The New England Patriots have some dangerous players on their roster but one NFL analyst picked out a duo who he believes is the best in the NFL.
ALL the latest Patriots news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Patriots newsletter here!
Now there are plenty of options to choose from. New England is quite deep at both running back and wide receiver but that’s not where NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks is focused. Brooks believes that the Patriots have the best tight end duo in the entire league with Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.
“Do not let the modest numbers put up by this veteran tandem in their first season together in New England (50 catches, 603 yards, nine TDs for Henry; 28 catches, 294 yards, one TD for Smith) overshadow their immense talent and potential,” Brooks wrote. “Henry, 27, and Smith, 26, are outstanding pass-catchers with the route-running savvy and instincts to find voids in coverage.
“In addition, they are interchangeable seam runners with the speed and quickness to scoot down the hashes on a variety of play-action passes that lure linebackers and safeties to the line of scrimmage. With quarterback Mac Jones expected to take his game up a notch after playing at a Pro Bowl level as a rookie, the Patriots’ dynamic duo could create plenty of headaches for opponents ill-equipped to deal with a versatile ’12’ personnel package.”
Who Is Leading the Way?
It didn’t take Henry too long to adapt to the Patriots style of play. His nine touchdowns were the most of any pass catcher in New England.
Smith on the other hand struggled quite mightily. This is especially the case when fans consider how much he is being paid. Last offseason, Smith signed a four-year deal worth $50 million.
It will likely be more of the same for the duo in 2022. While Smith will look to improve (and hopefully will for Patriots fans sake), Henry’s performance in 2021 will have him heading to this upcoming season knowing that Jones will look his way.
What Should Patriots Fans Expect in 2022?
It seems that Smith believes in Jones and the Patriots offense. His public comments will likely ingratiate himself to the quarterback.
“Honestly, man, just the way he can turn it on,” Smith replied. “Mac is definitely one of the most goofiest guys in the locker room, to be honest, man. But when he steps on that field, he’s a different character. He’s just got so much ability and so much dog in him.
“Once he flips that switch, he’s a whole different character,” Smith added. “Some guys don’t know how to cut that on and cut that off when it’s time to do it. He’s so young. He’s poised. He’s got a little swagger to him, man. I’m glad he’s throwing us passes. That’s my guy.”
Smith also mentioned that this season will be something to “look forward to” and that he is confident heading into 2022.
That confidence should get Patriots fans excited because if Smith can perform to his potential, New England will for sure have the best tight end tandem in the league along with arguably the deepest group of pass catchers in the entire NFL.