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Commanders sign KJ Henry, Chris Rodriguez Jr., Andre Jones Jr. to rookie deals


The Washington Commanders have begun signing their 2023 draft class. Defensive end KJ Henry, running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. and defensive end Andre Jones Jr. all signed their rookie deals earlier this week. 

Henry (6-foot-4, 294 pounds) was the No. 6 player in the country, according to ESPN, the No.3 defensive end and the No. 2 overall player in North Carolina. A five-year contributor for the Tigers, Henry played in 58 games with 122 tackles, 13.5 sacks and 28 tackles for a loss. 

Henry is disruptive, a former team captain and uses his speed to blow by offensive tackles and will provide quality depth to the Commanders' defensive line. In addition to his 4.63 40-yard dash, he also recorded a 31.5-inch vertical and a 9-foot-4 broad jump. 

A three-star recruit and all-state pick out of high school in Georgia, Rodriguez ascended to an influential role for Kentucky during the 2019 season. As a backup that year, he played in all 13 games (71-533-7.5, six touchdowns). He followed that up by leading the team in rushing with 785 yards on 119 carries (6.6 per game) and 11 scores in nine contests without a start. In 2021, he stepped into the starting running back spot, rushing 1,379 yards and scoring nine touchdowns on his way to garnering second-team All-SEC honors. Rodriguez wrapped up his time in Kentucky with seven starts in eight games played (175-904-5.2, six touchdowns; 5-41-8.2 receiving) in 2022. 

Jones (6-foot-4, 248 pounds) got a lot of valuable experience during his six years with the Ragin' Cajuns. In 2019, he started nine of 14 appearances (42 tackles, seven for loss with two sacks) and followed that up in 2020 by starting all of the team's contests in a COVID-shortened, 11-game season (43 tackles, 3.5 for loss with two sacks). In his redshirt junior season, he earned a Third Team all-conference nod for posting 60 tackles, 9.5 for loss with six sacks, four pass break ups and two fumbles forced and recovered. In his final season in Lafayette, he recorded 51 tackles, 8.5 for loss including 7.5 sacks, in 12 starts on his way to being named a second-team pick. 

Four players from the Commanders' 2023 draft class -- cornerback Emmanuel Forbes, defensive back Quan Martin, center Ricky Stromberg and offensive lineman Braeden Daniels remain unsigned at this point. 

The Commanders began rookie minicamp on Thursday and will go through their first practice today.

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