I can honestly say I didn’t see this coming. I thought for sure this would have been Jordan Whitehead or Brian O’Neil.
Both of which I believe will follow Quadree Henderson’s footsteps very shortly.
Is Henderson ready for the NFL? If you ask me, I would say not yet.
Let’s not take any credit away from him. Pitt doesn’t win a lot of games without Henderson — a lot of games. He is simply a game changer. He can totally change the outcome of a game in the blink of an eye literally.
But does his talent transition to the NFL?
Are NFL teams going to draft someone who is strictly a special teams threat or a jet sweep kind of guy?
Well, the Dallas Cowboys drafted Ryan Switzer. Switzer can return a kickoff or punt like it’s nobody’s business. But I think Switzer was more developed than Henderson when looking at it from an NFL wide receiver standpoint.
So if Henderson gets drafted, what’s to say he never gets any chances to return, simply because the opposing team doesn’t kick to him? You see it on Sundays. Touchback after touchback after touchback.
To date, there have been three, count them, three NFL kickoff returns this year — two of which were 103 yards.
OK, well, what about punt returns? Punters never kick it out bounds.
Well sometimes they do, but yeah you’re right, it’s not often.
To date, there have been nine punt returns. One of them being Switzer, which was fantastic on his part. It brought back some not so fond memories of him being back at North Carolina, running returns down Pitt’s throat.
So that’s 12 returns for touchdowns on the year.
That doesn’t happen too often.
So if he’s not getting opportunities to return, does he make an impact somewhere else?
He’s never wowed anyone by his route running. He’s been a slant across the middle or run as fast as you can and try to get behind the safeties kind of guy.
He didn’t catch scouts eyes by running precise post routes or amazing double moves.
That is what concerns me the most. He’s a helluva athlete, don’t get me wrong. And he was one of the best to ever do it in a Pitt uniform.
So to summarize, I really think Henderson could have built his rep up a lot more next year as compared to this year.
He could have worked his route running skills a lot in the off-season, especially now that Pitt has a decent quarterback sticking around after a year in the system.
That’s another thing. If Pitt didn’t have a soul behind center for next year, I would’ve encouraged Henderson to leave. But Pitt knows the future at the quarterback position, and he — Kenny Pickett — can really help receivers.
I hope Henderson goes to the NFL and makes a tremendous living and does really well. I really do. I would like to thank Quadree Henderson for all the jaw-dropping moments he left during his time as a Panther.
He will be missed severely.
Good luck, Quadree!
Hail to Pitt.