Undrafted free agency gave the New Orleans Saints a bounty of young talent, ranging from offensive linemen Landon Turner and Jack Allen to defensive backs Trae Elston and De’Vante Harris. But another possible contributor signed on after the 2016 NFL Draft: Boise State interior lineman Marcus Henry.
Boise State center Marcus Henry was a two-time pick for the All-Mountain West first team but slipped in the draft due to subpar athleticism and an injury history. He isn’t very fast and has only average strength on the interior defensive line, but Henry has the perfect attitude to win in the NFL.
- Height: 6-foot, 2.5-inches
- Weight: 299-pounds
- Arm length: 32-inches
- Hand width: 10-inches
Marcus Henry is a nasty player who shows good vision and footwork to throw some blocks at the second level. He’s got enough strength to hold up against bigger NFL opponents. A concern is Henry’s foot; he broke it last year in spring training and lost several months to the recovery process, which slowed his preparation for games in the fall.
Henry was underweight and played off-balance until he settled into his stance post-injury, and performed at a high enough level to earn an all-conference selection on the first team two years in a row. He’s technically sound and his medicals check out, but are there too many negatives at play for Henry’s future in the NFL?
Like his fellow New Orleans Saints undrafted rookie De’Vante Harris, Henry has found a mentor in the starting lineup of the Denver Broncos. Harris has bonded with noted lockdown slot cornerback Chris Harris, Jr., while Henry has turned to a former Boise State teammate for guidance: Super Bowl-winning center Matt Paradis, who the Broncos drafted back in 2014.
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How he fits the New Orleans Saints:
The Saints will have as many as three open positions on the interior offensive line this summer. Both guard spots are up for grabs on either side of starting center Max Unger. Unger himself will be a free agent next spring and may be looking forward to returning to the Seattle Seahawks who drafted him, so the Saints may also be looking for a backup center to start in 2017.
Players with versatility like Marcus Henry will have an edge on their competition in training camp. Even if he can’t win a starting job, Henry could very well be a better option to back up guard and/or center than, say, Tim Lelito. Henry’s fellow undrafted rookie Landon Turner has never played center, so if Turner can’t start right away Henry could be worth keeping instead.
The Saints’ situation at guard will be a major storyline in the coming months. I don’t think Henry will figure into their plans as a starter, but he’ll be a name worth tracking as the final spots on the 53-man roster are decided in September.