Growing up in Minnesota, Seantrel Henderson was a pretty big deal – literally. Henderson was well over 300 pounds in the four years he played high school ball at Cretin-Derham Hall high school in St. Paul. He was a perennial all-state performer at offensive tackle and was a mainstay in the top five for his recruiting class, some even touting him number one overall.
In high school, he kept his record clean, but after committing to play ball at Miami, things took a turn for the worse for Henderson.
At Miami, he was suspended three different times for marijuana use and failed a drug test at the NFL Combine. With his combine sullied, his draft stock plummeted. Once considered a first round pick, he was not even selected until the third day in this year’s draft.
To make matters worse, he did not event finish his pro day, citing that he was overheated.
So Henderson, now out of shape and with drug issues, found his future in the NFL jeopardized.
Nonetheless, late in the seventh round with their final pick (No. 237) the Buffalo Bills took a chance on Henderson. In the second round, Buffalo took Cyrus Kouandjio, another talented and highly touted offensive tackle out of Alabama. Many thought Kouandjio would be a first round pick and the Bills are likely hitching their wagon to him more so than Henderson.
With that said, it’ll be interesting to see if Henderson sticks around. The Bills definitely have a void at tackle to fill to block for a talented trio of Bryce Brown, Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller and landing what was formerly the top high school recruit in the nation in the seventh round is a steal.
If he cannot mature in Buffalo, the Bills have other options. If he can settle down and harness his talents, the Bills may have landed one of the steals of the draft.
Also, for Henderson to land in Buffalo, a virtual opposite of Miami, is a good thing. In Minnesota, he was able to keep his nose clean and in a similar environment like Buffalo, Henderson should have less distractions than in a place like Dallas or New York. He admitted that living in a new state without his family was tough in college, but he feels like he has matured.
“In college, I had a lot of maturing to do, just as far as me as a person. I was coming from Minnesota, going down to Miami. Whole different state. By myself. I don’t have my parents anymore,” Henderson said in an article on ESPN. “I believed I could pretty much do anything I really want to do, as far as being a kid and being a young adult at the time. So I had a lot of growing up to do. I had to teach myself a lot, just from my parents not being there. It was a big learning experience for me.”
It will be a big learning experience for the Bills and the NFL, also. If he can just avoid the off field issues, I believe he can be a Pro Bowl caliber player. At 6-foot-7 and 331 pounds, he is a force both in pass protection and in the run game. Now being drafted, he has the chance to prove that on the highest level and vindicate the Bills taking a chance.