Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson is a fascinating draft prospect. He's a high-ceiling, low-floor corner that has draft experts projecting anything from multiple future Pro Bowls to being relegated to a rotational role if he doesn't address his red flags.
No one questions Henderson's cover ability or his athleticism. He's shown he can be a formidable cover corner in his 27 starts with the Gators. The concerns about Henderson center on his tackling issues and willingness/ability to defend the run game.
Here's what SI Florida Gators Maven Zach Goodall said about Henderson in his most recent scouting report:
... those concerns are also overblown when they get debated, because, for each concern, Henderson has proven on tape that he can overcome those issues. His tackling isn't perfect, but that doesn't make him a bad tackler. His coverage wasn't as dominant in 2019 as previous years, but it was still very good - and the blame sent his way for two touchdowns given up against LSU isn't necessarily valid when the context is provided. ... His size is ideal, his athleticism is top of the line, and he's shown everything he needed to on tape that suggests he can become a No. 1 cornerback at the NFL level.
I encourage you to read Goodall's full scouting report, which includes video breakdowns if you'd like to learn more.
Ultimately, it doesn't matter what we think of Henderson's ceiling and floor. It matters what NFL teams think. Given several teams' need for a quality cornerback, where do the sportsbooks set the over/under for his pick selection?
You might find this offered at 17.5 in some places, including William Hill depending on your state. If you're curious, the Dallas Cowboys currently hold the 17th pick of the draft.
Which teams could be interested?
Let's take a look at a half-dozen teams that need to add a corner and have a decent chance of taking one in the first round.
Jacksonville Jaguars (Nos. 9 & 20)
The No. 9 overall pick is my projected landing spot for Henderson in my latest mock draft. The Jaguars need to fill the huge holes left by trading away Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. The top QBs will be off the board at this point, along with LB Isaiah Simmons, so the Jaguars can address this need right away. DraftKings Sportsbook's odds on what side of the ball the Jaguars address at No. 9 are: Defense (-121); Offense (+100). Small concern for under bettors that they wait until pick No. 20 to grab a CB.
Las Vegas Raiders (Nos. 12 & 19)
Las Vegas needs a corner, and they should address the position with a first-round pick. However, I think it'll be their second first-round pick. The Raiders can't pass on one of the three elite wide receivers on the board: Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs III. Given the way Jon Gruden coaches his team, he may favor a corner like Jeff Gladney over Henderson too. This team is more likely to help over bettors.
Atlanta Falcons (No. 16)
It's hard to imagine the Falcons passing on a significant position of need if Henderson falls this far. They have young corners in Isaiah Oliver, Jordan Miller, Kendall Sheffield, etc. but no one of Henderson's quality. They also lost Desmond Trufant this offseason. Atlanta is a heavy favorite to go defense here (-335), and there's a high likelihood it's a corner like Henderson or Kristian Fulton.
Dallas Cowboys (No. 17)
Another heavy favorite to go defense (-335), a Henderson selection here would either be a win or push for under bettors. The Cowboys need to find a replacement for the departed Byron Jones and are expected to add to their secondary or pass rush with the 17th overall pick. Dallas might be zeroing in on Henderson already.
San Francisco 49ers (No. 31) & Kansas City Chiefs (No. 32)
Over bettors would be thrilled to see Henderson fall to the final picks of the first round. Both of these teams could add a corner, but neither seems likely to trade up for one (or in San Francisco's case, take one at No. 13).
Against The Odds
Once Jeff Okudah comes off the board somewhere in the Top 5, there is a lot of debate about who the next best corners are to round out the top half-dozen at the position. Many have Henderson as the No. 2 corner in the class. The over/under on CBs drafted in Round 1 is 4.5 at William Hill with the over juiced to -138. I have as many as six CBs coming off the board in the first round, so I expect to see a few "reaches" at the position relative to expectations. I don't see Henderson getting past the first picks of Jacksonville, Oakland, Atlanta, and Dallas.
The Play: UNDER 17 (-120)
MORE FROM SI GAMBLING: