Anonymous GM Bets 40 Percent of Teams Rank CJ Henderson Ahead of Jeff Okudah

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 13, 2020

Florida defensive back C J Henderson runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah is the presumed top player at his position in the 2020 NFL draft, but one NFL general manager believes Florida corner CJ Henderson could go off the board ahead of him.

"I bet 40 percent of the teams in the league have Henderson higher on their boards than Okudah," the GM told Peter King of NBC Sports. "Better cover guy."

King noted that a team like the Detroit Lions could target a player like Okudah with the third overall pick, though trading back and nabbing Henderson could make sense. 

Henderson likely will be a top-20 pick. B/R's Matt Miller had him ranked at No. 14 on his latest big board, while NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah had him at No. 21 on April 1. Jeremiah called him "extremely explosive and athletic" in his scouting report:

"He is very physical in press coverage, landing a two-hand jam consistently. He is extremely loose and fluid to open up and mirror all over the field. He's hardly ever out of position and possesses rare makeup speed when he is caught in a bind. You see that same burst when he's in off coverage and the ball is thrown in front. He does need to improve on finding the ball down the field, as he's often a little late to look back. The major concern with this player is tackling. He has way too many misses and that must be improved. Overall, Henderson has some elite traits and could emerge as the top cornerback in this class, but his tackling must be addressed."

In his April 7 mock draft, meanwhile, Jeremiah projected Henderson to land with the Atlanta Falcons at No. 16 overall, adding that he had the "greatest upside of any cornerback in the draft class."

Vic Tafur @VicTafur

To me, studying cornerbacks, it's Jeff Okudah in a class by himself, C.J. Henderson is the next tier and then three guys I wouldn't be confident I could pick and play right away. #Raiders

Henderson had an excellent career at Florida, appearing in 30 games and registering 93 tackles, four sacks, six interceptions and two forced fumbles.

Both Miller and Jeremiah consider Okudah a top-five talent, meanwhile. 

Cornerbacks are one of the key positions in the NFL, and teams often prioritize them early in the draft alongside positions like quarterback, left tackle and wide receiver. So it wouldn't be a shock to see a player like Henderson off the board in the first 10 picks.