Position: Running Back
Weight: 242 pounds
School: Alabama Crimson Tide
Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash: 4.54 seconds
Bench press: 22 reps
Vertical jump: 37.0 inches
Broad jump: 10 feet, 10 inches
Derrick Henry 2016 NFL Draft Profile
Suffice it to say Derrick Henry successfully scaled the proverbial summit of college football in 2015. Not only did he take home the Heisman Trophy, but he also played a major role in another national championship season for Alabama, their fourth in seven years. Henry is just the latest in a long line of standout running backs Nick Saban has recruited to Tuscaloosa during his immensely successful stint as Crimson Tide head coach. Names such as Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon come to mind. In fact, the only two non-quarterbacks to win the Heisman since 2006, Henry and Ingram, came out of the Bama backfield.
The level of dominance Henry exuded over the course of the 2015 season is difficult to quantify. The Yulee, FL native led the nation in attempts (395), rushing yards (2,219) and touchdowns (28). He averaged an absurd 26.33 carries per game. And on four occasions did he rush for over 200 yards. Perhaps the biggest personification of the gigantic workload he shouldered came in the season finale against hated rivals Auburn. Henry carried the ball 46 times and rushed for 271 yards. A week later against Florida in the SEC title game he toted the rock another 44 times for a measly 189 yards. Do the math. That’s 90 carries in 2 games!
Henry’s workload subsided a bit in the Bama’s two College Football Playoff wins. He averaged just 28 carries per game (still quite a bit of reps) for 116.5 yards but contributed where it mattered: in the end zone. He had a combined five rushing touchdowns as the Tide rolled to national championship glory once more.
- possesses a build that can only be described as freakish.
- physical and decisive north-south runner.
- extremely tough to bring down on first contact.
- exceptional downfield vision enables him to anticipate space.
- immense lower body strength as evidenced by his ability to squat over 500 pounds.
- can shed arm tackles with ease.
- great lateral explosiveness gives him a dangerous cut move on misdirection runs.
- runs with same amount of intensity late in games as he does early on.
- carried huge workload in college; legs might already have quite a bit of mileage.
- despite size, not particularly comfortable in pass-blocking situations.
- runs a bit too upright at times.
- though very quick for his size, quickness takes time to develop.
- could improve ability to anticipate pressure; might struggle against speedy, gap-disciplined linebackers.
- never really excelled as a pass-catching back for Alabama.
- can have frantic footwork in the backfield.
NFL Comparison: Le’Veon Bell
Teams with Need at Position: Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, New York Giants, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins
Projection: early second round
Does the idea of a Heisman curse still have any semblance of relevance? From the standpoint of running backs, perhaps not. The last two other than Henry to win the award, Ingram and Reggie Bush (who has since vacated the trophy), have carved out fairly lengthy NFL careers. Are they Hall of Fame worthy? Probably not, but on the other side of the coin, it would be erroneous to characterize them as busts. Henry has plenty of qualities that indicate he can succeed as an every down back at the next level. And don’t be surprised if he becomes an immediate contributor for whoever picks him. Thought it’s possible he could slip into the late first round, the more likely scenario is Henry being one of the first to get his name called on day two of the draft.