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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Judgment weekend

    Former UA running back Chris Henry turns upfield in Arizonas 28-14 loss to ASU on Nov. 25 at Arizona Stadium. Henry, who bypassed his final season at Arizona, is projected to go on the first day of the NFL draft tomorrow.
    Former UA running back Chris Henry turns upfield in Arizona’s 28-14 loss to ASU on Nov. 25 at Arizona Stadium. Henry, who bypassed his final season at Arizona, is projected to go on the first day of the NFL draft tomorrow.

    In what has been a whirlwind of a spring for Chris Henry, a new chapter of his life will likely start tomorrow when an NFL team will call his name to be their new running back on draft day.

    Henry went from an virtual unknown to what his agent called “”the prettiest girl at the dance”” after he stunned the NFL combine by running a 4.4 40-yard dash, the best time for a prospective running back.

    And the national attention has not cooled a bit. He visited with 11 NFL teams since the combine, working out for a few of them in March.

    “”He’s doing great. He’s in Stockton, just waiting to be drafted,”” said Josh Luchs, his agent. “”Certainly with the way his postseason has gone, he’s put himself in position to go in the middle of the first day.””

    The team that has shown the most interest is the New England Patriots, with whom he met three times.

    The Patriots are a highly possible target for Henry, since the Patriots employ a dual-back system, something several teams, including the Indianapolis Colts, have become enamored with.

    Especially now that Corey Dillon has retired, Patriots personnel may seek a tailback like Henry, who’s build, running style and even hairstyle is a lot like New England’s No. 1 back Laurence Maroney.

    “”There is definitely a buzz in New England,”” Henry said in his blog on Yardbarker.com. “”That visit was a little more personal … I’m sure playing in that stadium is amazing. It’s so big and with those fans going crazy, the players must love it. I know I would.””

    The scouts’ consensus is they like Henry’s physicality and overall strength. In addition to his 40-time, Henry did 26 reps of 225-pound benches and also measured a 10’7″” broad jump.

    What worries some scouts is his lack of experience and consistency, getting only six starts, rushing for 892 yards last season.

    “”He’s got a lot of natural ability, but because he’s been so inconsistent at Arizona, he’s scaring the heck out of me,”” said Rob Rang, Senior Analyst of NFLDraftScout.com.

    “”He’s one of those guys that will probably get a scout either converted or fired … There are some games you watch him and you think ‘This guy’s going to be a Pro Bowler’ and other times you’re watching and you think ‘This guy’s not going to even make an NFL team.’ “”

    Henry has been all over the mock draft boards. Rang said this year is a very weak running back class, and Henry could very well go earlier than where he originally projected him, No. 97 overall to the San Francisco 49ers.

    SUBHED: Other UA draft prospects

    Michael Johnson

    Former strong safety Michael Johnson is projected to go about the same spot as Henry in several projections. Johnson spent the last two seasons at Arizona after transferring from a junior college in Texas.

    Last year, Johnson battled several leg and hamstring injuries, but still was fifth on the team in tackles with 47, and had one interception, four pass breakups and a fumble recovery.

    “”He’s got that ability to come up against you,”” Rang said. “”He also has coverage. He’s one of the better, more versatile safeties of this class.

    “”The concern with scouts is with the Stoops defense, it has a tendency to make players look a little better than they actually are. It’s a little bit of a scheme thing.””

    Rang said despite the mirage, Johnson is a lock to be drafted in the third round, and ranks him as the fourth best strong safety available, ninth overall.

    Nick Folk

    Kicker Nick Folk made a name for himself last year when he kicked a 62-yard field goal in the annual spring game. And the scouts didn’t forget that name.

    Folk said since Wednesday, eight teams had contacted him about the possibility of drafting him, wanting to know personal information, and if he would be able to join a mini-camp immediately after getting drafted.

    The Falcons, Titans, Giants, Redskins, Cowboys, Cardinals, Packers and Browns all have called Folk since Wednesday.

    “”I’m going to get drafted,”” Folk said. “”There’s a bunch of teams that are interested. For now I just have to wait in the wings and see what happens Saturday or Sunday.””

    Syndric Steptoe

    Another former UA football player expecting to be drafted is wide receiver and kick returner Syndric Steptoe, who is likely to be either be selected as a second-day pick or go as an unsigned free agent.

    Steptoe said he visited with the Indianapolis Colts and Minnesota Vikings within the last week.

    “”Right now I’m just hoping and waiting to hear my name called,”” Steptoe said. “”I’m just happy with my situation.””

    Steptoe participated at the NFL combine, but due to a tight hamstring, he wasn’t able to run at full speed in the 40-yard-dash. Nevertheless, he ran a 4.5.

    Marcus Smith

    Defensive lineman Marcus Smith has good size at 6-foot-5 280 pounds. He played in all 12 games this season but was not a full-time starter. He is unlikely to be drafted but may find his way onto a squad as a free agent.

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