Eagles

Eagles

For the next few weeks before the NFL Draft on April 23-25, we’ll be looking at some viable options for the Eagles and the No. 21 pick.

There isn't a cornerback in the 2020 NFL draft with C.J. Henderson's combination of size and speed. 

Standing 6-foot-1, 204 pounds with sub-4.4 speed, Henderson has the pure physical ability to match up and run with any receiver in the league. Draft him and plug him into your starting lineup on Day 1. 

There aren't many major concerns with Henderson as a prospect. Some areas to clean up, for sure, though even then, it's unclear how many of those flaws can be attributed to questionable effort last season in anticipation of entering the draft. 

Bottom line, the team that selects Henderson will be getting a long, speedy corner with 93 tackles, 26 pass breakups and six interceptions in three college seasons. 

Current roster at CB: The trade for Darius Slay gives the Eagles the best No. 1 corner they've had since Asante Samuel — so almost a decade — while signing Nickell Robey-Coleman adds a proven component in the slot. As of now, it appears Sidney Jones and Avonte Maddox are poised to battle for the job opposite Slay. 

How he would fit: Presumably, Henderson would be penciled in as CB2. I only say presumably because who knows what kind of offseason program the Eagles will have, if much of any. From a scheme standpoint, Henderson makes a lot of sense. His skill set is perhaps best suited for man coverage, with the make-up speed to run with just about anybody. And with Slay on the other side, the Eagles can afford to shade some help his way while he learns the ropes or if he's prone to double moves. 

 

Thinking bigger picture, the selection of Henderson would serve as acknowledgment that Jones — a former second-round pick — isn't going to pan out here, and that Maddox is viewed primarily as a nickel or reserve corner. 

Eagles' history at CB in draft: For as much as the Eagles value the position, they surprisingly haven't gone corner in Round 1 since Lito Sheppard in 2002. That worked out reasonably well. 

More recent efforts have not panned out as well. The team blanketed the position with picks in 2017 and '18 — Jones in the second, Rasul Douglas (currently on the trade block) in the third and Maddox in the fourth. Jalen Mills was also chosen in the seventh in '16, and he fared better than the lot until his expected move to safety. 

Since Sheppard and Sheldon Brown in '02, the only other cornerbacks the Eagles have taken in Rounds 1-3 are Eric Rowe (second, 2015) and Curtis Marsh (third, 2011). 

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