C.J. Henderson - Carolina Panthers CB3
After firmly entering 'draft bust' territory and having his fifth-year option declined, things weren't looking great for C.J. Henderson coming into training camp. However, the Carolina Panthers were willing to give him a legitimate chance of proving people wrong after failing to address their cornerback reinforcements with any urgency whatsoever during free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft.
This vote of confidence coupled with being taught by improved coaches seems to having the desired effect where Henderson is concerned. The added urgency in a contract year also helps, but an outstanding camp from the former first-round selection so far has him firmly cemented as the No. 3 cornerback option behind Jaycee Horn and Donte Jackson.
That might seem like a minimum requirement for someone that came into the league with shutdown capabilities. But the way things have unfolded for Henderson over the last three years, it's a best-case scenario beyond a shadow of a doubt.
While this represents a definite positive entering a crossroads campaign, fans have been fooled by Henderson before. Flattering to deceive has been the player's Modus Operandi throughout a colorful career, so watching for an increase in consistency when the real action arrives will be a more telling indication of the defensive back's growth under expert minds such as Ejiro Evero and DeAngelo Hall.
Henderson's situation remains precarious. But things could finally be looking up at long last.