Why Seantrel Henderson Never Became A Top-Tier Tackle Prospect
By Bill Lund
Seantrel Henderson was the nation's top-rated recruit when he came out of Cretin-Durham Hall in St. Paul, MN in 2010. He was a five-star phenom, chased by every FBS school in the county for both football and basketball.
Greg Robinson was a four-star standout from Thibodaux, LA in 2011, who had played on the offensive line for the first time his junior year of high school.
A lot has transpired in since that time. Robinson is now the top tackle prospect for the 2014 Draft. Henderson still flashes his talent but he has not become the star many expected.
Comparing the prospects shows where Henderson has failed to develop the way Robinson has. But a head-to-head comparison also suggests that perhaps there is evidence that some NFL club just might get a steal in the middle of the draft.
Seantrel Henderson, Miami
Henderson measured a massive 6-foot-7, 331 pounds, and ran an impressive 5.04 at the Combine. His arm length measured out at 34 5/8 inches and is one of his best weapons. Such a combination of size, length and movement ability generally garners more notoriety, but Henderson’s career has been marred by injury and off-field issues.
Henderson moves his feet well at times and his kick slide looks to be quick, but it can be inconsistent. He plays flat-footed at times and does not re-direct against counter moves well. When he is in position, Henderson can match up against any rusher. Henderson’s massive size can be a detriment for him when trying to play with leverage. He does not bend at the knees well and works instead from the waist, compounding his ability to play with any sort of pad level. Pass rushers who are good at transitioning from a speed to a power rush can get under Henderson and give him problems, issues evident against Virginia Tech this past year.
In the run game, Henderson is a road grater. His length and power create large holes for the Miami running backs. Henderson shows flashes of his athletic ability when he gets in the open field running down second level defenders or sealing an edge. He is impressive in the screen game with how quickly he can get downfield. It’s frustrating to watch him move in these instances, seeing these flashes, but his inconsistent play and lack of discipline in his technique undo much of his capacity to dominate a game.
Greg Robinson, Auburn
Robinson, on the other hand, stole the Combine with his combination of size, speed, power and fluidity with which he performed his drills. At one point in his kick slide drill, Robinson seemed to slow down and wait for the rabbit rusher because he was so far in front of him. Robinson measured out at 6-5, 332 with a 35 inch reach, clocked a 4.92 forty yard dash and also showed great lower body explosion with a 28.5 inch vertical (compared to 24 inches for Henderson).
What stands out for Robinson is his footwork and ease with which he moves. Robinson dominated in the talent-rich SEC. During the SEC title game, Robinson matched up well against both Missouri ends: Kony Ealy, potential first-round prospect, and Michael Sam, the SEC Defensive Player of the year. Robinson has a quick and explosive kick, plays with good bend in his knees consistently throughout the game. He also can re-direct and change direction against counter moves, staying in front of rushers. The body position Robinson plays with allows him to match up equally well against speed or power rushers.
In the run game, his power and movement skill make him equally skilled in moving a pile or getting to his block in the open field. Robinson not only played well in the best conference in the nation, he backed up his ability with a dominant showing at the Combine.
The Bottom Line
Robinson is far and away the best in the draft, while Henderson is essentially a poor man’s Robinson. He does things almost as well, flashes his talent, but in the end, Henderson has not been as consistent in his overall play. Henderson may be better-suited to play right tackle because of his inconsistencies. His under-performance thus far could be related to his off-the-field issues and his admitted use of marijuana often during his time at Miami. Regardless, his athletic ability is there, his talent is there; unlike Robinson, he has not played to his potential. Should Henderson address his maturity issues and work ethic questions, he has the skill set to become a very good bookend tackle in the NFL and a steal for an NFL club willing to roll the dice.