Photo courtesy of Florida Athletics

Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson’s NFL dream came true on Thursday night.

The standout corner was selected in the first round by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the ninth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Henderson becomes the first Florida defensive back selected in the first round since Vernon Hargreaves III went 11th overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2016.

Accolades and Numbers

Listed at 6-foot-1 and more than 200 pounds, Henderson was an All-SEC first-team selection as a junior in 2019. He was also a semifinalist for the Thorpe and Lombardi Awards.

Henderson was a third-team All-SEC selection in 2018. Henderson was rarely thrown at this past season, as he’s a physical lockdown corner.

Over the course of Henderson’s 3-year career, he recorded recorded three interceptions and two forced fumbles. The lack of interceptions this year is due to targets, not competence.

With Henderson a significant piece, Florida ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring and total defense in 2019. The Gators finished in the top 10 and won a New Year’s Six bowl in each of his final two seasons.

A native of Miami, Henderson becomes the seventh Florida defensive back drafted since 2017.


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What the Experts are Saying

Henderson has the potential to be a No. 1 corner in the NFL and could end up being a Pro Bowl players (sic) early in his career. After getting his feet wet, Henderson should emerge as a starter during his rookie season. He also could be a dangerous ball hawk who consistently produces quality interception totals. If Henderson becomes a better tackler and gets more physical, he has the skill set to be one of the top corners in the league.

– Charlie Campbell, Walter Football

Mike Ferguson is the associate editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.

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