A Mid-Season Look: Derrick Henry

Coming out of the University of Alabama is a huge running back by the name of Derrick Henry. Henry stands at six feet and three inches tall and weighs 245 pounds. On the field, he looks like an absolute monster. Henry is in his junior year with the Tide and is not a guarantee to declare for the draft. The only time I scout underclassmen is when I feel there is a very high chance they will declare for the draft. I feel with the past two seasons Henry has had, he will. Last season, Henry rushed for just under 1,000 yards and had 11 rushing touchdowns. He also had two touchdown receptions on the year, with the most memorable being an 80-yard reception against Ohio State in the College Football Playoff. This season, he has already outdone last year’s statistics, and we are just past the halfway point in the season. As of 10/25, he has over 1,000 yards rushing and 14 rushing touchdowns. Did I mention he also has a rushing average 5.8 yards per carry? The first thing that stands out when watching film on Henry is his size. He is absolutely huge and is very hard to stop when he gets acceleration. He is a bruiser back who is one of the taller backs the Crimson Tide have seen come through their program. Henry is extremely physical, but I feel because of his height and long legs, he can go down too easily. Too many times, I would see a defender dive at his legs and go down after only one hit. There is not much I feel can be done about this. You cannot make the man shrink, but at times, he could do a better job at lowering his pad level at the first contact. Second, he can make plays happen on a regular basis. But is he a home run threat? It depends on the situation. If he is not allowed to get some speed early in the play, he will get stuffed at the line of scrimmage. But, if he is allowed to get those long legs going, he is a threat to take it to the house. No, he does not have the instant speed you see in a lot of smaller running backs, but he does have good speed when he is allowed to get into the open field. Then, the speed combined with his physicality makes it even harder to take him down. Due to Alabama’s offense, he is not the main running back used in the passing game. His partner in crime, Kenyan Drake, is the main pass catcher out of the backfield. However, he can be very useful in the passing game, he just isn’t targeted often. I am not impressed with his pass blocking ability. Surprisingly, for his size, he is asked to cut block often, which he is not good at. When he cut blocks, he lowers his head way too early causing him to completely whiff on the block. Many times, he has done this and the defender he was assigned to went straight to the ball carrier. Overall, I think Henry will be a player used only in certain situations in the pros. There just aren’t that many running backs in the pros that are as big as he is and are successful. In Henry’s case, he is not quick enough to make cuts and is not elusive enough to juke defenders out of their shoes. True, he will knock people over, but he can only do that when he gets a full head of steam. He is a great open field runner, but his ability to make things happen when there is little to work with leaves much to be desired. As of now, I feel he will go in the 3rd or 4th round of the draft. Austin Morris is the creator of The Scouting Lab. He is a graduate of National Football Post’s Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp. He can be reached atamorris3585@scc.stanly.edu

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