Here is the first of hopefully many draft profiles. The Tennessee Titans have had a lot of issues with the safety position of late, having poor play from both FS Michael Griffin and SS Chris Hope. Both are set to be free agents this year and there is a high probability that they both don’t return. In that case the Titans will be looking to bring in some new, young guys. Hopes position has been pretty well taken over by Jordan Babineaux, but if Griffin is let go during free agency, there’s gonna have to be a starter brought in from somewhere. Robert Johnson doesn’t appear to be the answer. As I said in my last free agency article, the Titans could look at bringing in LaRon Landry. They could also look at drafting another guy. Today we’re looking at Wisconsin Badger FS Aaron Henry.
Aaron Henry is one of the top rated safeties headed into the 2012 NFL Draft. As of right now, he’s got a 3rd to 4th round grade on him. In all likelihood, that could increase to a 2nd round grade if he impresses at the Senior Bowl, NFL Combine and Pro Days, but we’ll just have to wait and see if that happens.
While playing for the Wisconsin, Henry played two years at CB and his final two years at FS. Henry has a knack for being where the ball is, though his interceptions weren’t terribly impressive. Most were off of tips or floating passes. That shouldn’t take away from the fact that he was right there to catch it. Henry excels in pass coverage, while his run stopping still needs some work. He’s got soft hands and like so many other players with great hands, he’s a former basketball player.
Here’s a scouting snippet from FFToolbox.com:
Safeties who can cover in man coverage out of college are more rare than one would think. University of Wisconsin safety prospect Aaron Henry can do just that as he formerly played cornerback for the Badgers. His limited experience at safety will prove to give general managers and scouts the idea that he still has more development to come at the position.
Henry exhibits good patience with his footwork and lower half. Many cornerbacks are too quick to open up their hips, but Henry is very disciplined. In exchange for that discipline though is that he does not get a jump on the ball with regularity. He will need to be in the video room often, studying his opponents’ tendencies rather than relying on athleticism.
As a tackler, he isn’t afraid to mix it up but lacks that aggressive streak coaches like to see out of the safety position. Henry will flow to the ball, but he won’t explode and needs to learn to keep his feet moving and active.
Henry plays perfectly into the type of team Munchak and his staff are working on assembling. He’s a high character player who was Captain of the defense. He has a team player mentality and the more I read about him, the more I expect the Titans to take him. If his draft stock stays at what it is, he’d be an easy pick up for the Titans, who should have an extra 3rd round compensatory pick thanks to Jason Babin and possibly a 4th rounder thanks to Stephen Tulloch. Either way the Titans should have a spare pick that would be well spent on Henry.
Even if the Titans keep Michael Griffin, they still stand the chance of losing their best corner in Cortland Finnegan. Henry is a size-able guy who could compete for a starting spot.
The biggest ding against Henry is his lack of aggressiveness. He doesn’t have the mean streak coaches like to see in their safeties.
Here are some highlights and a couple interviews showing his great character:
Senior, 23 years old
6’0″, 210 pound
INT TACKLES SOLO PD SACK TD FF FR
2011 4 67 44 4 1.0 0 0 0
2010 2 57 46 7 0 3 0 2
2009 0 18 11 4 0 1(PR) 0 0
2008 REDSHIRT DUE TO INJURY
2007 1 38 26 2 3.5 0 1 0
Awards via UWBadgers.com:
Honors and Awards
2011: Quarterfinalist for the Lott IMPACT trophy … first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and honorable mention All-Big Ten by the media … Big Ten Sportsmanship Honoree … winner of UW’s Jay Seiler Coaches Appreciation Award … Academic All-Big Ten
2010: Second-team All-Big Ten (coaches) and honorable mention All-Big Ten (media) … Academic All-Big Ten
2009: Academic All-Big Ten
2007: Honorable mention freshman All-American and first-team freshman All-Big Ten choice by The Sporting News … named UW’s co-Rookie of the year