2020 NFL Draft scouting report: Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson

Taking a look at what the film had to say about Florida cornerback and 2020 NFL Draft prospect C.J. Henderson.

C.J. Henderson has recently declared for the 2020 NFL Draft after having three productive years at the University of Florida. According to many people, Henderson ranks near the top of a talented cornerback class. Known as a pure man-cover corner, the former Gator is ready to take those cover skills to the NFL. This is my scouting report on C.J. Henderson.

Measurables and Production

Height: 6-1
Weight: 202 pounds
Career Stats (30 games): 93 tackles, 6 interceptions, 8 sacks, 20 PBU
2019 Stats: 33 tackles, 1 sack, 11 PBU

The SEC is a conference full of top-tier receiver talent, and Henderson has played against them his whole college career. After watching the tape, this is what I think of C.J. Henderson.

Film Assessment

Games Watched: 2018: LSU, Michigan; 2019: LSU, Miami, Auburn

Coverage Skills: Very sticky in man coverage. Good initial stab in press coverage at the line of scrimmage. Natural mirroring ability; quick feet and smooth movements allow him to run with any receiver. Smart in zone coverage. Football IQ is great; route recognition is off the charts. Gets beat on occasion in zone coverage as he sometimes tends to trail behind receivers. Will come off his coverage to attack the football and it pays off for him.

Ball Skills: Incredible ball skills. He has great ability to flip his head around and track the ball and will make a play on it. Henderson will make plays on the ball against top-tier receivers. Not afraid to go up and get it. Once he finds the ball and decides he’s making a play on it, it’s tough to beat him. Even when the receiver flashes his hands late, Henderson will be able to make a play on the ball.

Tackling and Run Support: Not necessarily an unwilling participant in run support, but the issues stem from tackling issues. Clearly made multiple business decisions when attempting to tackle. When he commits to the tackle, he will get out-muscled. When he gets square to a ball-carrier he can deliver solid tackles, but he far too often gets run over. Sometimes looks afraid to tackle and will be hesitant to commit, resulting in him getting run over.

Movement Skills: Quick feet and a real smooth mover. Henderson has the quickness and fluidity to click and close without a hitch. Definition of oily hips; can flip his hips with the best of them. Few wasted steps when moving. Does a good job of keeping himself under control and able to change direction with ease. Will open his hips and run with a receiver down the field.

Athletic Ability: Good acceleration and long speed. Chased down a tight end from the opposite side of the field to cause a forced fumble in 2018. Should have no problem keeping up with athletic receivers in the NFL.

Film Grade: Second Round Evaluation

Summary

C.J. Henderson is just as advertised, a pure man-cover corner. His quickness, fluidity and ball skills are all things that come naturally to him and it’s clear to see on tape. The physicality, on the other hand, does not. While it’s nice to have a corner with advanced coverage skills, tackling is just as important.

Next: Why C.J. Henderson should be CB1

In recent years, we’ve seen corners fall due to their lack of tackling ability. If the cornerback position was solely based on coverage, Henderson is a first-round talent, but that’s not the case. Will a team fall in love with the coverage ability and draft him in the first, or will he be the next gifted corner to fall? We’ll have to wait until the 2020 NFL Draft in April to find out.

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