, 785 yards, 5 TD.

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