Jets must call Jaguars about CJ Henderson ‘available’
Stop the New York Jets fan press! According to several team leaders, the Jacksonville Jaguars have just announced that their 2020 first-round pick (number nine overall) is “commercially available.”
Naturally, all the general managers in the league picked up the phone last night and called Jags general manager Trent Baalke. If they haven’t, they should.
This is not a Jeff Gladney situation where you have to worry about legal issues. Apart from one recent fight with COVID-19, CJ Henderson has no immediate red flags. He is a talented prospect who begins his season at the age of 23 with a rookie contract that Jacksonville has already paid around 64% of.
The Arizona Cardinals have been listed as an optimal landing point, but the Jets aren’t far behind in third on Focus on professional football ‘ best candidates through commerce.
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Jets are ready to fly Henderson on a bargain
A friend of mine just told me yesterday that in life, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually isn’t.
No doubt, Spidey’s senses start to tingle when you see last year’s ninth overall pick hit the trading block, but I’m struggling to find a reason why the Jets shouldn’t target Henderson.
While the cornerback is used to a more masculine cover appearance compared to Robert Saleh’s Cover-3 schedule, his initial NFL scouting report of Lance Zierlein matches a ton of physical traits that Joe Douglas and Saleh looked for when building their high school.
The project analyst described him as “a silky-bound cornerback with mirrored and in-match footwork and the agility and athleticism to stay connected to routes.” Zierlein also noted that Henderson “a [the] The burst of recovery in the NFL and the long speed to follow the vertical routes down, ”something needed in Cover-3.
With a 6-foot-1, 204-pound long frame, the Jaguars ‘sophomore is essentially a higher-cap version of the 2021 Jets’ fifth-round Jason Pinnock (6-foot, 205-pound), which we called perfect for the plan. for Saleh after the draft.
The only negative point is Henderson’s dedication to the game. There is no doubt about his abilities but Tony Pauline of Professional football network once spotted the Florida product as a player with some “character issues”, stating that “[Henderson] has a huge advantage and could become a starter if the coaching staff can stay focused on the pitch and mature as a person.
The sophomore pro recently missed the Jacksonville intra-team scrum for “personal reasons. “
There is some concern here, but I have no doubt that if anyone can rekindle the passion within this gifted athlete, it’s Coach Saleh.
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Florida Gators connection?
There isn’t necessarily a known reason as to why, but Douglas seems to like former prospects in the Florida area. The Jets have several Florida Gators alumni on the roster, in particular, and Henderson could add to those ranks.
Here is the list of Florida products on Gang Green to date.
- Jarrad Davis, signed in 2021 (Florida Gators).
- La’Mical Perine, drafted in 2020 (Florida Gators).
- Jabari Zuniga, drafted in 2020 (Florida Gators).
- Marcus Maye, unwritten by Douglas (Florida Gators).
- Sharrod Neasman, signed in 2021 (Florida Atlantic Owls).
- James Morgan, 2020 drafted (Florida International Panthers).
- Lamarcus Joyner, signed in 2021 (Florida State Seminoles).
- Hamsah Nasirildeen, drafted in 2021 (Florida State Seminoles).
- JT Hassell, signed in 2020 (Florida Tech Panthers).
- Michael Carter, drafted in 2021 (native of Florida).
- Jamien Sherwood, drafted in 2021 (native of Florida).
Henderson was both born in Florida and a product of the Gators during his college career. Based on those qualifications, he might even have been on Douglas’ radar in his first draft with the franchise.
The Jets ended up taking Mekhi Becton at No.11, but the cornerback would have met a different need at the time.
Do the Jets need Henderson?
I have supported this young cornerback team more than most and they impressed in the Green & White scrum on August 7th, but the short answer is still yes.
Henderson would immediately become the most talented CB in the Jets’ roster, considering Bryce Hall currently holds that title (lower in the same 2020 draft class). He would also fit in, based on the Florida connection with so many Greens and Whites on the roster.
Above all, the Jets are well positioned to outbid competing offers. They have two first-round picks, two second-round picks and a third-round pick in 2022 after trading Jamal Adams and Sam Darnold.
I doubt they should give up a first for Henderson with the Jags ready to move on after a season, but the Jets or Carolina second round could secure that deal.
Looking ahead to 2022, numerous mock drafts see Douglas selecting a cornerback with a top-10 pick in the first round, assuming the Jets achieve top-10 status. The two likely candidates are Derek Stingley Jr. and Kaiir Elam (another Florida product) in what is considered a busy CB class.
An acquisition of Henderson would give Douglas options. If he returns to his first round form in this system, you don’t have to pass a 2022 first on a corner. If he looks tottering, you always add an old best prospect on the cheap and you could double down and take another CB next year since the class is packed with options.
You can never attract too much talent to an area where you need it. Henderson is the perfect example of this theory.
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