2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Clemson EDGE K.J. Henry

From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we will scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top-10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I’ll be profiling Clemson EDGE K.J. Henry. 

#5 K.J. Henry, EDGE, Clemson (R-Senior) – 6040, 241lb

Senior Bowl/Combine Invite


Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
K.J. Henry 6’4, 241lb 10 33 N/A
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
4.63 1.65 N/A N/A
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press
9’4” 31.5

The Good

— Great height, length, and frame for the position
— Athletic build with good play speed and explosiveness
— Has lined up in a stand-up position as well as with his hand in the dirt
— Shows great pursuit as a pass rusher as well as chasing the run
— Gets off the ball quickly on the snap
— Does a good job countering inside on his pass rush, working across the face of the tackle
— Has shown signs of being able to long-arm blockers and rush with some power
— Will go for the football when attempting to make the sack
— Has been around the ball a fair amount, finding it on the ground
— Gets his hands on the football when he can’t get home on the rush
— Athletic profile allows him to drop into coverage fluidly and cover the flat in zone
— Will be an immediate contributor on special teams
— High-character player who is a leader both on and off the field
— Active in the community and his university

The Bad

— Could use more weight on his frame and functional strength
— Has a thin lower half, making it difficult to set the edge
— Has a lack of balance due to his base, often playing upright without much power
— Will get stonewalled by bigger, stronger OL due to lack of play strength
— Relies too often on countering inside rather than winning around the corner
— Doesn’t have much of a pass rush plan in terms of hand usage
— More disruptive than productive when it comes to being a pass rusher
— Loses often in the rep when he can’t win with speed around the corner or his inside rush
— Needs to be a more consistent tackler getting ballcarriers to the ground
— Will get covered up by TEs in 1-on-1 situations against the run
— Panics when initially covered up on blocks, often neutralizing him the rest of the rep
— Capable of dropping into coverage but not a skilled defender in man coverage situations
— Took five years to become a full-time starter with minimal production
— Dealt with several different injuries during his time in college


— Redshirt Senior from Winston-Salem, N.C.
— Born January 27, 1999 (age 24)
— Former five-star recruit and No. 6 player in the nation by ESPN in 2018 recruiting class; had 24 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, and 14 passes deflected as a senior
— Second-team All-American by USA Today; played in Under Armour All-American Game
— Starred on the hardwood, scoring 1,156 points in 115 career games
— Enrolled early at Clemson to participate in spring ball
— Played 39 snaps in four games while redshirting in 2018 and was credited with nine tackles, two TFLs, and a fumble recovery
— Saw action in 11 games in 2019 (350 snaps) and recorded 23 total tackles (six solo), 4.5 TFLs, two sacks, and three PBUs
— Played 384 snaps over 12 games (six starts) in 2020 and was credited with 29 tackles, six TFLs, 3.5 sacks, two pass breakups, and a fumble recovery
— Played 339 snaps over 13 games (four starts) in 2021 and was credited with 28 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, 4.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery
— Started all 14 games in 2022 and made 59 tackles, nine TFLs, 3.5 sacks, six pass breakups, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and 24 quarterback pressures in 659 defensive snaps
—  Earned degree in sports communication in December 2020 in three years and added a master’s degree in athletic leadership in December 2021
— Three-time ACC Honor Roll selection (2019-21), two-time All-ACC Academic Team (2021-22)
— Second team All-ACC (2022)
— Voted by his teammates as a permanent team captain in 2022

Tape Breakdown

K.J. Henry is yet another former top recruit from powerhouse Clemson who is transitioning from college to the pros. Henry is an interesting prospect. The fifth-year senior’s high pedigree coming out of high school didn’t match the production in Death Valley, as he posted just 13 sacks in five seasons. Watching his tape, you see why he was a five-star recruit and a top-10 overall player in his recruiting class. He has good first-step quickness on the snap of the ball and can win inside on rushes across the OT’s face like you see in the clips below against Florida State and N.C. State.

Henry plays with great effort on his pass rush and can turn the corner into the pocket like we see here against Wake Forest. He gets around the RT by stabbing him with the long arm to start his rush, getting a hand on QB Sam Hartman and getting in on the sack.

When he doesn’t get home on the pass rush, Henry does a good job getting his hands up in passing lanes to try and knock down balls at the LOS. We see an example here against the Wolfpack, getting the PBU after rushing from the box.

Henry has the athletic profile to be a competent zone dropper, often dropping to the flat or to the middle of the field. His size and arm length allows him to squeeze passing lanes just like on this play where he doesn’t get the pass breakup, but he makes his drop and nearly gets his hand on the pass.

Henry is a more disruptive than productive pass rusher. He lacks hand usage and a pass rush plan outside of winning with speed or crossing the blocker’s face. When the OT cuts him off to the corner, Henry struggles to win and get pressure on the QB. Check out this rep where Henry doesn’t get the edge on the right side as he drops his head into the tackle and is taken out of the play.

Henry struggles to fight off blocks once the blocker’s hands are on him, like on this rep against Wake Forest. The TE squares up Henry with a firm base and a good inside punch, neutralizing Henry in a matchup he should win.

Henry lacks ideal play strength in his lower half, making him susceptible to losing outside contain and consistently setting the edge. He also can do a better job of getting ballcarriers to the ground, like on this play. Henry leaves his feet and arm tackles the runner, who goes right through the tackle attempt and rumbles into the end zone for the score.


Henry is an athletic defender who looks the part coming off the bus. He has phenomenal character and can be a disruptive defender, racking up 24 pressures last season at Clemson. Still, he is extremely raw when it comes to winning as a pass rusher and lacks ideal play strength to consistently set the edge and win against NFL-caliber OTs. The term “looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane” comes to mind as Henry is an impressive athlete, but hasn’t put it together and looks lost at times on the field.

When watching Henry, Ben Banogu comes to mind. A similar player coming out of TCU, he was a second-round pick of the Colts in 2019. Banogu has a near-identical frame (6’3 1/2”, 250lb, 4.62 40) to Henry and was also an athletic specimen for the Horned Frogs. But he has failed to turn that promise into production in the NFL, due to the lean frame and lack of hand usage that Henry also has.

The Steelers were well represented at Clemson’s Pro Day and need depth at OLB. However, Henry shouldn’t be seen as more than a backup that can occasionally rotate in to give the starters a breather while also contributing on special teams. He fits the Steelers’ culture perfectly given his impressive character, but Henry’s impact at the NFL is limited unless he can open up his game and get functionally stronger to handle the step up in competition that awaits.

Projection: Day Three

Depot Draft Grade: 6.9 –Backup/Special Teamer (5th Round)

Games Watched: vs NC State (2022), at Florida State (2022), vs Wake Forest (2021)


Previous 2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles
OL O’Cyrus Torrence LB Jack Campbell WR Zay Flowers WR Parker Washington
DL Bryan Breese DT Jalen Carter OT Darnell Wright CB Joey Porter Jr.
WR Jordan Addison DL Siaki Ika DL Keeanu Benton CB Kelee Ringo
CB Cam Smith OT Dawand Jones LB Noah Sewell iOL Ulu Oluwatimi
LB Drew Sanders iOL Jarrett Patterson OG Nick Broeker OT Broderick Jones
WR Tank Dell iOL John Michael Schmitz CB Devon Witherspoon OT Paris Johnson Jr
LB Trenton Simpson CB Christian Gonzalez LB Henry To’oTo’o WR Jayden Reed
S Brian Branch DL DJ Dale EDGE Isaiah McGuire S JL Skinner
S Jordan Battle LB Isaiah Foskey LB Ivan Pace QB Anthony Richardson
EDGE Will McDonald OG Andrew Vorhees TE Michael Mayer WR Jalin Hyatt
C Ricky Stromberg CB Terell Smith CB Kyu Blu Kelly LB Dorian Williams
DL Jerrod Clark WR Ronnie Bell CB Emmanuel Forbes LB DeMarvion Overshown
OL Peter Skoronski OL Chandler Zavala WR Rashee Rice DT Gervon Dexter Sr.
CB Anthony Johnson OL Steve Avila LB Daiyan Henley DB Sydney Brown
DE Keion White CB Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson CB Julius Brents QB Malik Cunningham
OT Carter Warren DL Lukas Van Ness OL Cody Mauch OT Alex Palczewski
WR Marvin Mims DL Tuli Tuipulotu WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba RB Israel Abanikanda
DL Mazi Smith DL Calijiah Kancey WR Josh Downs LB Owen Pappoe
EDGE Truman Jones LB Jeremy Banks WR Puka Nacua CB Rejzohn Wright
TE Darnell Washington DL P.J. Mustipher DL Zachh Pickens EDGE BJ Ojulari
OL Matthew Bergeron EDGE Ali Gaye EDGE Nolan Smith DL Keondre Coburn
OG Emil Ekiyor Jr. ILB Mariano Sori-Martin CB Jaylon Jones OT Jaelyn Duncan
WR Rakim Jarrett EDGE Will Anderson DT Jaquelin Roy RB Tyjae Spears
CB Clark Phillips DL Colby Wooden WR Jonathan Mingo EDGE Viliami Fehoko
WR Jadon Haselwood EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah CB Darius Rush LB Mohamoud Diabate
CB Garrett Williams CB DJ Turner S Ronnie Hickman EDGE Nick Herbig
S Jammie Robinson EDGE Andre Carter C Joe Tippmann QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson
CB Deonte Banks CB Riley Moss EDGE Adetomiwa Adebawore WR Jalen Moreno-Cropper
LB SirVocea Dennis WR Cedric Tillman EDGE Byron Young DL Byron Young
OG Jon Gaines II CB Eli Ricks EDGE Yaya Diaby DL Cameron Young
IOL Luke Wypler DB Quan Martin TE Sam LaPorta OT Anton Harrison
TE Zack Kuntz TE Luke Schoonmaker RB Tank Bigsby


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