December 20, 2015 - Greg Gabriel
Breaking Down Alabama RB Derrick Henry
In the last few weeks, I have seen a lot written about Alabama running back and Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry. It has gotten to the point that I have to laugh. Some so-called experts are saying that he will only get drafted as high as the fourth round. All I can say is, so much for being an “expert”. Henry is one of the most productive running backs of all time playing in the toughest college football conference in the country. In 2014 as a sophomore, Henry outperformed T.J. Yeldon who went on to become a second-round draft pick and is the Jacksonville Jaguars leading rusher as a rookie this season. Derrick Henry – RB – Alabama Henry is a third-year junior at Alabama. This is the first season that he has been the bell cow runner at Alabama as he shared time with T. J. Yeldon in 2013 and 2014. By the end of the 2014, Henry was clearly the lead back in the Alabama offense. As a sophomore he had 172 carries for 990 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also has five receptions for 133 yards. This past season he ran for 1986 yards on 339 carries, a 5.9 yards per carry average and 23 touchdowns. He also had 10 receptions for 97 yards. Size – 6'2" – 242 – 4.50 (all estimates) Strong Points – Has rare size for a running back. He is quick to the hole and also has very good vision/instincts. He runs with excellent lean, is very explosive on contact and consistently gets yards after contact. He is excellent at seeing the cutback lanes and has no wasted motion making a cut to the openings. Can pick and slide and consistently get the tough yards. Has deceptive speed down field and you will often see him outrun defenders. Has good hands. Is a very good run blocker and a good pass blocker. He wears down defenses. Weak Points – While he can make the first man miss, he doesn’t have exceptional elusiveness. Don’t see a consistent quick burst. Needs to develop his route running skills. Summation – The way the game is played today, you very seldom see a running back the size of Derrick Henry. Some will want to compare him to Brandon Jacobs, but in my opinion the only similarity is size. Henry has better vision, runs lower to the ground and has better breakaway skills than Jacobs had. While he is not a perfect fit for all offensive schemes, he is for some. He has a combination of speed, power and instincts that can help an offense control the clock. He is very reliable as an inside power runner and can move the pile as well as any back ever. He has the speed to get outside and will break a lot of long runs. He is reliable as a receiver having good hands but needs to develop his route running skills. He shows excellent run blocking skills on jet sweeps and is a willing pass blocker but needs to further develop his pass blocking techniques. Overall, there is a lot of special to Henry. While he isn’t for everyone, in the right scheme he will be a dominant NFL back. He is a lock first-round pick.