Ever since he was a senior in high school, new Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson was in the national spotlight. He was a five-star recruit that went to one of the most prestigious football schools going at the time, USC, and was expected to match his larger than life stature with an equal amount of on-field abilities.
Except, it never happened. Sanctions against USC allowed Henderson to transfer and he elected to go to Miami (FL) to presumably be a stalwart along the line for years to come. Trouble off the field mixed with average on-field results turned him from one of the top names in college football to just a mediocre NFL Draft prospect.
In the opinion of Sports Illustrated's Greg Bedard, he believes Henderson didn't even deserve the seventh-round selection used on him by the Bills.
"I don’t care if he was a seventh-round pick. And I don’t care that if you drew a picture of a franchise left tackle, this 6-7, 331-pound athlete with sweet feet would be it. Henderson has been nothing but trouble since being one of the top high school recruits in the country. Multiple failed drug tests during college at Miami and then, again, reportedly during the scouting combine. Henderson couldn’t even finish his pro day workout. And on the field, he’s not even good. Henderson didn’t come close to earning the privilege of hearing his name called during the draft. He should have been undrafted. That’s what he earned." - Greg Bedard, MMQB.com
Henderson has elite size and pieces of his game to work with. Bills GM Doug Whaley was quick to point out to the troubled tackle that he's got only one shot, and he isn't the first to receive that warning from the team and their coaches.
Wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers, who had a lot more success at the collegiate level than Henderson ever did, went undrafted in 2013 based on all his off-field troubles. The Bills and Rogers struck an undrafted free agent agreement, with the knowledge that this was a "one shot" deal, much like what Henderson is getting. Rogers and the coaching staff never meshed, and he was one of the first cuts of training camp.
The current staff of the Bills have proved that they're willing to give chances in training camp. However, anything past that has to be earned. It's going to be tough for Henderson to make the roster as is, but he has to show the coaches that he can be trusted enough through training camp. That way, if a roster spot does open up or they'd like to extend him a practice squad invite, he won't have squandered his chances.
Bedard's strong words, who is very well connected mind you, is a strong indication of how Henderson was thought of around the league. However, with his frame, Buffalo looked at him as a small risk, big reward style of draft pick.
Will it work out? We'll find out soon.