MOBILE, Ala. -- The North squad's Tuesday morning practice at the Senior Bowl had just concluded and NFL scouts were aggressively jostling for position with the hopes of getting a few minutes of Seantrel Henderson's time.
Since his impressive Monday morning weigh-in (6 feet 7, 331 pounds) led into two solid days of practices, the former University of Miami offensive lineman has piqued the interest of numerous teams.
Everyone in the NFL wants to know Henderson better, and for good reason considering he's probably viewed as one of the 2014 draft's biggest boom-or-bust prospects.
Back in 2010, Henderson came to Miami as the nation's top-rated high school offensive lineman. He picked the Hurricanes over Southern Cal and everyone expected greatness. But his college career never lived up to the hype because of numerous factors, and questions about his desire.
He was suspended three times, and recently admitted to NFL teams that marijuana use led to his suspensions. The confession will likely prompt some teams, like the Dolphins, to take him off their draft board.
Henderson understands that, but he's hoping the NFL will serve as a fresh start.
"I'm just being honest with every team and letting them know exactly what the situations were, and that I'm putting all the negative things behind me moving on to the next level," Henderson said. "I want to be a starter and play in the NFL.
"I'm showing my character. Showing them that I'm responsible, reliable, dependable," Henderson said. "I want to keep letting them know all the negative things are behind me."
One NFL executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Henderson is wise to fess up about his marijuana use because UM will likely disclose it to teams that probe. If Henderson weren't forthcoming, it would raise an even more troubling red flag.
"As long as he doesn't fail the combine's drug test, we can get past that," the executive said before pointing out UM cornerback Sam Shields had similar issues before turning in an impressive career with the Packers. "Plenty of teams take chances on players with his talent."
The executive said teams need to understand if Henderson was a recreational drug user or "if he has a problem."
Some team desperate for offensive line help -- the Dolphins fall into that category -- will see Henderson's size and raw talent and overlook his troubles. They'll believe they can coach him up and push him to play to his ability. Sometimes those gambles pay off, and sometimes teams roll snake eyes.
Hurricanes quarterback Stephen Morris is willing to vouch for Henderson. He's seen his teammate make drastic strides toward becoming a more mature and responsible individual from his junior to senior season.
"I've seen a complete 180-degree turn that's just going to keep going," Morris said. "He's one of those athletes where when he gets his hands on you, it is over. He's an unbelievable specimen. His body measurements speak for themselves."
Draft analyst Tony Pauline said Henderson's numerous off-field issues and concerns have stunted his development, and that's usually a warning sign there's maturity issues.
"He's got all the physical skills to be a top 45 pick, but then there's the mental errors. He's not focused. He's jumping off sides," Pauline said. "If he could ever get the mental to catch up with the physical, he could be something special."
Henderson is presently projected as a fourth-round pick and is rated by NFLdraftscout.com as the 13th-best offensive tackle in a relatively strong offensive line draft class.
"Scouts have to look into his background because it isn't good. He came into the season with early round grades, and he showed flashes today of why they gave him that grade," Pauline said. "But overall there are plenty mistakes that force you to label him an underachiever."
Henderson realizes his past will scare some teams off but realizes he must live with the consequences of the choices he's made.
"Honesty is key," he said. "That's the most important thing." ___