Detroit Lions: A tight end for every round

16 Dec 2001: Tight End David Sloan (Getty Images)
16 Dec 2001: Tight End David Sloan (Getty Images) /
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Christopher Herndon IV was in front of, not behind David Njoku on the Miami Hurricanes depth chart last year. He started the game on the field in 12 out of 13 games. Njoku, of course, was the kind of receiver that has special traits. He went to the Cleveland Browns in the first round last year while Herndon returned to Miami for another season.

Herndon is no slouch athletically, however, at 6’4″ and 253 lbs. He injured his MCL in Miami’s final regular season game though. Herndon was only able to do the bench press at the combine, but he put up 21 reps of 225 lbs. He reportedly looked fluid at the Miami pro day and is scheduled to work out privately for the Lions.

Herndon explodes into routes from a three-point stance, and he is also capable of chipping before he releases. He is a punishing load to bring down on bubble screens, or in the middle of the field. Herndon also gets under defenders in his blocks, which is impressive for a taller player. He is equally good in line or blocking in space.

His technique needs some work. He is neither an incredible route runner, nor a technically solid blocker, but all the tools are there and he is more than willing. As a rookie, I would expect about what the Lions got out of Roberts last season. Herndon is not going to make the Lions cut wither Willson or Toilolo, but he is athletic and eager enough to find a special team role that justifies his roster presence.

Of the tight ends that are going to find new homes on day three of the draft, Herndon is the best fit for the hole in the Lions roster. He may be a bargain because of his late season injury, and missed pre-draft workouts. If I were a betting man, Herndon is the tight end I would be putting my money on to end up in Detroit.