SI.com 2003 NFL Draft 2003 NFL Draft


Grading System
E.J. HENDERSON
E.J. Henderson - ILB Position: ILB
Class: Sr
School: Maryland
Conference: ACC
Ht., Wt.: 6'1, 245
40 Time: 4.83
Grade: 4.13

Selected by Minnesota Vikings
Round 2, pick 8 (40 overall)
BIO: Three-year starter and multiple award winner throughout college. Named first team All-Conference, All-American, captured the Dick Butkus Award and recipient of the Chuck Bednarik Trophy as a senior. Finished the season with a team leading 175 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, while intercepting two passes and breaking up four more. ACC Player of the Year as a junior posting 150-28-6-1-4. Broke into the starting lineup as a sophomore and led the team in tackles registering 109-13-.5. Originally considered entering the 2002 draft but back surgery in April of that season halted consideration. Recently ran a 4.66 during private workouts.

POSITIVES: Forceful, run defending linebacker best making plays in the box. Heady, quickly reads the action and plays discipline football, staying with assignments. Forceful up the field, defeats blocks on his way to the ball carrier and takes opponents out of the action. Explosive filling the gaps then squares into tackles wrapping up. Scrapes well laterally, adequate skills covering the pass in zone and always working hard. Effective on special teams.

NEGATIVES: Stiff, lacks body control and a quick change of direction. Does not show a burst of speed or lateral speed. Limited skill in pass defense.

ANALYSIS: Marginal speed and range pose a problem and limits the number of defensive schemes he'll fit. Best on the inside in a 3-4 alignment or as a two down defender in a 43 defense. Productive at the next level if used properly, otherwise will struggle.

PROJECTION: Mid First Round


Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

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