Willie Henry, DT
School: Michigan | Conference: BIG-10
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6-3 / 303 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 2nd or 3rd Round
NFL Comparison: Shariff Floyd
Willie Henry is an intriguing mid-round defensive lineman. He's powerful and heavy-handed and caused a lot of damage to opposing offenses playing from the DT and DE positions while he was at Michigan. He's improved every year at there and has tremendous upside if he can continue to develop and improve his football IQ and technique. Henry has good pass rushing ability he can abuse opposing lineman and get after the QB. After watching him a bit he is prone to mentally check out in some instances. For example, he had five offsides penalties this season, during the Michigan State game he dived on top of the pile for an unnecessary roughness penalty. During the Penn State game, he worked Christian Hackenburg (which is good) but he was a half to full step late with some of his hits, that's going to be roughing the passer in the NFL. Henry is a good guy and player but it's concerning that he makes so many boneheaded plays. He will have to be coached up and learn to play smarter and walk the tightrope between being a nasty, tough, and aggressive pass-rusher that makes plays and being the player that makes fans and coaches pull their hair out because of penalties.
- Plays aggressive, violent, and with a good motor in pursuit.
- Strong, has an effective bull rush and can smack down the hands of offensive lineman to get home.
- Athletic player and versatile, he played the 3-tech and 5-tech at Michigan.
- Can "get skinny" splitting the offensive linemen and I think would excel in a 1-gap scheme.
- Has great closing speed in pursuit and finishing ability.
- Mental lapses with unnecessary penalties.
- Plays too high and loses leverage, really needs to refine technique, pad level, and balance.
- Relies too much on his strength, and again, needs to improve and develop pass rushing technique and repertoire. A good offensive lineman in the NFL should be able to counter him and stall his rush.
Let's see his work:
Sooooo Willie Henry https://t.co/JOF5w1OycQ— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) March 3, 2016
Willie Henry got better every week. Still lots of wasted motion and loss of gap integrity but arrow is up https://t.co/gfrVfnyAtH— Jeff Risdon (@JeffRisdon) February 29, 2016
My guy, Michigan DT Willie Henry with a 5.01/1.75 at 303 pounds. Stout player on tape. Emerging talent.— Joe Marino (@TheJoeMarino) February 28, 2016
Mel Kiper Jr. said Michigan DT Willie Henry is being overlooked a bit because of the depth of talent at the position this year.— Josh Katzenstein (@jkatzenstein) February 22, 2016
Michigan's Willie Henry is an underrated guy. Best fit is as a rotational DT in a 1 Gap penetrating scheme. pic.twitter.com/cVzOD6n7D2— Ethan Young (@NFLDrafter) February 15, 2016
How He Would Fit on the Redskins
Willie Henry could come in and be a part of the DE rotation immediately. He has ideal size for that position in a 3-4. I compared him to Shariff FLoys because of his pass rushing ability couples with disappointing mental breaks (minus the off-field issues) but Henry's violence and aggressiveness also remind me of our Chris "Swaggy" Baker. I don't see Henry as an immediate starter because he needs to fix his technique and temper himself sometimes but I do see him as being a valuable part of the pass rush and quality DL depth. If Jason Hatcher retires is would be nice to have someone who can rush the passer play behind Stephen Paea for a while they learn the ropes. Henry requires some work but the raw talent is there for him to be a consistent playmaker. If Henry can fix his technique issues and play with a higher level of awareness he could work his way into a starting role after his rookie season.