Former Florida Gators cornerback CJ Henderson will be dominant in Year 2 with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
CJ Henderson, the former Florida Gators cornerback, was selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was a well-deserved honor for Henderson to be selected in the top 10, as he shined as a Gator.
Henderson dominated college football receivers. According to Pro Football Focus, in 2018, Henderson only gave up 18 receptions and zero touchdowns on 343 coverage snaps. To make that even more impressive, PFF also said that Henderson only gave up 20 or fewer receptions in all three of his seasons as a Gator.
The lockdown cornerback reminded me a lot of one of my all-time favorite Gators, cornerback Joe Haden. Henderson’s ability to be so sticky in man-to-man coverage was a big reason why I predicted that he would be the next shutdown cornerback in the NFL.
Jacksonville agreed with me, and they decided to take Henderson with the ninth overall pick. Cornerbacks with Henderson’s elite man-to-man ability do not grow on trees, so if you can lock one up, you do.
Henderson entered the NFL, along with all the rookies last season, with a lot of adversity. COVID-19 changed how the offseason would be conducted, and it felt like a lot of rookies would have a big learning curve or struggle to start the season because of it.
In Henderson’s first game, he showed right away that he is ready to be the next great cornerback in the NFL. Future Hall of Fame quarterback Philip Rivers’ debut game with the Indianapolis Colts was ruined because Henderson played at such an elite level.
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Henderson shut down wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, and Rivers had trouble throwing the ball to his side all day. Henderson recorded five tackles, three pass deflections, and his first career interception.
Henderson’s last pass deflection was the biggest, as it was on 4th down and sealed the victory for the Jaguars. I do not think Henderson could have drawn up his NFL debut any better than that.
The rest of the season was a bit up and down for Henderson, as he only played and started in eight games. Henderson’s injuries became an issue, and a groin injury had him put on Injured Reserve for the rest of the season.
Henderson also had a nagging shoulder injury all year, which he ended up having his labrum surgically repaired this offseason, according to new Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer. Hopefully, Henderson will enter the 2021 season healthy and be ready to go, but it looks like he will be.
The injuries hurt Henderson’s chances of becoming the star he can be, but in year 2, Henderson is ready to show he is a No. 1 cornerback consistently. I think that Henderson has all the traits to be one of the elite cornerbacks in the league, and if he can stay healthy, he will show that this year.
It is a new era in Jacksonville, and Henderson can help be part of the turnaround. Henderson will be dominant this year, and I think he will show everyone why he was a top 10 pick.