Former Pitt wide receiver and return man Quadree Henderson worked out for the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers this week, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
Pitt WR-RB-PR Quadree Henderson worked out for 49ers and Browns this week, drawing interest from Steelers, 49ers, Giants and Eagles. Rated as a fourth to fifth round draft target— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) April 14, 2018
Wilson went on to note that Henderson piqued the interest of the 49ers in addition to the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers. The interest from the 49ers makes sense, as they ranked 30th in the NFL in kickoff return yards and 24th in return average in 2017. The Giants’ return game could also use a shot in the arm, as the team ranked in the bottom half of the league in both categories as well.
As interesting as it would be to see Henderson remain in Pennsylvania to play for the Eagles or Steelers, neither team appears poised to aggressively pursue a return specialist, as they finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in return yards last season. With that said, neither team fared as well in terms of average return yards, as they both finished in the bottom half of the league with fewer than 22 yards per attempt.
The Eagles also lack depth behind top returner Kenjon Barner, and the Steelers have leaned on stars like Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster during kick and punt returns — a practice they may want to discontinue to reduce their risk of injury.
Henderson was Pitt’s leading return man from 2015 to 2017, as he amassed 1,942 yards and four touchdowns on 73 kickoff returns for an average of 26.6 yards per attempt. He also contributed 495 punt return yards and three touchdowns on 37 punts for an average of 13.4 yards per return.
His decision to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft was somewhat surprising when it was announced in December, as he hadn’t done much to distinguish himself as a receiver in his career. In three years, he caught 45 passes for just 473 yards and one touchdown. Of course, he’s also put his versatility on display through his contributions as a rusher, running for 887 yards, five touchdowns and an average of 9.1 yards per carry over that same span. So he’s given teams a lot to consider.
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com believes Henderson will be selected in the seventh round or go undrafted. However, as noted by Wilson, other projections have him going in the fourth or fifth round.
The NFL draft will get underway from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on April 26.