NFL offensive linemen generally have to be able to do more than block out the sun. That kind of size helps, but skill is also needed, as is the necessary mentality to want to block giants for four quarters. It’s rare to find one with all the right check marks, but when one does, he’s selected in the first round.
At the top of this year’s draft are three of what most believe are pro-ready left tackle prospects, players that can be plugged into the lineup almost immediately. After those three, the remaining tackle class is deep with players who can develop into solid starters and plenty of players with upside. Many of these players will be available in the third and fourth rounds and while they’re far from perfect, they’re also very intriguing. Seantrel Henderson is one of those players.
Size-wise, the Miami right tackle has that block-out-the-sun size and then some. At 6-foot-7 and 331 pounds, there’s no question Henderson was built to play right tackle in the NFL. His Combine workout wasn’t too bad either, so there’s little questioning Henderson’s athletic ability. In fact, the time most scouts use to judge a lineman’s explosiveness is the 10-yard split on the 40 and Henderson’s 1.71 was bested by just five players, three of them were Taylor Lewan, Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews.
So why isn’t Henderson getting any first-round talk? Unlike many in his class, he is only a right tackle and spent the majority of his time as a starter at Miami on the right side. That lack of flexibility hurts his stock some. He’s also struggled at times to stay on the field during his three seasons in the ACC. due in part to an injury as well as suspensions for violating team rules. The injuries and suspensions concern some teams.
When Henderson is on, he’s the guy you want at right tackle. His size and the way he’s put together along with his long arms and physicality make him a difficult-to-move force that can provide protection as well as the athleticism to get out into the open field and open lanes in the run game.
The team that drafts Henderson hopes they can provide him with the environment to put it all together. He’s got every skill you want for a lineman, he just has to consistently put it on the field. Drafting Henderson is a classic example of high-risk, high-reward and those type of players typically go in the third and fourth rounds, right where Henderson’s projected. Henderson has reportedly been very open and honest about his past transgressions during this offseason and seems prepared to do what is necessary to carve out an NFL career.
Henderson’s got a lot for a team to work with and if he’s committed to playing football, the team that drafts him is getting a project that may not take long to see the field and could very well turn out to be a pleasant surprise on the right side of their offensive line.