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2017 New Orleans Saints Draft Targets: Carlos Henderson

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After the Brandin Cooks trade, the Saints could use depth at Wide Receiver, and a local product in Louisiana might be their guy.

CUSA Championship - Louisiana Tech v Western Kentucky Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

We’re continuing our series that will focus on some prospective targets that could be on the New Orleans Saints draft board at the end of the month. The potential targets could be found anywhere in the draft, and there’s no set order in which they will come out. The focus is to bring attention to where they can help the Saints most heading into 2017. Some will make more sense than others.

Do you really expect Sean Payton not to add to his offseason in this draft? I didn’t think so. Today’s focus is on Louisiana Tech’s Carlos Henderson, a very popular name mocked to the Saints anywhere from the second to the end of the third rounds in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Measurables & Combine Results

  • Height: 5-foot-11
  • Weight: 199 pounds
  • Hands: 9 1/8”
  • Arms: 31 3/8”
  • 40-Yard Dash: 4.46 seconds
  • Bench Press: 13 reps
  • Vertical: 36.0”
  • Broad Jump: 131.0”
  • 3-Cone Drill: 7.18 seconds
  • 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.35 seconds

Pro Comparisons: Emmanuel Sanders (Broncos), Tavon Austin (Rams), Quinton Patton (Jets),

Louisiana Tech v Texas Tech Photo by John Weast/Getty Images

How He Could Help the Saints

After the trade of WR Brandin Cooks to the New England Patriots, there was a void in the New Orleans wide receiving corps. The Saints partially addressed that with the signing of former Carolina Panthers WR Ted Ginn Jr., but Ginn should be viewed primarily as a Special Teams return specialist and one-dimensional deep threat when used in formation. He simply does not have the profile to absorb all of the routes formerly run by Brandin Cooks in the Saints offense.

Enter Carlos Henderson. Admittedly, Henderson doesn’t have much experience running complicated routes in the Louisiana Tech offense and rarely lined up against press coverage from opposing defenses. However, Henderson has the potential to bring to the Saints offense everything Ginn could on Special Teams (Henderson was an exceptional return man in college) and on deep balls where he can turn on his jets (but with better hands), but he also could grow in a Saints offense that can gradually put more complicated routes on his plate.

In a Drew Brees-led offense, Carlos Henderson could be everything and more that our last speedy WR with the surname “Henderson” brought to the team. Just look at these highlights:

Outlook

You know that Sean Payton will find a way to add a shiny new toy to his offense in the 2017 NFL Draft. It might be at Running Back, it might be at Tight End, or after the Brandon Cooks trade, it might be at Wide Receiver.

Henderson has limited experience, bursting onto the college scene in one year before declaring for the NFL Draft. He lacks elite size, strength and/or speed to compete against top-tier Cornerbacks, but is an explosive player who Pro Football Focus calls “the best after-the-catch receiver in the entire draft class.” While Brandin Cooks was consistently lauded for his after-the-catch ability, he was never able to find much success in-game. Henderson’s praise for YAC is not merely lip-service, though.