Matt Rhule: We’ve liked CJ Henderson for a long time


The Panthers traded for cornerback CJ Henderson on Monday, acquiring the No. 9 overall pick of the 2020 draft in part to help replace this year’s No. 8 overall pick Jaycee Horn.

Horn will be out for months, if not the rest of the season, after breaking a few bones in his foot in last Thursday’s win over the Texans. And at 3-0 with a top defense, the Panthers appear in position to make a playoff push this year.

But Carolina head coach Matt Rhule said on Monday that acquiring Henderson is a long-term move, calling it not a “Band-Aid” but “an opportunity.”

“CJ Henderson is somebody we liked a long time,” Rhule said, via David Newton of ESPN. “Any chance you have to get a top-15 draft pick from the year before, it’s very unique.”

Rhule noted that the Panthers considered selecting Henderson last year at No. 7 overall, a pick they used on defensive lineman Derrick Brown.

“This is not a right-now, this-week conversation,” Rhule said. “This is about the next two years, three years. On defense, as you can see, when you have a bunch of good players, it’s fun to watch. So just hopefully he’s one more guy in that group.”

Carolina is currently No. 1 in yards allowed and No. 2 in points allowed this season.