The NFL Draft is just around the corner, and the Falcons have started 2020 with a new look. Not only have they changed their threads, but they also have moved on from several players, including Desmond Trufant. This means that the Falcons are need of a new number one cornerback. Let’s take a closer look at Florida cornerback, C.J. Henderson.
C.J. Henderson Scouting Report
Weight: 204 pounds
Arms: 31 5/8″
Career Stats: 93 career tackles, eight tackles for loss, four sacks, two forced fumbles, four interceptions, two touchdowns
Games Watched: 2018 vs Missouri, 2018 vs LSU, 2019 vs Miami, 2019 vs Florida State
Henderson has the profile that every scout is looking for when it comes to a true shutdown corner. His athleticism jumps off the tape, you can see his 4.39, 40 yard dash time flash on the field. The athletic ability allows him to stay connected to routes and he has the long speed for tracking vertical routes downfield. Henderson isn’t shy when it comes to shadowing the other team’s best receiver and having to break on the ball to make a play.
Henderson rarely catches himself out of position and is very hardnosed at the line of scrimmage. He is a true in your face cornerback that can make life difficult for opposing wide receivers.
It should not go unnoted that Henderson was able to master and execute Flordia’s diverse defensive scheme and it displayed his adaptability to several different looks.
While Henderson is a true athlete, he tends to rely on his athletic traits too much. He will trust himself to recover and can be late reacting to breaks on the ball. Henderson has the size that teams want but he also can get outmuscled by stronger wide receivers at the line of scrimmage.
The 2019 tape was very disappointing. There are night and day differences in what we saw in 2018 compared to 2019. Although he did battle injuries this past season, it still does not excuse the lackadaisical effort and the catastrophic dropoff he had in 2019. If you are looking for a decent film study of Henderson you will need to go back a year to get it.
Henderson has the traits to be a true number one cornerback in the NFL. He’ll fit best in a man-heavy defense and has uncoachable skills that will allow him to succeed at an elite level. Plenty of teams see Henderson as the best cornerback in this year’s draft and we can see why too.
The risk factor is there because we have to go back to 2018 to find the player that C.J. Henderson could be. My concern is, are we expecting him to get back to form against better competition in the NFL? The film shows some serious regression, but that doesn’t appear to scare NFL GMs. They see the traits and that could ultimately be what gets Henderson drafted early in the 2020 draft.
Falcons need a cornerback, just not sure Henderson is worth the potential draft capital to get.