2020 NFL Draft Scouting Report: C.J. Henderson

  • C.J. Henderson, 6-1/202

  • Cornerback

  • Florida

  • C.J. Henderson Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Instinctive
  • Rare skill set as a man-cover corner
  • Good height
  • Fast
  • Size to match up against big receivers
  • Speed to match up against speed receivers
  • Covers receivers deep over the top
  • Doesn’t need safety help
  • Excellent ball skills
  • Adept at breaking up passes
  • Soft hands to intercept passes
  • Threat to take the ball away
  • Body control
  • Agile
  • Can flip his hips and run
  • Good vision, eye discipline
  • Should be able to play quickly
  • Experienced and successful against good college talent

  • Weaknesses:
  • Poor tackler
  • Had some soft coverage as a junior
  • Needs to get stronger to tackle
  • Needs to change his mentality about tackling

  • Summary: Florida may have the bragging rights as “DB U” over LSU for the 2020 NFL Draft, with Henderson figuring to be the second defensive back drafted after Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah. Like Okudah, Henderson projects as having the potential to be a No. 1 corner in a pro defense with the ability to matchup and limit No. 1 receivers on a weekly basis. Thus, Henderson is a worthy top-20 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

    Immediately at Florida, Henderson was a superb cover corner. He was really impressive as a freshman, displaying excellent coverage with ball skills and totaling four interceptions, four passes broken up and 22 tackles. His best season came as a sophomore when in 2018 when he totaled 38 tackles, two sacks, seven passes broken up, two forced fumbles and two interceptions.

    Henderson’s junior year was a mixed bag. He had good tapes against Miami and Auburn, but also had some ugly plays as a tackler. Henderson missed the games against Kentucky, Tennessee and Towson with a leg injury he suffered in Week 2. Rather than risking another injury, Henderson skipped the Gators’ bowl game after he announced he was entering the 2020 NFL Draft.

    In pass coverage, Henderson is the real deal as a cover corner. He has excellent size to match up against big receivers, and with his speed, he is able to run with deep threats. Henderson also has fluid agility that lets him flip his hips and run with wideouts vertically and keep them from getting open downfield. Furthermore, Henderson has good instincts and reacts well with very good route recognition. On top of his ability to run the route to prevent separation, Henderson has make up speed and length that provide him an excellent ability to recover.

    Henderson demonstrated very good ball skills, as he plays the ball in the air and does a superb job of defending the pass rather than drawing penalties from getting physical with receivers. With soft hands, instincts, and body control, Henderson is a threat to pick off passes, and it can be very dangerous to throw his direction.

    The one real negative to Henderson is poor tackling. He had some ugly plays from looking to avoid tackling as a junior. Perhaps he was protecting himself after a scary knee injury early in the season that cost him a few games. He also played more soft coverage down the stretch of 2019 than he did earlier with the Gators. Sources with Florida said Henderson was more physical in his sophomore and freshman seasons, so perhaps he will tackle better as a pro. However, his run defense and tackling are weak heading to the next level.

    Henderson has the potential to be a No. 1 corner in the NFL and could end up being a Pro Bowl players early in his career. After getting his feet wet, Henderson should emerge as a starter during his rookie season. He also could be a dangerous ball hawk who consistently produces quality interception totals. If Henderson becomes a better tackler and gets more physical, he has the skill set to be one of the top corners in the league.

    Player Comparison: Marcus Peters. Some team sources said Henderson reminded them of Peters. Both Henderson and Peters have good cover skills with the ability to make big plays on the ball.


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