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Jaguars select C.J. Henderson with the 9th overall pick

The Jaguars use a first round pick on a Florida Gator for the second time in three seasons.
Credit: AP
Florida defensive back CJ Henderson (1) rushes the line of scrimmage during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Miami Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

There was a consensus heading into the 2020 NFL Draft that the top two defensive backs in this class were Jeff Okudah out of Ohio State, and CJ Henderson out of Florida. The Jaguars have secured the junior DB who calls South Florida home but played his college ball in Gainesville.

Henderson in his senior year was a first-team All-SEC selection leading his squad with 11 pass breakups. CJ also totaled 33 tackles, three for loss.

As expected, CJ shined at the combine. He ran a 4.39 second forty yard dash, pairing that with 20 reps on the bench press and a 37.5 inch vertical jump. His recovery speed is what makes him a top prospect in this draft and one many NFL teams would have loved to add to their roster.

Now, he says he's ready to bring those talents to the league.

“I’m very smart and very athletic, and I plan to use that to work on and in the film room," Henderson told the media Thursday night. "I plan to use both of those added onto my athleticism and I plan to dominate.”

The Miami-native is excited to do it just up I-95 from his home, too.

“You know I feel the most comfortable with staying in Florida, that’s huge. Being able to stay close to my family and my own former college. I feel like I bring a lot to Jacksonville. … I feel like I can take out opponents and number one receivers and I plan to do that here.”

His college coach, Dan Mullen, surprised Henderson when he joined the teleconference. The Florida Gators head coach had nothing but praise for Henderson, saying he believes Henderson will be the best pick the Jaguars "have made in a long, long time."

Any downside to drafting CJ Henderson? He only played 9 games in 2019 due to an ankle injury. It has not proven to be recurring just yet but it is something to keep an eye on down the line.