Tight end Chris Herndon burst onto the scene in 2018, his rookie season, and performed well enough for NY Jets fans to become intrigued by his potential heading into 2019. Things were looking up for the then-second-year pass-catcher out of Miami.
Then the Jets went through the inevitable coaching change, forcing Herndon to learn a whole new scheme in year two. It took a toll on Herndon, who had so much going for him following his rookie campaign with just north of 500 receiving yards.
It went downhill from there.
Herndon was slapped with a four-game suspension to begin the 2019 season, then after one game played, suffered an injury that would keep him sidelined for the remainder of that season.
Though, after all that, the Jets instilled the same hope they had when Herndon was drafted in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The team anticipated Herndon would overcome his previous struggles and find what made him such a mismatch for defenders in 2018.
That... didn't happen. Yet.
Herndon appeared in all 16 games with the Jets in 2020, hauling in 287 receiving yards on 31 receptions.
Although Herndon stayed relatively healthy throughout this past season, he wasn't able to reclaim that same 22-year-old groove that made him such a loveable on-field target in years past.
The NY Jets still believe Chris Herndon has untapped potential.
Now, with a new coaching staff in place, it's time for Herndon to get to work.
The Jets are banking on the likes of offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur and tight ends coach Ron Middleton to harness any sort of talent Herndon still has left in the tank to make him a premier tight end in this offensive scheme.
The system that offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur is set to install is a near carbon copy of the one that Kyle Shanahan currently runs in San Francisco. It's a system that should have the now-fourth-year tight end giddy.
The system is built for a prototypical, athletic, pass-catching tight end to thrive in. Herndon showed that he has what it takes to maneuver within a scheme that cherishes a vertical tight end's skill set.
It's up to Herndon to retain the skills he showed under then-head coach Todd Bowles, and transfer that prowess to display to the new sheriff in town, Robert Saleh.
Chris Herndon needs to prove that he's here to stay.