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PFF scouting report: Carlos Henderson, WR, Louisiana Tech

LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 17: Wide receiver Carlos Henderson #1 of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs runs to the end zone during the game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on September 17, 2016 at AT&T Jones Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech won the game 59-45. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)

Name: Carlos Henderson

School: Louisiana Tech

Position fit: Versatile WR

Stats to know: Forced 48 missed tackles last season, almost twice as many as the next best receiver (26 MT’s forced).

What he does best:

  • Explosive player. Can turn even the simplest screen pass into a big play. Is the best after-the-catch receiver in the entire draft class, has phenomenal field vision and knows when and where to cut to make guys miss.
  • Quick feet, both with routes and with ball in hands. Can juke defenders out of their shoes.
  • Good deep speed, can get past guys on go routes and has the speed to pull away from them after catching the ball.
  • Strong hands, not afraid to make catch over the middle even when he knows he’s going to take a hit.
  • Good acceleration, wastes no time in exploding off the line and getting up to full speed. Can stop to make a catch and power up to speed in just a couple of steps.
  • Shows quick footwork off the line to set up routes.
  • Excellent kick-return ability; averaged over 32 yards per return last season and scored two touchdowns.

Biggest concern:

  • Very limited route tree with wide open scheme. Mostly ran either quick screen plays to get the ball into his hands, go routes or hitches with defenders way off him.
  • Bigger, stronger defenders were able to body him off his routes and away from catch points.
  • Small catch radius and struggles on contested catches.
  • Let ball come to him more frequently than he should have, resulting in some drops or plays where a defender could make a play on the ball when he shouldn’t have been able to.
  • Rarely faced press coverage. At times he showed the ability to beat it with his footwork off the line, but saw it so infrequently it’s impossible to judge how he’ll do against press consistently.
  • Level of competition questions, a lot of times he was simply the best athlete on the field by a wide margin. May not be the case at the next level.

Player comparison: Tavon Austin, Los Angeles Rams

While Henderson is bigger than Austin, they are similar as players who are best with the ball in their hands while lacking polish as pure receivers. Henderson can do damage if given the ball on designed touches, and like Austin, he’s limited as an outside receiving threat due to his small catch radius is ineffectiveness in contested situations.

Bottom line: Henderson is another very interesting prospect, simply due to coming from a smaller school in Louisiana Tech. But make no mistake, Henderson has tools that NFL teams will covet. His limited route-running and inexperience with press coverage will likely see him take on a smaller role at receiver early on. But his after-the-catch ability was so impressive that whichever team drafts him should really try to get him touches whenever they can, and hope he can develop into a solid starting receiver down the road. He should also be an impact kick returner right out of the gate.

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