NFL Network's Ian Rapoport first reported on Tuesday that the New Orleans Saints are expected to sign TE Chris Herndon. The 26-year-old Herndon played last year with the Minnesota Vikings, catching four passes for 40 yards in 16 games of action.
A fourth-round selection by the New York Jets in the 2018 NFL Draft, Herndon played collegiately at Miami, Fl. He had 86 receptions for 1,048 yards and 7 touchdowns in three seasons with the Hurricanes.
Herndon earned a spot on the 2018 All-Rookie Team by catching 39 passes for 502 yards and four scores as a rookie with the Jets.
A season-ending injury limited Herndon to just one game in 2019. He rebounded to catch 31 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns in 2020.
A trade to Minnesota last offseason gave Herndon the chance to replace injured Vikings TE Irv Smith Jr. However, he'd appear in just 17% of Minnesota's offensive snaps before hitting free agency this offseason.
At 6’4” and 253-Lbs., Herndon has prototype size for the position. He’s a wonderful athlete after the catch and presents an athletic mismatch for many defenders. Herndon has never developed as a blocker or an intricate route runner, but has the raw traits to be a bona fide weapon.
New Orleans ranked last in the NFL in passing production last season. A normally productive offense ranked 28th in total yardage and struggled to provide consistent receiving targets for their quarterbacks.
Nineteen NFL tight ends had better individual production than the Saints combined trio of Adam Trautman, Juwan Johnson, and Nick Vannett in 2021. Trautman has had a strong start to training camp and undrafted rookie Lucas Krull has turned heads with some athleticism as a receiver. Taysom Hill, converted to tight end this offseason, has potential but has missed some time with a rib injury.
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