Cover 1 Spotlight | NT Roderick Henderson Alabama State


The NFL is the ultimate dream for many thousands of football players across the country, but only a small percentage of dreamers make it to the top. Most of the talent in the NFL comes from big programs in power conferences, so players from smaller schools who are not on national television every week don’t get much exposure, relatively speaking. These players, these dreamers, have to grind to get their names out there. From time to time, Cover 1 receives film from those players. Much like many of the other prospects in the draft, we want to break down these players’ film. With that being said, let’s examine nose tackle Roderick Henderson in today’s Cover 1 Spotlight.


Height: 6’1″

Weight: 339

School: Alabama State

Position: Nose Tackle

Best traits: Short area quickness, power, pad level, ability to leverage gap and ball carrier

Under the Spotlight Questionnaire


If you could play a position on the other side of the ball, what would it be and why?

“If I had to play on the other side of the ball it will be fullback because if you give me the ball i will work magic.”

Who is the best player you have faced in college and why?

“I will say Willie Quinn because he was so small and fast.”

What skills that you possess will transition to the next level?

“All of my skills will transition to the next level.”

What skill have you improved on the most since you entered college and how did you improve that skill?

“My pad level skills, and I improved on that by doing the chutes everyday after practice.”

Are you willing to play in other leagues besides the NFL?

“I’m willing to play wherever, but my calling is the NFL.”

Nose tackle Roderick Henderson is a confident guy. The self proclaimed ‘best nose tackle in the draft’ really is a beast. Hailing from Montgomery, Alabama, this red shirt senior put together a solid final season. In 2016, Henderson finished with 35 total tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, one sack, and six QB hurries. That type of production from a player with Henderson’s size is eye popping.

Well, it seems his film and workouts so far this draft season have caught the eyes of NFL teams.


Those are some very good numbers, and when you turn on the film you see them come to life.

Whether it’s versus the run or the pass, his number one strength is his quickness. On this play, Henderson is at his normal 0 tech position.


Henderson fires out of his stance and engages the combo block. He is so quick off the snap that he immediately has it split, but what makes him even more dangerous is that he has tremendous pad level. Look at him compared to all of the other defenders and offensive linemen.


He disengages the center with his strength and finds the ball. Now he gets to flash some of his other plus traits. With his eyes on the ballcarrier, he senses the cutback. Henderson lowers his center of gravity, uses the guard’s momentum and drive to support his spin back into the B gap, where he then is able to wrap up the running back.


That is a great display of athletic ability, quickness, leverage, mental processing, and sheer determination to make a play.



He is a defender that can be moved along the defensive line; he has that type of athleticism. On this play, he is a 3 tech on the outside shoulder of the guard.


Instead of doubling him, the offensive lineman tries to use angles to win. On the snap, the tackle blocks down, trying to gain leverage of the C gap. That is shot down quickly by Henderson’s strength. He immediately gets under the lineman’s pads and lifts him.


The back takes the hand-off and presses the line of scrimmage, aiming for the C gap. Henderson’s sheer strength allowed the inside backer to flow tighter to the gap because of how deep he drove the tackle back.



So the back hesitates and runs into the mess that Henderson created, and the play is blown up.


Henderson acquired the nickname ‘the ghost’ from a coach when he was younger. The coach told Roderick that he used to get in the backfield so fast that it was like he was a ‘ghost.’

Henderson is aligned as the nose tackle on the following play. Watch his explosiveness off the snap, the lateral agility to jump two gaps with low pad level, the strength to lift the guard, and the acceleration to blow by the running back for the sack. He certainly was a force to be reckoned with at Alabama State.


Keep in mind that this was when Henderson weighed over 350 pounds. Now, with 35 less pounds on his frame his quickness should be even better.



The guy has highlight after highlight of him being disruptive from the nose tackle position. No wonder he compares himself to Vince Wilfork. He has that combination of quickness and power. On this pass play, the center and left guard are tasked with blocking Henderson.


On the snap, the linemen do a good job of getting all four hands on Henderson. Roderick uses his strength and low center of gravity to throw both defenders to the turf, then gets his eyes on the QB, forcing the pressure.


The kid has a unique combination of traits will be of use to teams at the next level.


Roderick sent me his film back in February with one line:

“Check me out, I’m the best nose tackle in this year draft.”

That says a lot about the confidence has has in his game, but that confidence and swagger seem to be warranted. After turning on the film, I was blown away by his short area quickness, his ability to leverage gaps, and his penchant for defeating double teams with both power and quickness, all while leveraging the ball in run and pass situations. Is he a finished product? Absolutely not. But he has the drive, the ambition, and the commitment to make his dreams comes true at the next level.

Follow Roderick Henderson on Twitter here.

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