2020 NFL Mock Draft: Sifting through the pre-draft noise
A lot of you reading this may be thinking to yourself, “What? Jeff Okudah and Isaiah Simmons are on the board. Why would the Panthers select C.J. Henderson instead of either?”
I would agree that from an evaluation standpoint, Okudah’s tape is better than that of Henderson. And Simmons is a more versatile and athletic playmaker who could help to replace Luke Kuechly for the Panthers.
But the fact of that matter is that I’m not making the decisions here. And each NFL team has a different board. So, the Panthers under Matt Rhule could consider Henderson here.
Rhule has expressed a desire to become more athletic and fast on both sides of the ball. While Simmons would be the obvious pick from an athleticism standpoint, Henderson would qualify as well. The potential top-10 corner, per WalterFootball.com’s Charlie Campbell, blazed a 4.39 at the 2020 NFL Combine and was one of the smoothest players on the field. He actually outshined Okudah in that regard though Okudah had better tape than the Florida product.
Henderson didn’t have any picks in his final collegiate season. But the 6-foot-1 corner covered well and showed off his athletic ability playing in the always-tough SEC. Will he go ahead of Okudah on draft day? Maybe not. But if the Panthers are picking and Derrick Brown is off the board, it’s surely possible.
If I was the Panthers’ GM, I’d probably go with Simmons here to keep up their tradition of great linebacker play. But for now, Henderson seems like a potential option at the No. 7 spot depending on how the board breaks.