C.J. Henderson

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/19/20

Here are the most recent NFL minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Placed on IR: CB C.J. Henderson

Kansas City Chiefs

Minnesota Vikings

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: FB C.J. Ham

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Jaguars Sign C.J. Henderson

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)

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Draft Rumors: Dolphins, Raiders, 49ers

Before the Dolphins stuck at No. 5 overall and drafted quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, there were rumblings that Miami wanted to trade up not for a signal-caller, but for an offensive tackle. Had the Dolphins followed through with that plan, they would have been targeting Georgia’s Andrew Thomas, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Thomas ended up coming off the board to the Giants at No. 4, so Miami would have had to get to the third overall pick in order to have a chance. The Dolphins ended up finding an offensive tackle later in Round 1 with USC’s Austin Jackson:

Here’s more from last night’s action:

  • The Falcons were heavily linked not only to a potential trade up, but specifically to Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson prior to the draft. Atlanta did want to move up for Henderson, per Rapoport (Twitter link), but they couldn’t find a trade partner for a number of reasons. Both the Dolphins and Chargers wanted quarterbacks, the Panthers refused to trade within the division, the Cardinals were stuck on Isaiah Simmons, and the Jaguars wanted Henderson for themselves.
  • The Raiders were attempting to trade back from the 12th pick before selecting Alabama wideout Henry Ruggs, according to Vic Tafur of The Atheltic (Twitter link). Speculatively, Las Vegas may have been happy to land any of the top-three pass-catchers and figured it could move down, acquire more picks, and still find a wide receiver. Instead, the Raiders surprisingly went with Ruggs, who was widely viewed as the third-best WR behind CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy.
  • After trading DeForest Buckner to the Colts in March, the 49ers “quietly” tried to sign several free agent defensive tackles with no success, tweets Rapoport. Instead, San Francisco moved back one pick before adding South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link), Kinlaw was off at least one team’s board due to medical issues. Most clubs, however, deemed him only a “moderate” injury risk.
  • The Cowboys debated between Lamb and LSU edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson at pick No. 17 before ultimately deciding on Lamb, per Rapoport (Twitter link). Chaisson was a popular target for Dallas in many mock drafts, but when Lamb unexpectedly fell to the middle of Round 1, the Cowboys couldn’t pass. Dallas will now feature a superb three-WR set of Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup.

Falcons Prepared To Make “Huge Leap”

The Falcons are working feverishly to move up the board. They continue to be “the team to watch when it comes to moving up in the NFL Draft,” Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets

The Falcons currently hold the No. 16 overall pick, but they’ve been pressing to vault into the Top 10. They have multiple needs on the defensive side – including the pass rush and the interior defensive line – but their top priority is likely at cornerback. With that in mind, Rapoport echoes what we’ve been hearing for a while: Thomas Dimitroff is looking for a high-end cover man with eyes on Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah and Florida’s C.J. Henderson.

Most have projected Okudah to be the first cornerback off the board on Thursday, though not everyone agrees that he is the very best CB in this year’s class. More and more executives seem to be pointing towards Henderson as the best at the position. Recently, Peter King of NBC Sports heard that 40% of NFL teams have Henderson slotted as the CB1, with Okudah somewhere below him.

If the Falcons want to guarantee that they’ll get either player, they may have to move all the way up to No. 3 via trade with the Lions. Okudah has long been connected to Detroit, while Henderson has been flirting with the Top 10 boundary. But, as always, nothing is certain – anonymous sources love to run misdirection this time of year and there’s zero guarantee that Henderson would be available for Atlanta at, say, No. 8.

For what it’s worth, Falcons coach Dan Quinn has told reporters that he sees Kendall Sheffield as a potential CB1 (via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

In our league and division there are certainly some guys that you want to match up on if you need to,” Quinn said. “He’s definitely somebody with the speed and short-space quickness to do that. I definitely think he has a shot to do that, based on his speed and that I just think he’s going to continue to grow. Yeah, we’re very excited about him.

NFL Draft Rumors: Thomas, Henderson, Tua

With the NFL Draft just around the corner, here’s a look at the latest rumblings from Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller:

  • There’s increasing chatter about Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson landing in the top 10, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report hears. Henderson hasn’t garnered the same level of hype as Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah over the last few months, but it’s starting to sound like he has closed the gap. Earlier this week, an anonymous GM told Peter King of NBC Sports that 40% of NFL teams likely have Henderson ranked as the draft’s best CB, ahead of Okudah. Miller isn’t convinced that Henderson will go top 10, but the Panthers (No. 7) and Jaguars (No. 9) could give him consideration.
  • Throughout the evaluation process, offensive linemen Jedrick Wills Jr. (Alabama) and Mekhi Becton (Louisville) have been highly touted, and Tristan Wirfs has been connected to the Giants at No. 4. Still, there’s buzz that Georgia’s Andrew Thomas could wind up as the first offensive tackle selected, Miller hears. Some may prefer the upside of Wills and Becton or the four-position potential of Wirfs, but Thomas may be the most NFL-ready of the bunch. Of course, with limited OTAs on the horizon, teams have even less time to teach rookies.
  • If the Dolphins are truly targeting Justin Herbert over Tua Tagovailoa, league officials believe that the Alabama star could drop out of the top 10. Things seemed to be trending up for Tagovailoa after the latest check on his surgically-repaired hip, but it’s possible that teams are skittish without getting their own up-close inspection. Personally, we like Tagovailoa’s chances of going in the top 10 – perhaps from a team leaping up the board – even if Miami passes on him.
  • Earlier today, we profiled Georgia star and potential first-round pick D’Andre Swift.

Draft Rumors: Henderson, Dobbins, Davis

Are you ready for surprises on draft day? It sounds like you should be. “The media is wronger about mock drafts this year than you guys have ever been,” one NFL general manager told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). That’s undoubtedly because of the ongoing certainly involving COVID-19, which has caused the league to upend its predraft process. As Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com tweets, “group think” is less likely to occur in 2019 because scouts and executives were unable to congregate at pro days, events where evaluators typically will — intentionally or not — develop something of a consensus on prospects.

After deciding whether “wronger” is actually a word, let’s take a look at more on the upcoming draft:

  • The Falcons held a predraft video meeting with Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson last week, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Atlanta currently holds the 16th overall pick, but recent reports have indicated general manager Thomas Dimitroff & Co. could be interested in moving up the board. Henderson is considered the draft’s second-best cornerback behind Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah, although some decision-makers may rate Henderson No. 1.
  • Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins has held video meetings with several NFL teams, including the Chiefs, Packers, Bills, Lions, Saints, Dolphins, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. This isn’t the first time Dobbins has been linked to Miami, as he took a predraft visit with the Dolphins before such meetings were shut down due to COVID-19. Indeed, Dobbins left that visit feeling Miami was “infatuated” with him.
  • Alabama defensive tackle Raekwon Davis says the 49ers, Packers, Dolphins, Ravens, and Eagles are the teams that have contacted him most, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. A massive presence at 6’6″, 310 pounds, Davis a first-round projection and comparisons to DeForest Buckner from NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein. Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus, however, ranks Davis just 10th among interior defender prospects, noting his lack of development as a pass-rusher.
  • The Ravens, 49ers, Panthers, Titans, and Seahawks have all held video sessions with TCU defensive tackle Ross Blacklock, per Wilson. Blacklock, who stock has risen during the predraft process, missed the 2018 campaign with an Achilles injury but was productive during both his freshman and junior seasons. Last year, he posted 40 tackles (nine for loss) and 3.5 sacks.

Peter King’s Latest On 2020 NFL Draft

While Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah is widely viewed as the top defensive back in the 2020 draft class, at least one general manager thinks a portion of NFL decision-makers may have a different view. “I bet 40% of the teams in the league have C.J. Henderson higher on their boards than Okudah,” the anonymous GM told Peter King of NBC Sports. “Better cover guy.” Henderson, a Florida product with 30 total games and a 2019 All-SEC nod under his belt, is pegged as a first-round pick, but it would certainly be a surprise if he came off the board before Okudah, who is thought to be a potential top-five selection.

Let’s take a look at a few more draft tidbits from King’s latest column:

  • The Chargers‘ quarterback situation continues to a conundrum. While a source close to Los Angeles GM Tom Telesco tells King Telesco is high on Oregon signal-caller Justin Herbert, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn has faith in incumbent Tyrod Taylor. In fact, Lynn might be comfortable starting Taylor even beyond the 2020 season.
  • While the Chargers may target a quarterback in the first round, don’t expect the Jaguars to go after a passer with the ninth overall pick, per King. Jacksonville intends to give 2019 sixth-rounder Gardner Minshew a legitimate shot at becoming a full-time NFL starter after trading veteran Nick Foles to the Bears earlier this month.
  • Although the 49ers are already loaded along their defensive line (even after trading DeForest Buckner to the Colts), they could still target even more front four help in the first round. Specifically, San Francisco could be eyeing a defensive tackle such as South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw. The 49ers own both the 13th and 31st picks on Day 1 of the draft, leaving them ample opportunities to address nee areas.
  • The Cowboys may look to find a replacement for All-Pro center Travis Frederick after he announced his retirement earlier this year, but at least one rival executive tells King that Dallas won’t spend the 17th pick on a pivot. However, that same executive believes the Cowboys are fans of Michigan interior lineman Cesar Ruiz, and could trade down before selecting the ex-Wolverine.
  • One NFL GM tells King the Patriots “love” Herbert, but may not be infatuated enough to trade up from pick No. 23. Indeed, New England would likely need to sacrifice a 2021 first-round pick in order to move into Herbert range.

Florida CB C.J. Henderson To Enter Draft

One of the top draft-eligible defensive prospects, C.J. Henderson will indeed be part of the 2020 draft pool. The Florida cornerback announced (via Twitter) he will leave school early to pursue an NFL career.

Projected as a first-round pick, Henderson will not play in the Gators’ bowl game. The junior corner rates as the No. 20 overall prospect, according to Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, and Scouts Inc. grades the three-year Gator as its No. 10 overall prospect.

The 6-foot-1 defender led Florida with 11 pass breakups this season, doing so despite missing three early-season games due to a sprained ankle. A Miami native, Henderson rated as a four-star recruit and intercepted six passes between his freshman and sophomore seasons. Henderson twice returned interceptions for touchdowns as a freshman. He started 27 games for the Gators.

Florida has produced a few high-end corner prospects in recent years — from Vernon Hargreaves to J.C. Jackson to Teez Tabor to Quincy Wilson. This group followed Joe Haden, a 2010 first-round pick.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.