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Can Chris Herndon pick up where he left off? | New York Jets training camp primer

Chris Herndon
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Chris Herndon showcased elite potential as a rookie. Now, he needs to pick up where he left off after a lost 2019 season.

New York Jets training camp primers:

Here’s everything you need to know about Chris Herndon as he aims to recapture the tantalizing promise that he flashed in 2018.

Four positive stats to maintain

Chemistry with Sam Darnold

When targeting Herndon in 2018, Sam Darnold completed 28-of-39 passes for 391 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. That’s 10.0 yards per attempt and a 127.2 passer rating, each mark Darnold’s best among his featured targets in 2018 – by far.

Soft hands

Herndon dropped only two passes while hauling in 39 receptions, giving him a drop rate of 4.9%. That ranked ninth-best out of 28 qualified tight ends.

One of Herndon’s two drops came in Week 2, on just his third career target. After that mishap, he hauled in 37 passes while dropping only one from Weeks 3-17 – a 2.6% drop rate that ranked third-best out of 33 qualified tight ends over that span.

Top-tier production once acclimated into offense

Herndon snagged only five passes for 47 yards over his first five games, but from Week 6 onward, he was one of the most productive tight ends in football.

From Weeks 6-17 (10 games), Herndon ranked fourth among tight ends in receiving touchdowns (4), fifth in yards per route run (1.98), seventh in receiving first downs (22), eighth in receiving yards (455), and 13th in receptions (34).

Immense potential

Herndon finished his rookie season with 39 receptions for 502 yards and four touchdowns. That certainly doesn’t jump off the screen as the most eye-popping stat-line, but for a rookie tight end, it’s actually fantastic. First-year tight ends rarely produce much of anything.

Over the past 20 years, Herndon’s 2018 season stands as the 13th-best among rookie tight ends in receiving yards, 14th in touchdowns, and 19th in receptions. He is one of only nine players to rank top-20 in all three categories.

It is Herndon’s efficiency that puts him in elite company when coupled with his relatively strong volume. He averaged an excellent 8.96 yards per target in 2018.

Herndon is one of only two rookie tight ends since 2000 to post 500+ receiving yards, 4+ touchdowns, and 8.9+ yards per target. The other? I’d say this guy has had himself a decent career:

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