NAME: CJ Henderson
WEIGHT: 202 pounds
The Kansas City Chiefs began and ended this season with a win in Florida. So, we decided to stick with the Florida state of mind when kicking off our 2020 NFL Draft prospect profiles. CJ Henderson is an above average cover corner, who can flash a ton of production. Kansas City just needs to keep adding dudes to the defensive side of the ball. Let’s get it started, by looking towards what Henderson brings to the table.
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Henderson jumps off the page as a man coverage corner. In press coverage, he does good to force opposing receivers in trying to be deceptive with their releases off the line of scrimmage. There is not a lot of wasted time when he turns to sink his hips. It is impressive how easy Henderson makes it look when mirroring receivers.
When playing in zone coverage, you really get to see him attack the football. There are certain plays where Henderson recovers, when you think he has no chance to. For example, a good number of his pass deflections come from running downfield with the receiver. But, Henderson’s tape shows plenty of plays where he closes on routes to quickly break up a pass.
Henderson is a very fluid player. He displays smooth transitions and quickness when attacking or breaking on the football. Additionally, there is little time wasted by him to open up his hips when dropping back. The ability to use his length to cut off angles are important. Furthermore, Henderson has the long speed to keep up with faster receivers.
For the most part, there are little times when Henderson is fooled. He does a fine job of getting his head around against routes downfield. There can be times every now and then, where Henderson can get caught with his eyes in the backfield or on the quarterback. You can see the quickness when he sees and reacts to passes thrown in front of him. When this happens, Henderson flies and creates many pass deflections or takeaways.
There is no shortage of confidence in this Florida Gators cornerback. He is willing to scratch and claw to disrupt every play. Having this competitive nature or confidence, is very important for this position when entering the NFL. However, you do not want to come in over the top. I believe Henderson fits this mold well. On most occasions, he will make quarterbacks work hard to earn completions. Tight window throws have a hard time of being completed against the likes of Henderson.
This is easily the part of Henderson’s game that will need the most development or fine tuning. He is not very physical. To boot, the tackle attempts can be hit or miss. One play for example, Henderson will use a calculated pad level to wrap up opponents. On the other hand, there can be plays where a defender makes him look silly one on one. The whiffs usually occur when the tackle attempt is timed early or is too low. Big hits should not come as a surprise. But for the most part, Henderson will need to work hard in this particular area of his game.
Cornerback was a heavily criticized position for the Chiefs entering 2019. Charvarius Ward‘s breakout season, along with Bashaud Breeland coming through in big moments, helped to silence the doubters. Yet, Kansas City will need to make an addition at this position for the long term future. Breeland, Kendall Fuller, Mo Claiborne and Keith Reaser are all entering free agency. That only leaves Ward, Rashad Fenton and Alex Brown for cornerbacks on the Chiefs active roster entering 2020.
Henderson can step in to a starting role right away. His man coverage skills, especially in press coverage, fit Kansas City’s archetype. Moreover, this player can provide instant ball production, while frustrating receivers at the next level.
Be on the lookout for more draft prospect profiles, as we enter the offseason. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.