2019 Stats: 35 Catches, 44 Targets, 439 Yards, 3 Touchdowns
2020 Prediction: 49 Catches, 71 Targets, 703 Yards, 6 Touchdowns
Whatever the reason was, be it solid tight end depth or quarterback turbulence or a combination of both, Jonnu Smith saw less than three targets a game in 2019. Expect that to change in 2020.
There’s a collective of Titans fans starting to form that are ready to see Jonnu Smith break out into the upper echelon of NFL tight ends with a full 16-game schedule as a starter under his belt, and seeing what he did in limited action in 2019, it’s easy to see why.
Smith wasn’t a stats monster through the air last season, but it’s important to remember that he was behind Delanie Walker on the depth chart to start the season, while also splitting reps with Anthony Firkser and MyCole Pruitt. Walker is gone, while Pruitt and Firkser have stuck around, but don’t expect that to stop Smith from having the best season of his young career.
The other tight ends will get their fair share of run with the offense, but none of them have the receiving skills or the upside that Smith does. With endzone grab against the Ravens showed the world how well he can catch, but his speed on screen passes and even designed runs are what make Smith a player with special upside.
With that upside in mind, the Titans might make a point to get Smith his touches, while giving him routes and specific plays to take advantage of his after-the-catch ability. Don’t look for Smith to become the next George Kittle, but don’t be surprised if you hear his name called a good bit more than it was in 2019.