The Falcons have filled their offensive needs through free agency and trade. Their focus is now on defense and their main priority—drafting a first-round cornerback with the No. 16 pick.
Their defensive line is almost set now that they have a quality edge rusher under their belt with Dante Fowler. They also re-signed defensive end Steven Means who will also add depth to the Falcons defense.
Right now, the Falcons have two young guys at the cornerback position, Isiah Oliver and Kendall Sheffield. They seem to have promising futures but haven’t really been consistent when they needed to be and are still only backup quality. This leaves the Falcons needing to bring on a talented cornerback.
Jeffery Okudah of Ohio State would be a nice catch for Atlanta, but he’s expected to go pretty early, way before the 16th pick. That makes C.J. Henderson the next best thing…if he’s still available.
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C.J. Henderson’s Scouting Report
C.J. Henderson stands at 6’1″, 205 pounds. Last season he recorded 33 tackles and 11 pass breakups which led him to receive first-team All-SEC honors.
The Florida Gator proved himself NFL worthy as a junior, but really caught the attention of many scouts at the NFL Combine. He proved to be the most athletic athlete at his position. Henderson ran a 4.39 40-yard dash, had a 37.5-inch vert and he also put up 20 reps on the bench press.
Scouting expert, Jacob Infante of NFL Draft Wire gave his elevator pitch on Henderson:
“A fluid, lengthy and intelligent cornerback with Day 1 starting potential, Henderson should be high in demand when the draft rolls around. Given how he put to bed speed concerns (which probably shouldn’t have existed to begin with) with a 4.39 40-yard dash, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him drafted in the top half of the first round.”
The Falcons are definitely in need of a “Day 1 starting” cornerback.
The Good & the Ugly
Just like every football player, Henderson has strengths and weaknesses. The main thing is consistency for him.
- A tall cornerback with a solid wingspan and good length on the boundary
- change direction very well and accelerate coming out of his breaks at a high level
- Long speed to keep up with speedier wideouts
- Good job of mirroring routes and can also read a quarterback’s eyes well.
- Can play off in man coverage, closer to the line of scrimmage in press, or guarding slot receivers as a nickelback.
- Delivers a solid pop as a blitzer, and his closing speed against the run is good, as well.
- Occasionally fails to adjust to the ball and make a play on it in man coverage.
- Few issues with his balance and can slip up from time to time.
- Tackle consistency
- Bring physicality in run support on more of a regular basis.