The latest in a series on top prospects by position leading up to the April 26-27 NFL Draft:
The Michigan quarterback lit up his bowl-game opponent, impressing some who weren't quite sure what to make of him.
Yes, he had talent. Yes, he had a good arm. But this game was different than most. He showed a command of the offense, making split-second decisions that led to big plays, looking like a potential NFL starter.
That player in 2000 was Tom Brady.
|Henne made scouts look again with a huge bowl game. (US Presswire)|
What they will see is a quarterback who is moving up on many team's boards. Boston College's Matt Ryan is considered the top quarterback by most teams, but Henne and Louisville's Brian Brohm are closing as of late.
"The more you look at those two the more you like what they've done," said one NFC coach. "The separation isn't what some would lead you to believe."
Brady lasted until the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft -- how that happened after his impressive Orange Bowl victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide is a mystery -- but there's no way Henne lasts that long this year. The more the scouts go back and crosscheck his work, the more they like him.
Henne had the label of inconsistency during his four years at Michigan, looking like a star one game and a so-so passer the next. But his performance in the Wolverines' blowout of the Florida Gators in the Capitol One Bowl on New Year's Day has done wonders for his draft stock.
Playing in a spread offense for most of the game, something different than what the Wolverines normally did in his career, he was in command the entire 60 minutes. He threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns, some laser throws just past the outstretched hand of a defensive back.
"He handled everything at the line of scrimmage," the NFC head coach said. "He had a great feel for what he was doing. That's what you want to see from a quarterback."
Don't go crazy thinking I'm comparing Henne to Brady because that's not fair. But it is interesting to think of how both had impressive final games of their careers after some disappointing moments during their time at Michigan.
When Brady lit up Alabama, the focus was on Michigan receiver David Terrell, who went in the first round that year. When Henne did it to Florida, the focus was also on his receivers as well.