CB CJ Henderson named Jaguars’ worst draft pick of the past 5 years

Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback CJ Henderson at Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback CJ Henderson at Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports /

The Jacksonville Jaguars have had their fair share of draft duds over the last ten years, so it’s hard to pick “the worst”. However, the task gets a bit easier when you narrow down the search to the last five years, which is precisely what Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report did. In the end, cornerback CJ Henderson got the dubious distinction.

Moton recently discussed every NFL team’s worst draft selection in the past five years and Henderson made the cut over players such as defensive tackle Taven Bryan and edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson. So why did Henderson get the nod? Moton argues that the former Florida Gator still has a chance to develop into a solid NFL starter but points out that he hasn’t been particularly great over the last two seasons.

"Henderson struggled in coverage through 10 games with the Jaguars, allowing five touchdowns and a passer rating of 110.2 or higher in both campaigns. He hasn’t fared any better in Carolina. For the 2021 campaign, Henderson started in five out of 10 contests with the Panthers, giving up a 75.9 percent completion rate, two touchdowns and a 121.6 passer rating in coverage."

Moton notes that Henderson, now with the Carolina Panthers, might have a hard time getting a significant amount of snaps due to the return of Donte Jackson and the presence of Jayce Horn, and unless one of them moves to the slot, he might need to play somewhere else to get a chance.

CJ Henderson didn’t work out with the Jaguars but was he the worst?

The Jaguars might have given up on CJ Henderson too early. After all, he experienced a learning curve as a rookie but also showed flashes. However, he wasn’t able to finish the 2020 campaign after suffering a groin injury. He was supposed to bounce back in 2021 but wasn’t available for a good portion of training camp due to several ailments. By then, the team’s brass had probably seen enough of him and traded him to the Panthers after Week 3 in exchange for a third-round selection and tight end Dan Arnold.

It’s true that Henderson didn’t live up to his draft billing but the Jags need to shoulder some of the blame for taking him over studs such as offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs or cornerback AJ Terrell. Either way, was Henderson really worse than Taven Bryan or fellow draftee K’Lavon Chaisson? Both deserve consideration for the Jaguars’ worst draft pick of the last five years, especially when you take into account that at least they got a few solid performances from Henderson.

Meanwhile, Bryan failed to make an impact during his stint in Jacksonville outside of his Week 9 performance against the Buffalo Bills in 2021. Similarly, Chaisson has played virtually in every game but hasn’t made enough big plays. The Jags drafted the former LSU Tiger 20th overall in 2020 to team up with edge defender Josh Allen to harass the quarterback but he’s been a non-factor so far and may have a steep hill to climb to see the field in 2021.

When the Jags drafted Henderson, they thought they were getting a staring cornerback but it didn’t turn out that way. On the bright side, their current cornerback group looks in good shape due to the arrival of Darious Williams, along with Shaquill Griffin and an ascending Tyson Campbell.

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