Back Troupe Talk: C.J. Henderson Rising

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Troupe Talk: C.J. Henderson Rising

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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When considering the top prospects in the NFL Draft, C.J. Henderson has earned another look.

You need to be watching Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson. While I don't like labels, the former Gator star is the prototype. Henderson stands slightly under 6'1'', weighing just over 200 pounds; he is what most defensive coordinators call a defensive lineman's dream and a wide receiver's nightmare. When considering the top prospects in the NFL Draft, Henderson has earned another look.

Henderson matched up against the top playmakers from opposing teams and held his own since arriving on campus back in 2017. As a true freshman, he had a pick-six against Michigan in his first game at Florida and never looked back. Henderson has everything you look for in a shutdown corner: size, speed, make-up speed, which he shows often on tape, and physicality at the line, forcing receivers to actually run routes and not just let them rely on their athletic ability. Most importantly, he has tremendous ball skills and the unique ability to make plays on the ball in the air. Henderson is never out of position, he is extremely patient and has instincts that the best defensive backs need in order to be elite.  

The NFL Combine was just the icing on the cake.

Henderson killed the combine from start to finish. He did 20 bench press reps of 225. He had a 37.5-inch vertical leap. He ran a 4.39 in the forty yard dash. He put his stamp on the stellar performance by making it look effortless in the field drills. NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah said that Henderson had the best combine amongst all of the cornerbacks and worked himself into a top 15 overall pick.

Gainesville to Indianapolis, Henderson came in with the mindset to check off every box. He played in the best conference; check. He lined up against the best wide outs and held his own; check. His game tape was validated by his combine performance; check. He didn't need the hype train to boost his resume, either. Sounds like Henderson completed his mission to me. 

The last thing I remember about Henderson at the combine was him looking at the camera, smiling and doing the Gator Chomp because he knew that he had just solidified his place in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The only question now is who is going to get him? Whatever team it is will be getting a lockdown defender whose upside is through the roof. Oh, and for those who say that C.J. needs to tackle better need to go watch the tape; he tackles just fine. When it comes to covering receivers, he is second to none.

I can't wait for the start of the 2020 NFL season so I can watch this young man ball. Through his play, his measurables and his combine performance, Henderson is worthy of all of the attention he is getting and, for cornerbacks entering the next level, is as good as it gets.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports