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NFL Draft

3 Teams That Should Trade For C.J. Henderson

  • The Draft Network
  • August 11, 2021
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C.J. Henderson Trade Destinations

The value of a lockdown corner in today’s NFL has become, well, invaluable. 

For the Jacksonville Jaguars and 2020 No. 9 overall selection C.J. Henderson, a tattered relationship has welcomed a conversation about a potential departure from a state he’s called home for the entirety of his football career. 

A look into the past, when organizations opt to part ways with a former high selection, it typically raises a red flag on the athlete. Whether it’s a failed relationship with coaches or off-field concerns, time and time again players rid themselves of a chance to compete at the sport’s highest level simply due to their inability to control their actions while maintaining an overall desire to study and progress into the professional realm of the NFL as a first or second-year player.

For Henderson, this is a whole new basket of issues; he reportedly “doesn’t fit” in Jacksonville within Joe Cullen’s newly introduced defensive scheme. 

You’re probably wondering just how a top-10 selection doesn’t “fit” within a defense, or the roster as a whole… allow me to clarify.

At 6-foot-1 with a pterodactyl-like wingspan, elite speed, and high-powered hips and feet, Henderson touts all the fundamental tools to develop into one of the league’s top young corners, but when the current regime has absolutely zero ties to you, it’s not hard to see the disconnect. While head coach Urban Meyer has already received enough criticism this summer, the potential loss of a first-round pick just a year removed from college doesn’t look good on a resume screaming for professional improvement. 

With roughly $13.10 of his $20.51M contract already paid in full, here are three teams that could be in line for Henderson’s services.

Philadelphia Eagles

Within a division touting the likes of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, and Kenny Golladay, the Eagles should be the first on the phone with Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke as they are set to enter the year with Darius Slay and newly acquired Steven Nelson on the perimeter. And although it could be worse with depth bodies in Avonte Maddox and draft addition Zech McPhearson, newly minted defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon could work wonders with Henderson in his hybrid man-zone concepts.

Once looked upon as one of the league’s top 10 corners, Slay, similar to many of his teammates, worsened in 2020. Now on the bad side of 30 years old, the addition of Henderson would present the Eagles with an array of options on the outside. Whether Gannon wants to start Henderson opposite Slay or have Henderson travel with the opposing team’s top wideout, the uniqueness to how Henderson can be deployed is a never-ending scroll.

Dallas Cowboys

It’s an NFC East affair thus far, as Dallas, similar to the Eagles, lacks punch in the secondary. A unit made up of Trevon Diggs and Anthony Brown, Dallas opted to add eight defensive players via the draft into Dan Quinn’s scheme, but only time will tell how first-year corners Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright develop when thrown into the fire. 

With Henderson, he immediately would step in front of Diggs as the primary perimeter defender, allowing the former Alabama standout to work opposite with less burden on his shoulders to eliminate the opposing team’s top wideout week in and week out. Additionally, it would further allow the aggressive nature of Damontae Kazee to work in space both near the LOS and as a ballhawk on shallow to intermediate concepts away from Henderson’s side of the field.

Seattle Seahawks

With Jamal Adams playing the role of box safety unlike anything we’ve seen before—recording the highest pressure grade among any Seattle defender—the Seahawks have remained in dire need of a shutdown outside corner since the loss of Richard Sherman and most recently, Shaquill Griffin. A unit comprised of Ahkello Witherspoon, Tre Flowers, and D.J. Reed leaves MUCH to be desired, especially considering the current state of the Seahawks within an ever-improving NFC West. 

While no one is trying to reinvent the wheel or is attempting to reconfigure the “Legion Of Boom” of yesteryear, Henderson would surely provide as sparkling a talent entrenched in the secondary as Pete Carroll could ever hope for this late in the summer.

Honorable Mentions: New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs

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