Raiders: C.J. Henderson is a very real possibility in Round 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft

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The Las Vegas Raiders have been connected to Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson in the 2020 NFL Draft and there’s a real possibility that they draft him.

The Las Vegas Raiders should have plenty of options when they’re officially on the clock for the first time at pick No. 12 in the 2020 NFL Draft. And Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson could very possibly be the player that they pick.

The general consensus at the moment seems to be that the Raiders will select one of the top wide receivers in this year’s class with their first of two first-round picks. And why wouldn’t it be?

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In one of the greatest wide receiver classes in a long time, the Raiders might have the opportunity to select the first one taken.

Whether that’s polished Alabama receiver Jerry Jeudy, physically dominant Oklahoma wideout CeeDee Lamb, or speedy Alabama pass-catcher Henry Ruggs III is anyone’s guess. But there’s a very good chance that all three are on the board at pick No. 12.

Knowing that, how could the Raiders pass on their pick of the litter? It’s simple, really, even if it’s not a strategy many fans will agree with.

Given the extraordinary depth in this year’s class, the Raiders might feel content waiting until later — perhaps just seven picks later — to select a wide receiver. They may see value at a different position at No. 12.

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In this case, they may see value at cornerback.

The surefire top cornerback in the 2020 NFL Draft is Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah. Unfortunately for Vegas, Okudah possesses a top-notch skill set and could be drafted as high as No. 3 by the Detroit Lions.

Any hopes of him falling all the way to 12 are a pipedream and it seems that the only way the Raiders could feasibly land him would be in a trade up. That seems highly unlikely at this point in time.

However, they could find value in the consensus No. 2 cornerback in the class — Florida’s C.J. Henderson.

Henderson is a player who has been connected to the Raiders more and more as the weeks have gone on with some projecting the team to target him with their second first-round pick at No. 19, while others have even gone as far as to suggest the team could take him at 12.

The two-year starter at Florida has the length and athleticism needed to be a No. 1 cornerback in the NFL. And his skill set is a perfect fit for Paul Guenther’s defense.

Henderson excels in man coverage and has the ball skills needed to be a turnover machine in the pros. On top of that, his football instincts allow him to be more than competent in zone coverage even if he is prone to the occasional mental lapse.

The biggest downside? His tackling.

Henderson often shies away from contact and has even shown an unwillingness to tackle in run support. We’ve seen cornerbacks in the past overcome this in the NFL — most recently Greedy Williams — but that’s surely something that will be a major concern of Mike Mayock and company.

Still, there’s no doubt that Henderson’s man coverage skills would make him a perfect fit alongside Trayvon Mullen in Guenther’s man-heavy scheme. Throw in Lamarcus Joyner as the nickel (the Raiders like him there) and Eli Apple as the dime and you have a pretty solid group of corners.

Henderson may not be everyone’s preferred target at No. 12, but there is a slew of cornerback-needy teams between the 12th and 19th picks. And given the drop-off in talent level from Henderson to the next cornerback, the Raiders might not want to risk it.

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It’s a simple equation of value and that could leave Henderson as the target of choice at No. 12.