The Jaguars have signed first-round draft choice C.J. Henderson, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (Twitter link). Per the terms of his slot, the former Florida corner will take home a four-year, $20.5MM contract (fully-guaranteed), and Rapoport notes that the deal does not include offsets.
While Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah was the most-heralded member of this year’s CB class, Henderson had plenty of fans in NFL front offices. One GM said back in April that he believed a dozen or more of the league’s 32 teams had Henderson ranked higher than Okudah, and the Falcons were trying to trade up from their No. 16 slot to land Henderson.
But the Jags snapped him up with the No. 9 overall pick (Okudah went to the Lions at No. 3). Cornerback was a major need for Jacksonville, as the team traded A.J. Bouye in March after dealing Jalen Ramsey to the Rams in advance of last year’s deadline. The Jags did add several more corners in the draft and signed veteran Rashaan Melvin, but Henderson will open his professional career as a CB1.
He certainly appears ready for the challenge. The 6-1 defender led the Gators with 11 pass breakups in 2019, doing so despite missing three early-season games due to a sprained ankle. He also picked off six passes between his freshman and sophomore seasons, returning two of them for TDs. His length and technique suggest he can be a strong cover corner in the NFL, though he will need to clean up the occasional mental lapse and improve his tackling abilities.
The Jags now have over half of their 12-man rookie class under contract. Here’s the full list, courtesy of PFR’s tracker:
1-9: C.J. Henderson, CB (Florida): Signed
1-20: K’Lavon Chaisson, DE (LSU)
2-42: Laviska Shenault, WR (Colorado): Signed
3-73: Davon Hamilton, DT (Ohio State): Signed
4-116: Ben Bartch, OT (St. John’s (MN)): Signed
4-137: Josiah Scott, CB (Michigan State)
4-140: Shaquille Quarterman, ILB (Miami): Signed
5-157: Daniel Thomas, S (Auburn)
5-165: Collin Johnson, WR (Texas): Signed
6-189: Jake Luton, QB (Oregon State)
6-206: Tyler Davis, TE (Georgia Tech): Signed
7-223: Chris Claybrooks, CB (Memphis)
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