Draft call never comes for Henderson, others

April 28, 2008|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun reporter

Of all the precipitous falls in the NFL draft, perhaps none was more stunning than the one Maryland linebacker Erin Henderson took this weekend.

Projected by at least two prominent national experts as a fourth-round pick, Henderson (Aberdeen) was not selected during the two-day, seven-round draft. However, Henderson agreed to terms last night on a free-agent contract with the Minnesota Vikings, joining his brother, E.J. Henderson, a starting middle linebacker.

Mike Mayock, draft analyst for NFL Network, said he had given Henderson a fourth-round grade. In an on-air discussion as Henderson tumbled through the second day, Mayock suggested that Henderson got "blown up at the point of attack" because he wasn't big enough and had a history of knee injuries.

Contacted at his Aberdeen home last night before he had reached a deal with Minnesota, Henderson acknowledged injuries had hampered his stock, but still, he was at a loss to explain his fall.

"I'm a terrible football player, that's all I can think of," he said in frustration.

If not for Dre Moore, it would have been a lost weekend for local college players. Moore, a defensive tackle from Maryland, went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fourth round. The Bucs traded up five picks to get the 6-foot-4, 305-pound Charlotte, N.C., native, who played football one year in high school.

Other local players who weren't drafted included tight end Joey Haynos, guard Andrew Crummey and running back Keon Lattimore, all from Maryland. Running back-kick returner Chad Simpson, who played two seasons at Morgan State and was invited to the NFL scouting combine in February, also went undrafted.

All those players are expected to sign free-agent contracts this week and participate in minicamps shortly.

For Henderson, it was a rude awakening. He was a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference linebacker this season, leading the conference in tackles with 133. He missed one season to a knee injury and, after earning his degree in December, decided to forgo his senior year of eligibility.

His brother was an All-America linebacker at Maryland and a second-round pick in the NFL. Erin Henderson wasn't the only one surprised as the turn of events.

Eric DeCosta, the Ravens' director of college scouting, said: "I thought he was a draftable prospect. We thought he had potential to be a really good player in the league."ken.murray@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Jamison Hensley contributed to this article.

Dre Moore

Position: Defensive tackle

Chosen: Fourth round, 115 overall, by Tampa Bay

College: Maryland

Size: 6 feet 4, 305 pounds

2007 statistics: Had 63 tackles, 8 1/2 for loss, and six sacks.

Strengths: Size and strength. He's huge, and he apparently can lift a small city.

Weaknesses: His production doesn't match his great size and strength. Still learning some aspects of playing defensive tackle.

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