Not every free-agent signing the Patriots made last year panned out in the 2021 NFL season, but a few of those players proved to be worth every penny.
One of them was Hunter Henry, who was excellent in his first season with New England. Henry paced Patriots pass-catchers in receiving touchdowns (nine) as he racked up 50 catches for 603 yards. And perhaps most importantly, the oft-injured tight end played in every single game for the Patriots as they made a run to the AFC Wild Card round.
On the heels of a very productive season, Henry was included in ESPN’s power ranking of the top 10 tight ends in the NFL. The seventh-year pro edged out a division rival for the final spot on the list.
“Henry won a tiebreaker with Miami’s Mike Gesicki to land the final spot in the top 10, with voters preferring Henry’s traditional tight end presence over Gesicki’s vertical-threat ability,” Jeremy Fowler wrote in a column published Thursday.
“Henry went for 50 catches, 603 yards and nine touchdowns last season despite playing with a rookie quarterback in Mac Jones and a run-heavy Patriots attack. And he did not record a single drop in 75 targets.”
The 27-year-old also drew a positive review from a league scouting director who praised Henry for his reliability, “great hands,” quickness and savviness.
Henry now is tasked with putting together another solid campaign for a Patriots team that will try to earn a playoff spot in a loaded AFC. That effort begins later this month when New England congregates for training camp.