Bills rookie offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson is a first-round talent who was still available for Buffalo to draft him in the seventh round because of a series of incidents that had NFL teams questioning his commitment to football. The Bills want Henderson to know that any more incidents will result in him losing his job.
“We’ve talked to Seantrel and he knows that he’s got one shot,” Bills G.M. Doug Whaley told ESPN. “We’re saying we’ll give you this one shot. It has nothing to do with us saying this guy is a talented football player; he’s been dealing with some demons. Hopefully those demons are out of his life and why not give somebody — this is America — give somebody a chance.”
Henderson’s off-field issues have included multiple failed drug tests in college and another failed drug test at the NFL Combine, plus a failure to complete his Pro Day workout. Bills coach Doug Marrone says the team knows what it’s getting with Henderson and will send him packing if he’s unable or unwilling to do everything the team asks of him.
“It was something that we did a lot of research on. We want to make sure that we know exactly what the situation is, exactly what we’re dealing with and seeing if we’re able to be the proper influence to make that change,” Marrone said. “And does the player want to make that change? I think all those things come in to play and if that happens we’re going to get ourselves one heck of a football player. If it doesn’t, he’ll go find another line of work.”
Drafting a guy with Henderson’s background is a risk, but if they end up cutting him, they’re only out a seventh-round pick. Considering that some observers believe Henderson could develop into a Pro Bowl offensive tackle, that was a risk the Bills were willing to take.