Is Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson a player the Jacksonville Jaguars are eyeing with the 20th pick in the NFL Draft in April?
The Jaguars presently have a huge hole at the cornerback position. They have a solid nickel-back in D.J. Hayden and a promising player in Tre Herndon. The team will be looking for a solid starter for the 2020 season.
The Jaguars have five cornerbacks on the current roster. This includes several second-year players who have never started a game. Cornerback is a critical position and can’t be ignored in the upcoming draft in April or in free agency, which begins next week. There are several highly ranked corners coming up in the draft but one (after Jeffrey Okudah) stands out from the rest.
C.J. Henderson of Florida could be high on the Jaguars list of potential first-round draft picks and might be the right fit with the 20th selection.
Henderson’s Combine grade is a very impressive 6.74. This grade translates to a quality starter in his first year in the NFL. Originally from Miami and spent his college career in Gainesville. Henderson stands 6’1” and weighs 204 pounds. He ran a more than adequate 4.39 40-yard dash.
Lance Zierlein, NFL Analyst compared him to Carlos Rogers.
"“Silky smooth boundary cornerback with mirror-and-match footwork and the agility and athleticism to stay connected to routes,” Zierlein adds. “He has NFL recovery burst and the long speed to track vertical routes downfield. He has the twitchy acceleration to jump a throw and take it away if the quarterback lingers on the target, and he’s quick to wrap and finish after the catch.”"
His defensive coordinator at Florida, Todd Grantham, stated that he was the best cornerback he had ever coached.
Henderson played football at Christoper Columbus High School in Miami. At Florida, he played in 11 games as a freshman and returned touchdowns for interceptions in back to back games. He was selected second team All SEC.
He was a full time starter as a sophomore and had 38 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. He was on the second team ALL SEC. During his junior season, he made 33 tackles including 3 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, and 11 passes broken up. He missed 4 games due to injury.
He was selected first team All SEC by the coaches and second team All SEC by the Football Writers of America. He skipped his senior year to enter the 2020 draft.
Walter Football was a little less admiring of the former Gator.
"“Some team sources say Henderson reminds them of Marcus Peters… Henderson covered well against Miami and Auburn, showing natural ability to run with receivers and prevent separation. However, his tackling was terrible and is a big negative with team evaluators…More from Jaguars DraftJacksonville Jaguars fortify secondary in 4-round 2023 Post-Combine NFL Mock DraftThe Jaguars may look for edge rushers with pick 24The Jacksonville Jaguars got so lucky with the 2021 NFL DraftJaguars fortify OL with Jaelyn Duncan in CBS Sports’ 2023 NFL Mock DraftJacksonville Jaguars don’t need to trade up in the 2023 NFL Draft to land a cornerback“Henderson might have been protecting himself and trying not to get hurt, but he produced some disappointing tape for pro evaluators. Sources say he still could end up going in the first round because of his rare combination of size, speed, and ability to run the route to prevent separation.”"
Henderson has all the physical skills to be an immediate starter in the NFL. He also has the potential to be a Pro Bowl selection. There is a downside to him after his play following his injury. As a result, he may be long gone by pick 20 or available at pick 42. He impressed at the Combine and is certainly worth consideration by a team with limited talent at cornerback like the Jaguars.