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NFL Scouting Combine Spotlight: C.J. Hanson



West's CJ Hanson, of Holy Cross, participates in the East West Shrine Bowl NCAA college football game in Frisco, Texas, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

This week the annual NFL Scouting Combine is taking place in Indianapolis. A total of 319 draft prospects were invited. The list includes eight prospects from New England schools, who will be featured on Patriots Football Now during the week. The first New England prospects featured were Yale offensive tackle Kiran Amegadjie and Holy Cross wide receiver Jalen Coker. Today we look at Coker’s Crusaders teammate, offensive guard C.J. Hanson.

Hanson comes from an FBS program at Holy Cross. However, his high school featured some big-time prospects. Hanson was part of a senior class at DePaul Catholic (N.J.) with several stud football players. Among his teammates was Cleveland Browns safety Ronnie Hickman (via Ohio State) and UConn starting quarterback Ta’Quan Robertson (via Penn State). Coker was invited to participate in the East-West Shrine Bowl and earned a ticket to Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine.

Holy Cross Crusader

C.J. Hanson is a fifth-year senior. The right guard has been a full-time starter for three seasons. He appeared in 43 games during his college career and played over 2,000 college snaps. He has been named All-Patriot League first-team for the past two seasons. Hanson started the final 38 games of his career.

Holy Cross finished in the top six nationally the past two seasons in rushing yards. In 2023 the Crusaders were third in the country in rushing yards, fourth in total offense, and sixth in scoring.

Hanson was a team captain in 2023. He was part of five Patriot League championship teams. Holy Cross advanced to the second round of the FCS Playoffs in 2021 and 2022, before falling to Villanova and South Dakota State respectively.

NFL Draft

C.J. Hanson has the size of an NFL offensive guard already. He stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs in at 305 pounds. It looks like he still can add significant weight to his frame. His mobility is a positive attribute, so it will be important to add size and strength while maintaining his mobility.

While some may have expected Hanson to wither among his competition from more publicized programs, he did not look at it that way. Hanson spoke to Kevin Shea of Spectrum News about his experience at the Shrine Bowl.

“There’s nothing like it. We’re going against the toughest competition there is in this draft class,” Hanson said. “Getting exposure from all 32 teams, getting coached by all NFL coaches right now, you’re getting max exposure. Like they say, you’re always on camera here.

“It’s a job interview the whole time, just keeping your head up, writing down notes, doing everything you can to make sure that job interview goes right. That’s what Holy Cross prepared us really well with. Talking to alumni, we were basically getting job interviews every time we met with them.

Hanson should embrace the opportunity at the NFL Scouting Combine in similar fashion. There are 70 of the best offensive line prospects in one place. The opportunity to impress is there. All 32 teams will certainly be watching.

C.J. Hanson projects to be a Day 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. There is a possibility of an NFL team looking to use him at center at the next level as well.

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