Four Prospects Set to Upend Draft Boards
1. Seantrel Henderson – Offensive Tackle – Miami (Fla)
Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher and Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson both had breakout years in 2012, with the two offensive tackle prospects coming virtually out of nowhere to be selected among the top five players in the 2013 NFL Draft. While Henderson would not exactly be coming out of nowhere, it is not inconceivable to think that he could follow suit and make a significant rise up NFL draft boards in his final season of college football. The same elite combination of size, strength, and movement skills that made him the top overall player in the 2009 recruiting class also makes Henderson a prime candidate to break back into contention for being the top offensive tackle drafted from the 2014 class.
What Makes Him Special: Henderson is a superior athlete at the offensive tackle position, with quick feet to handle speed rushers on the edge, along with excellent balance and functional strength to anchor against power rushers. He does a good job utilizing his length in pass protection, making first contact to gain an immediate advantage with his initial punch before shuffling his feet to impede the defender’s path to the quarterback. He also displays impressive speed and the ability to eliminate targets on the move, enabling him to extend offensive gains with his blocking at the second level. When you consider that he possesses such remarkable athleticism at 6-foot-8 and weighing 345 pounds, it is easy to understand why Henderson would be referred to as a “special” prospect.
Where He Must Improve: With the exception of inconsistent hand placement and waist bend commonly seen from linemen his size, offensive line coaches will find few detrimental flaws with Henderson’s overall technique. He does need to do a better job of bending his knees and keeping his feet under his hips when run blocking in order to generate the type of push you would expect from a blocker his size. Still, the positives far outweigh the negatives when it comes to Henderson’s measurable attributes and performance on tape.
The biggest concerns center more around his ability to stay healthy and productive over the length of a long-term contract. It is thus of paramount importance to his draft stock, as well as to his bank account, that NFL teams see Henderson demonstrate a commitment to his overall conditioning and the ability to stay on the field for every offensive snap in 2013.
How He Stacks Up: Jake Matthews, Cyrus Kouandjio, and Taylor Lewan are considered by most to be the top draft-eligible offensive tackles in 2014. James Hurst, Tiny Richardson, and Cameron Erving are listed ahead of Henderson on a number of draft boards as well.
However, Henderson has elite upside with his combination of size, athleticism, and overall potential as a pass blocker that is unique among this group. If he can finish his career at Miami on a high note, while finally showing scouts the consistency they have been waiting to see from him, Henderson easily could wind up the favorite over all the players currently listed ahead of him. He could also opt to follow in the footsteps of Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson, whose week of Senior Bowl practices played a major role in elevating their status heading into the 2013 draft.