Everyone knows Derrick Henry for his success at Alabama where he racked up countless accolades while breaking numerous Alabama and SEC records in the process, and most notably, his Heisman trophy that he captured this past season. Despite his college dominance, question marks still remain for the talented running back. Some question his ability to transition to the NFL, and how he would fit in most schemes. A good combine saw him salvage what was left of his draft stock – solidifying his early 2nd round grade. How will he translate in the NFL?
Name: Derrick Henry
Projection: Early 2nd Round
Comparison: Eddie George
Strengths: Rare, intimidating size. A very strong, muscled athlete. His power is in his upper body. Unique hip movement and agility for his size. Has the strength to power through defenders when needed. Patient runner. Maneuvers through holes and can string moves together in trash with unbelievable ease. For his size he can make himself impossibly small through the line and go through holes you can’t see watching booth tape. Tears up yards when he gets free and has the speed to threaten. Has deceptive long speed and is rarely tracked down. Rarely gets tracked down running to the outside while making the loop and picking his hole. Runs square and controlled making him less vulnerable to taking shots. Avoids contact whenever possible but lays the wood when necessary. Doesn’t appear to have any problems with his run vision and finding holes. Shows dominant potential in pass protection with the ability to square up and use his upper-body power. Has the size and natural hands to become an asset in the passing game where he gets in front of the ball square and plucks it. Ran the ball at a high level even with defenses keying in on the run. Handled the load well without getting hurt and hasn’t had any injury problems of note while playing football.
Weaknesses: High-cut player. Small torso and very long legs. One of the most unique RB bodies you will find even going back into history. His body does not give him natural leverage and will by no fault of his own run high most of the time leaving him susceptible to hits. Has trouble using his body in short yardage situations due to his stature. Instead of moving the pile will sometimes get stood up. Due to his size he sometimes has trouble recovering in pass protection when blocking quicker players. Not overly adept at timing blocks in the second level in the run game.
Outlook: A player who had unrivaled success in high school and accomplished about everything he could in three years of college. The question is where he fits in the NFL and how much of a factor his unique size will be. Depending on where he lands he should have instant success and continue to develop as a blocker and pass-catcher. Despite not being injured and his unique agility there is always the potential for leg injuries to derail his career. Henry will be much debated but I see someone taking him in the top half of the 2nd round.