Former Jaguars first-round bust is back in the AFC South

• The Jaguars will get to face CJ Henderson twice in 2024.

Sep 19, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback CJ Henderson (23) against
Sep 19, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback CJ Henderson (23) against / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars thought they had found a replacement for Jalen Ramsey when they drafted C.J. Henderson ninth overall in 2020. Unfortunately, Henderson didn't live up to expectations and was shipped out of town less than two years after arriving in Jacksonville. After an underwhelming two-year stint with the Carolina Panthers, he'll continue his NFL career with the Houston Texans.

After the first wave of free agency, Henderson agreed to a one-year deal with the Texans. He'll probably compete with Jeff Okudah for the starting job opposite Derek Stingley Jr. Okudah, like Henderson is a former first-round pick. In fact, he was taken six picks before Henderson and both of them have played for multiple teams already.

In Okudah's case, he was drafted by the Detroit Lions but was traded to the Atlanta Falcons last year. Henderson, for his part, was a Week 1 starter for the Jaguars but a groin injury cut his rookie campaign short. He then had labrum surgery and missed time in training camp for a myriad of reasons.

Henderson entered the 2022 season on the hot seat and by Week 3, the team's brass chose to pull the plug on him, trading him to Carolina in exchange for tight end Dan Arnold and a third-round pick. That's a good return when you take into account that all the Jags got from the former Florida Gator was 10 games, one interception, one forced fumble, and six passes defensed. In Carolina, he went on to appear in 39 games with 22 starts.

CJ Henderson was one of several bad draft picks the Jaguars made in 2020

The 2020 draft class is one of the worst former general manager Dave Caldwell oversaw during his eight-year stint leading the Jaguars' front office. Had he kept Jalen Ramsey and Yannick Ngakoue, he might not have needed to draft for need but that's what he did in 2020. Finding himself needing to replace Ramsey, he selected Henderson. The K'Lavon Chaisson pick wasn't much better.

Now, both Henderson and Chaisson, along with wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr., are gone. It's fair to say that you did a poor job as a general manager when none of your top 3 picks are on the roster after four years. At least Chaisson played out his rookie deal but Viska and Henderson lasted two seasons (or fewer) in Jacksonville. Not surprisingly, Caldwell was let go late in 2020.

Chaisson just inked a one-year deal with the Panthers. Like Henderson, he'll try to extend his NFL career. Maybe he'll benefit from the change of scenery but expectations should be tempered. After all, some players need time to figure things out, but they haven't shown enough to make you think they'll suddenly hit their stride. In Henderson's case, maybe he'll become a serviceable start but that's probably the best-case scenario.

The prospect of facing the Jaguars twice a year could incentivize Henderson to improve, but it's fair to say that his arrival won't tip the scale in the Texans' favor. That said, it's good to see that he'll get his NFL career going.

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