One of the better small school prospects in the draft is Florida Atlantic’s Trey Hendrickson. A four-year contributor and three-year starter, Hendrickson set a school record in sacks with 29.5 sacks while also picking up 42 TFL. Over his final two seasons at FAU, Hendrickson had 30 TFL and 23 sacks, receiving 1st Team Conference USA honors both years. In 2016, he was named the Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year.
After a strong career at FAU, Hendrickson continued to rise up the ranks. Hendrickson had a strong week at the Shrine Game, earning the game’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player. At the combine, Hendrickson needed to put up strong times to put him in the conversation as a Day 2 edge rusher. He did more than that.
Hendrickson posted the 2nd fastest 10-yard split in the DL group, tying Temple’s Haason Reddick. In addition, he posted the 5th best 60-yard shuttle at the combine since 2006, a strong 3-cone, and the 2nd best 5-10-5 shuttle in the DL group. In the position drills, he looked very comfortable dropping into space. The fast get-off time plus the ability to move in space makes him a good fit as an edge in both the 4-3 and the 3-4 base defenses and can play anywhere in the Front 6 when the Patriots go nickel.
Vs. Florida 2015 (21-14 loss, OT)
Hendrickson holds his own very well in this game and is a big reason for FAU pushing Florida into OT. Hendrickson played a lot of right end in this game, and when he wasn’t he was spying the QB. When pursuing the scrambling QB, you can see Hendrickson’s 4.65 speed on the tape. Hendrickson is very good in the pursuit role, showing the ability to beat the OT to the spot on outside zones as well. When taking on the OT directly, he struggles a bit to get off blocks in the run game. Late in the game, forced a crucial sack-fumble that resulted in the defense scoring a TD. Overall, I’d say the tape matches very well with the measurables.
Vs. West Team (Shrine Game) 2017
Patriots Fit: Hendrickson’s closing speed and ability to play in space makes him a great fit for Special Teams. In addition, he would compete for an edge rushing role. Early on, I like him as a pass rush specialist where he can use his quick-twitch athleticism to beat guards inside. He needs to work on taking on blocks in the run game, but could develop into a three-down edge rusher within three years while his Special Teams value will keep him on an NFL roster for years. I like him at the end of the 3rd round.
Pro Comp: Mike Vrabel. Hendrickson has a similar build for the former Patriot great. Vrabel was excellent playing in space and was a good pass rusher as well. Hendrickson has the knack for the big play, forcing six fumbles in his final two years at FAU, something Vrabel was well-noted for in his long tenure in New England.