The Las Vegas Raiders missed on some talented cornerbacks this offseason, including Byron Jones, Darius Slay, and James Bradberry. To add to that, their agreement with Eli Apple fell through. Their depth at cornerback is shallow, making it very likely they select a cornerback with one of the their first round picks. One player they should have on their mind is C.J. Henderson.
Who is C.J. Henderson?
Henderson is a 6’1″, 204 lb cornerback out of the University of Florida who’s entering the draft after his junior year in college. He is arguably the second best prospect at his position behind Jeff Okudah, and his size and athleticism makes him an obvious first round talent. In his sophomore year, he was named to the All-SEC second team, but he upped that last year by making the first team with 11 passes defensed and 33 tackles in just nine games. He’s going to be on the radar of any team who needs a cornerback come draft day, including our Silver & Black
Henderson is very athletic. He ran a 4.3 at the combine and added a vertical jump of 37.5 inches and a broad jump of 127 inches. His athleticism becomes more impressive when you compare it with his 6’1″, 200 lbs frame. He’s got strength, proven by his 20 bench press reps (225 lbs) at the combine.
Can’t speak on his tackling, but Florida CB CJ Henderson seems to have elite man coverage skills. He also tested very well at the Combine. #Vikings scheduled to FaceTime with him in the coming week, met with him formally in Indy. Not sure he gets to 22. pic.twitter.com/Jcb2GqCrX2
— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) April 5, 2020
On the field, he uses both of these qualities to his advantage. He’s got the strength to play effective press coverage, and his speed is great, so if he gets beat off the snap, he’ll likely be able to recover. He’s fast, and agile enough to stick with the receiver on any route he runs. He does a good job of reading the quarterback’s eyes and is able to quickly read the wide out’s route. Henderson’s athleticism and size allows him to play patient and poised.
— CrockTIME (@eric_crocker) March 27, 2020
Henderson has the strength to jam receivers at the line, but he needs to work on his posture and balance when doing so. He was beat off the line in college because of it. While he has the speed to help make up for it, the NFL is a whole new kind of level. He also has issues with balance occasionally while transitioning during play. He needs to work on finding the ball with his back to the quarterback, and while he can play both man and zone coverage, he sometimes loses receivers in zone. He’s very aggressive and willing to come downhill and tackle, but he’s gonna need to refine his control while doing so because running backs can take advantage of that.
Why C.J. Henderson?
The decision is simple. Henderson is an amazing talent, and the Raiders are in serious need of a corner. He has a solid chance of remaining on the board at pick 12 or 19, so they will likely have the option to take him. His size and athleticism make him an amazing talent, and his weaknesses can be fine-tuned with good coaching at the next level. C.J. Henderson would form a terrific young cornerback duo with Trayvon Mullen. This is a player the Raiders shouldn’t pass up.
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