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Dynasty & Redraft: RB Derrick Henry, Titans

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Derrick Henry: Carrying The Load

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He entered the University of Alabama as a myth, shattering nearly every high school rushing record, but junior running back Derrick Henry will have the backfield to himself this fall. The 6-foot-3, 242-pound Henry is coming off a monster season in 2014, accounting for 990 rushing yards with 11 touchdowns on 5.8 yards per carry while splitting the load with now-departed TJ Yeldon. As we have reported throughout the spring, Alabama's head coach Nick Saban has praised Henry on his leadership and work ethic during the team's offseason program.

 

Henry is known for his toughness as a downhill runner, but he has improved his footwork and has shown that he can bounce plays outside. Henry has also prepared himself to be a feature back by adding weight, watching film and guiding Alabama's young players through drills in spring practice.

 

After some growing pains, Henry has put in the work to be the feature back, but will Kiffin feed him more in 2015? Wisconsin gets the first taste in August of the new-look Henry: not only is he bigger, faster, stronger, but Henry will also be sporting a new jersey number, wearing No. 2 this season in honor of former Alabama wide receiver David "The Deuce" Palmer.

 

Since 2008, Alabama's offense has claimed success by using two running backs. Coach Saban's one-back scheme prefers to pair up players that mirrored each other in style and physical build, while also being complementary. Both backs see a relatively equal amount of field time, depending on the game situation, and it provides the offense with a change of pace.

 

This season, however, will be different. Alabama doesn't have a back that resembles Henry's physicality, aside from Bo Scarbrough, who will be miss a good part of the season with knee injury. The offense returns Kenyan Drake as the only other proven back, but the senior will be in a hybrid role in offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin's scheme rather than a pure 15 carry per game running back. Given Alabama's depth chart, as well as losses to arrests, graduation and injury, opposing defenses can anticipate the lion's share of touches to go through the big man.

 

If any back on the roster can take carries away from El Tractocito, it appears that true freshman Damien Harris looks to be the reserve with the best chance. Harris came into NSD as a highly coveted five-star running back, being ranked the No. 1 overall RB per 247's composite index. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Kentucky native was a stud for Madison Southern High School. Harris tallied 6,717 rushing yards with 111 touchdowns for his career. Former Alabama running back and Kentucky native Shaun Alexander has given Harris his blessing to be next great Crimson Tide star from the bluegrass state.

 

(Ed. Note: Harris eclipsed most of Shaun Alexander's career high school rushing records, aside from points scored in a season and Tds tallied in a season.)

 

Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon all made an impact as freshmen. If Harris can learn the system and make solid adjustments this summer, he will have a legitimate shot at accumulating carries. However, like the other backs before him, the biggest adjustments will be the speed of the game and in pass protection; the latter being an area where freshmen notoriously have issues adjusting.

 

While Harris looks to gets some carries, and while Kenyan Drake is the unit's homerun threat, 2015 could be a Heisman-like year for Henry's production. The Florida native was a household name at Yulee High School. He recorded 12,124 career rushing yards, and captured the Maxwell Football Club National High School Player of the Year Award in 2012. He enrolled at Alabama in 2013 as a five-star prospect and hasn't looked back.

Edited by Faust
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I measured Derrick Henry's 40-yard dashes from 2012 SPARQ testing: 4.60, 4.53. He was 243lbs and 18-years old. (Actually he was 11 days away from turning 18.)

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Rotoworld:

Alabama junior RB Derrick Henry is "just as capable of wearing down a defense as he is running by one," wrote ESPN's Alex Scarborough.

"As the country's record-holder for career rushing yards in high school, he certainly has the hype," wrote Scarborough. "And considering he ran for 990 yards as a sophomore last season, he has the production, too. Granted, Kenyan Drake will steal some of his carries, but with an inexperienced quarterback, there should be plenty of snaps to go around." The 6-foot-3, 238-pounder, nicknamed "El Tractorcito," runs a 4.50 forty. He trains by pushing pickup trucks around.
Source: ESPN.com
Jun 3 - 5:09 PM

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We'll see. I don't know if his skills will translate to the NFL

6-1 243 pound back that can run by you and over you yea that won't translate

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We'll see. I don't know if his skills will translate to the NFL

6-1 243 pound back that can run by you and over you yea that won't translate

6'3" not 6'1"

Henry plays much much smaller and he tries to avoid more than a 243lb player should IMO.

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We'll see. I don't know if his skills will translate to the NFL

6-1 243 pound back that can run by you and over you yea that won't translate

6'3" not 6'1"

Henry plays much much smaller and he tries to avoid more than a 243lb player should IMO.

People said the same thing about Bell coming out. Now Henry isn't the agile, and I'm sure the measurables will bear that out, but he's got pretty nifty feet for a guy his size.

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We'll see. I don't know if his skills will translate to the NFL

6-1 243 pound back that can run by you and over you yea that won't translate

6'3" not 6'1"

Henry plays much much smaller and he tries to avoid more than a 243lb player should IMO.

People said the same thing about Bell coming out. Now Henry isn't the agile, and I'm sure the measurables will bear that out, but he's got pretty nifty feet for a guy his size.

He's actually very agile. I expect him to put up a very good 3-cone and shuttle. I don't see anything negative about a 243-pounder avoiding contact when it's one of this best attributes.

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We'll see. I don't know if his skills will translate to the NFL

6-1 243 pound back that can run by you and over you yea that won't translate

6'3" not 6'1"

Henry plays much much smaller and he tries to avoid more than a 243lb player should IMO.

People said the same thing about Bell coming out. Now Henry isn't the agile, and I'm sure the measurables will bear that out, but he's got pretty nifty feet for a guy his size.

He's actually very agile. I expect him to put up a very good 3-cone and shuttle. I don't see anything negative about a 243-pounder avoiding contact when it's one of this best attributes.

That was a slight typo, was supposed to be "that agile", as in less agile than Bell but still very nifty feet for a guy that size. Do you think he'll run agility drills similar to Bell? Less impressive (factoring in size) or more? You usually seem to have a pretty solid ability to project these types of measurables, so I'm curious what you think. Edited by ConnSKINS26

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I think he has a HUGE season this year. Brandon Jacobs was a battering ram, I see some James Wilder Sr. and a bit of Latavius Murray with Henry being a bit slower but heavier.

He's about 15-1 to win the heisman and I'm looking to buy.

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Brandon Jacobs 2.0, pass.

That's a really simplistic player comparison, and a pretty bad one, which you only thought of because RB's of their size are so rare.

Jacobs, even as a young player, was much more of a stiff, straight line athlete. He was always a bruiser, a run you over type.

Henry is huge, he's a size/speed freak like Jacobs, but he's a completely different player.

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We'll see. I don't know if his skills will translate to the NFL

6-1 243 pound back that can run by you and over you yea that won't translate

6'3" not 6'1"

Henry plays much much smaller and he tries to avoid more than a 243lb player should IMO.

People said the same thing about Bell coming out. Now Henry isn't the agile, and I'm sure the measurables will bear that out, but he's got pretty nifty feet for a guy his size.

People said bell tried to avoid too much in college? Henry is more explosive than bell coming out. But let's also be honest that bell wasn't bell until he lost 20 lbs. So 6'1" 220 vs 6'3" 243.

I have issues with a 6'3" 243 lb guy with good feet for his size (I agree) trying to avoid nfl defenders. That's a huge target and he doesn't have great agility. I also am concerned about him getting small to fit through holes. Long legs and stop start ability isn't good either with picking holes. Henry is similar to dmc for me, in that they're a much better rb with good blocking and allowed to play downhill. But when asked to create on their own, it's trouble.

lastly I see a lack of power/leverage at times to gain yardage.

I don't see him as a rb1 or high end rb2 in ff, which makes him a pass for me right now given his top 5 devy ranking on some boards.

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People said bell tried to avoid too much in college?

You really don't remember that? He was criticized as being a big guy that danced too much like a small guy to avoid contact, "looks like Tarzan plays like Jane". It was all over the place, especially on message boards like this one.

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People said bell tried to avoid too much in college?

You really don't remember that? He was criticized as being a big guy that danced too much like a small guy to avoid contact, "looks like Tarzan plays like Jane". It was all over the place, especially on message boards like this one.
Yep. That was definitely a common view on Bell.

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People said bell tried to avoid too much in college?

You really don't remember that? He was criticized as being a big guy that danced too much like a small guy to avoid contact, "looks like Tarzan plays like Jane". It was all over the place, especially on message boards like this one.

I remember some dancing, but I felt he brought more power to his game than Henry.

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Daniel Jeremiah @MoveTheSticks 30s30 seconds ago

Studying Alabama offense...RB Derrick Henry reminds me of Brandon Jacobs.

FieldVisionScouting@FVScouting 14m14 minutes ago

@MoveTheSticks Couldn't agree more, might have a slight speed edge but not much

Daniel Jeremiah @MoveTheSticks 7m7 minutes ago

Daniel Jeremiah retweeted FieldVisionScouting

People forget Brandon Jacobs ran low 4.5 coming out of college.

Edited by Faust

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Daniel Jeremiah ‏@MoveTheSticks 30s30 seconds ago

Studying Alabama offense...RB Derrick Henry reminds me of Brandon Jacobs.

FieldVisionScouting‏@FVScouting 14m14 minutes ago

@MoveTheSticks Couldn't agree more, might have a slight speed edge but not much

Daniel Jeremiah ‏@MoveTheSticks 7m7 minutes ago

Daniel Jeremiah retweeted FieldVisionScouting

People forget Brandon Jacobs ran low 4.5 coming out of college.

Yup, I'm seeing same thing. Brandon Jacobs 2.0

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Daniel Jeremiah ‏@MoveTheSticks 30s30 seconds ago

Studying Alabama offense...RB Derrick Henry reminds me of Brandon Jacobs.

FieldVisionScouting‏@FVScouting 14m14 minutes ago @MoveTheSticks Couldn't agree more, might have a slight speed edge but not much

Daniel Jeremiah ‏@MoveTheSticks 7m7 minutes ago

Daniel Jeremiah retweeted FieldVisionScouting

People forget Brandon Jacobs ran low 4.5 coming out of college.

Yup, I'm seeing same thing. Brandon Jacobs 2.0

Still disagree. It's just the easy, obvious comparison due to size. Jacobs was much stiffer and more upright.

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Daniel Jeremiah ‏@MoveTheSticks 30s30 seconds ago

Studying Alabama offense...RB Derrick Henry reminds me of Brandon Jacobs.

FieldVisionScouting‏@FVScouting 14m14 minutes ago @MoveTheSticks Couldn't agree more, might have a slight speed edge but not much

Daniel Jeremiah ‏@MoveTheSticks 7m7 minutes ago

Daniel Jeremiah retweeted FieldVisionScouting

People forget Brandon Jacobs ran low 4.5 coming out of college.

Yup, I'm seeing same thing. Brandon Jacobs 2.0

Still disagree. It's just the easy, obvious comparison due to size. Jacobs was much stiffer and more upright.

i'm sure the size influences the comparison, but it's more than that. I'm not any kind of scout but from the first time i saw Henry play i thought Brandon Jacobs.

Jacobs was a decent player and actually had nice agility, he wasn't just a battering ram. He was a very athletic big man.

I assume Jeremiah watches a lot of tape and doesn't just judge players on size. He thought the same thing, so it's not just some random idiot (me) on the internet seeing the comparison.

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We'll see. I don't know if his skills will translate to the NFL

6-1 243 pound back that can run by you and over you yea that won't translate

6'3" not 6'1"

Henry plays much much smaller and he tries to avoid more than a 243lb player should IMO.

People said the same thing about Bell coming out. Now Henry isn't the agile, and I'm sure the measurables will bear that out, but he's got pretty nifty feet for a guy his size.

People said bell tried to avoid too much in college? Henry is more explosive than bell coming out. But let's also be honest that bell wasn't bell until he lost 20 lbs. So 6'1" 220 vs 6'3" 243.

I have issues with a 6'3" 243 lb guy with good feet for his size (I agree) trying to avoid nfl defenders. That's a huge target and he doesn't have great agility. I also am concerned about him getting small to fit through holes. Long legs and stop start ability isn't good either with picking holes. Henry is similar to dmc for me, in that they're a much better rb with good blocking and allowed to play downhill. But when asked to create on their own, it's trouble.

lastly I see a lack of power/leverage at times to gain yardage.

I don't see him as a rb1 or high end rb2 in ff, which makes him a pass for me right now given his top 5 devy ranking on some boards.

Those were the same exact knocks against Melvin Gordon. Of course, they weren't true for Gordon and they're not true for Henry either.

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Daniel Jeremiah ‏@MoveTheSticks 30s30 seconds ago

Studying Alabama offense...RB Derrick Henry reminds me of Brandon Jacobs.

FieldVisionScouting‏@FVScouting 14m14 minutes ago @MoveTheSticks Couldn't agree more, might have a slight speed edge but not much

Daniel Jeremiah ‏@MoveTheSticks 7m7 minutes ago

Daniel Jeremiah retweeted FieldVisionScouting

People forget Brandon Jacobs ran low 4.5 coming out of college.

Yup, I'm seeing same thing. Brandon Jacobs 2.0

Still disagree. It's just the easy, obvious comparison due to size. Jacobs was much stiffer and more upright.

i'm sure the size influences the comparison, but it's more than that. I'm not any kind of scout but from the first time i saw Henry play i thought Brandon Jacobs.

Jacobs was a decent player and actually had nice agility, he wasn't just a battering ram. He was a very athletic big man.

I assume Jeremiah watches a lot of tape and doesn't just judge players on size. He thought the same thing, so it's not just some random idiot (me) on the internet seeing the comparison.

Henry's agility is just that much better than Jacobs'. Jacobs had more power and was a bit heavier in the 260's.

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We'll see. I don't know if his skills will translate to the NFL

6-1 243 pound back that can run by you and over you yea that won't translate

6'3" not 6'1"

Henry plays much much smaller and he tries to avoid more than a 243lb player should IMO.

People said the same thing about Bell coming out. Now Henry isn't the agile, and I'm sure the measurables will bear that out, but he's got pretty nifty feet for a guy his size.

People said bell tried to avoid too much in college? Henry is more explosive than bell coming out. But let's also be honest that bell wasn't bell until he lost 20 lbs. So 6'1" 220 vs 6'3" 243.

I have issues with a 6'3" 243 lb guy with good feet for his size (I agree) trying to avoid nfl defenders. That's a huge target and he doesn't have great agility. I also am concerned about him getting small to fit through holes. Long legs and stop start ability isn't good either with picking holes. Henry is similar to dmc for me, in that they're a much better rb with good blocking and allowed to play downhill. But when asked to create on their own, it's trouble.

lastly I see a lack of power/leverage at times to gain yardage.

I don't see him as a rb1 or high end rb2 in ff, which makes him a pass for me right now given his top 5 devy ranking on some boards.

Those were the same exact knocks against Melvin Gordon. Of course, they weren't true for Gordon and they're not true for Henry either.

We can agree to disagree.

Great agility: I don't think he has great agility and that's an area reserved for shady, ameer abdullah, etc types. Henry side steps defenders at times, but he doesn't pressure cut successfully(remember only one time in his college career). He doesn't spin. Agility just isn't a strength of his game.

Getting small through holes: 6'3" 243 lbs vs 6'0 217(Melvin) big difference and Henry is much more top heavy, which affects balance (another point I didn't bring up is his lack of good balance. He goes down much more easily than he should for a big back with this much hype) I believe Melvin changes up his stride length, which I don't see from Henry.

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Rotoworld:

Per ESPN's Mel Kiper, Alabama junior RB Derrick Henry "has great feet, given his size, and can drop a shoulder and drag tacklers."

"Somewhat quietly, Henry had more total yards and a better yards-per-carry average than teammate (and second-round pick) T.J. Yeldon last season," Kiper wrote. The 6-foot-3, 241-pounder, nicknamed "El Tractorcito," ran for 990 yards as a sophomore last season. He runs a 4.50 forty.
Jul 8 - 6:47 PM

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Rotoworld:

Derrick Henry - RB - Crimson Tide

Alabama junior RB Derrick Henry's "acceleration in the open field is superior to [Eddie] Lacy's," notes NFL Media draft analyst Chad Reuter.

"You might be reminded of former Tide running back Eddie Lacy when watching Henry, given Henry's dreadlocks, size (6-3, 242) and toughness," Reuter wrote. "However, Henry's acceleration in the open field is superior to Lacy's, which gives Henry a chance to break the 1,000-yard mark in 2015 after rushing for 990 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2014." El Tractorcito runs a 4.50 forty and trains by pushing pickup trucks around.

Source: NFL.com

Jul 26 - 4:20 PM

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Big fan of Henry... doesn't have the soft hands but offers just as much promise as Lacy a few years back, he's going to crush college defenses this season. So early to make a call on NFL prospects, but if he can carry the bucket against SEC defenses in a pro-style offense, yeah that sounds pretty nice. He's not quite as big or fast as Jacobs, is he?

Brandon Jacobs was sweet anyways: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1r3yuWcd6zk (Points per truckstick devy league)

Edited by karmarooster

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Rotoworld:

Derrick Henry - RB - Crimson Tide

Alabama junior RB Derrick Henry "has the toolbox to lead the conference in rushing this season," according to CBS Sports' Dane Brugler.

"Built like a linebacker, Henry runs as big as he looks with power and toughness, and although he doesn't have the shifty burst like Yeldon, he accelerates easily and finishes behind his pads. He has also improved as a receiver and blocker and fumbled just once last season on 186 touches," Brugler wrote. The 6-foot-3, 241-pounder,lead the Crimson Tide in rushing on limited touches, rushing for 990 yards, while averaging 5.8 yards per carry as a sophomore. The super-sized Henry runs a freakish 4.50 forty.

Source: CBS Sports

Aug 12 - 3:44 PM

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Henry's about to teach Yeldon how to appropriately live up to the hype you generated as a young part-time runner, when given the starting job.

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Just scored for the third time, but his most impressive plays have been made picking up the blitz tonight. Multiple times he has absolutely stoned a blitzing linebacker.

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Daniel Jeremiah ‏@MoveTheSticks 30s30 seconds ago

Studying Alabama offense...RB Derrick Henry reminds me of Brandon Jacobs.

FieldVisionScouting‏@FVScouting 14m14 minutes ago

@MoveTheSticks Couldn't agree more, might have a slight speed edge but not much

Daniel Jeremiah ‏@MoveTheSticks 7m7 minutes ago

Daniel Jeremiah retweeted FieldVisionScouting

People forget Brandon Jacobs ran low 4.5 coming out of college.

Yup, I'm seeing same thing. Brandon Jacobs 2.0

You say that like it's a bad thing, for a college back... we should be so lucky if he puts up 19 TDs this year, like Jacobs in college, or pulls a 4.5 career rushing average in 9 NFL seasons.

Jacobs also had back to back 1,000 yard seasons, at 5.0 yards per carry in the NFL with 21 total TDs those two years (15 rushing TDs in one year!)

:shrug:

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I figured there'd be a bump for Henry today. I don't think he looked special, though. I wasn't impressed by either of his big runs. Massive holes that he just basically sprinted thru.

This guy is massive and can run, for sure. Once he gets going it's like a run away train. He seems to need to build up his speed and isnt as quick in the hole. Not a very creative runner.

I agree with tdmills that he doesn't have great balance, he seems a bit top heavy and doesn't change up his stride length.

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I'm not buying the Jacob's comp at all as I just don't see it. There are so few potential comps since his size is such an outlier but for some reason I'm thinking, and this is digging deep, Sam "Bam" Cunningham.

Edited by elguapo07

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If they haven't already started making them, be ready for inevitable Eric Dickerson comparisons.

People see the weight difference and think it's too big a gap to be apples to apples, but ED was the size of the linebackers he was playing against in college, so in terms of on-field dynamics, I think it's something to look at. The height and stride made me think ED right away.

Edited by Freelove

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If they haven't already started making them, be ready for inevitable Eric Dickerson comparisons.

People see the weight difference and think it's too big a gap to be apples to apples, but ED was the size of the linebackers he was playing against in college, so in terms of on-field dynamics, I think it's something to look at. The height and stride made me think ED right away.

Dickerson would beat Henry in a 100-yard dash if he ran backwards.

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