Formerly thought of as one of the team’s deepest units, the cornerback room in Dallas has a chance to be super thin by the time the 2020 NFL Draft comes around. Byron Jones and Anthony Brown are both entering unrestricted free agency, and Chidobe Awuzie’s inconsistent play makes cornerback an immediate draft need in Dallas.
Holding the 17th overall pick, it’s looking like the Cowboys will have attractive options to fill out their secondary in the first round. One of those options will likely be Florida Gators cornerback CJ Henderson.
Henderson is a 6’1″ 200 pound cornerback, giving him the length and frame to play corner in the NFL. Dallas had emphasized size in their cornerback room under Kris Richard, and even though he’s no longer with the organization, a 6’1″ cornerback is always a intriguing prospect.
Henderson was around the ball a ton during his three seasons at Florida, finishing his career with six interceptions, 20 passes defended, and 2 forced fumbles. He uses his long arms and strong frame wisely in coverage, able to contest at the catch point and remain in good positioning throughout the receiver’s route.
If there’s two traits that I love about Henderson’s game, it’s his fluidity in man coverage and his ability as a blitzer. Henderson had four sacks at Florida, an impressive number for an outside cornerback.
Henderson is able to use his long arms, smooth hips, and efficient footwork to be an immediate fit for an NFL team looking to play press coverage. He could improve in his technique at times, but his athleticism and natural ability are both impressive. Henderson has a knack for the football, and seemed to always be in the right spot to capitalize on tips and overthrows.
Where he struggles, though, is as a tackler in run support. I wouldn’t say Henderson is all that willing as a tackler, and he’ll need to improve at least marginally in this area to reach his full potential as an NFL cornerback.
CJ Henderson will likely find himself drafted within the first 30-40 picks. But if the Cowboys want their shot at him, it’ll probably have to come 17th overall. Most draft experts have Henderson as a first round prospect, though the order of the top 3-4 cornerbacks differs depending on who you ask.
Henderson could certainly add some strength to his frame as he enters the league, and could improve drastically against the run as a tackler, but his competitiveness and fluidity in coverage make him a solid target for the Cowboys this Spring.