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30-Days, 30 Prospects: DAY 15 – 1st-Team All-Pac-12 Linebacker Daiyan Henley

Daiyan Henley is a versatile, weak-side linebacker with tremendous upside and resilience. Once a 2-star recruit from L.A.-area Crenshaw High School, Henley has shown the ability to overcome adversity in his football career, making the rare and successful pivot from wide-receiver in 2018 to linebacker in 2020. From there, he did not look back. In 2021, Henley recorded 79 tackles and 4 interceptions as a senior at Nevada, earning 2nd-Team All-Mountain West honors. Due to past injuries, Henley was eligible for one more year in 2022, taking full advantage of transferring to Washington State. He recorded 74 tackles and an interception but added an extra wrinkle to his repertoire, adding 5 sacks and earning 1st-Team All-Pac-12 at linebacker and 2nd-Team for his Special Teams services.

As mentioned before, Henley is versatile, showing the ability at weak-side linebacker to play excellent pass coverage, particularly while scanning the backfield during zone coverage. He is also a great tackler, using his long arms and muscular frame to finish plays. His pass rushing ability is probably one quality to be most excited for, as he seems to improve on the art on a yearly basis.

One of the knocks on Henley, however, is the fact that he’s on the smaller side at his position (6′ 0″, 225-lbs), making it infeasible to line him up as a traditional pass rusher. His smaller size also shows when attempting to shed blocks at times.

A lot of Henley’s discrepancies will likely be overshadowed with proper scheme placement and his tremendous athleticism. Additionally, Henley is an above average pass coverage linebacker, which is something the Raiders have lacked for years. If the Raiders take Henley in the 3rd round, look for Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham to dial up exotic blitzes and many other schemes to highlight his strengths while sharpening his tools set behind the scenes.

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