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Could Derrick Henry be the Titans' and Mike Mularkey's next workhorse?

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Henry is a unique runner that could be in play for the Titans at pick 33.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

School: Alabama (Junior)

Position: Running Back

Size: 6-3, 238 pounds

Production: 2015: 395 car, 2219 yards (SEC Record), 28 TDs

Positives

  • Massive, sturdy, punishing frame.
  • Truly rare combination of size and athletic ability.  Plenty of flexibility and above average burst.
  • Shocking and deceptive pure speed.  Eats up safety angles once into the second level.  Routinely leaves defensive backs in the dust behind him.  Henry reportedly ran a 4.5 flat last offseason.
  • Outstanding patience, allowing his blocks to setup and clear the way.
  • Showed zero signs of letting up late in games -- regularly handling the ball 30+ times or more.
  • Better than expected foot quickness, allowing him to change direction, plant and explode.
  • Momentum runner. Once he hits his third stride, he becomes a runaway freight train. Not many defensive backs are going to sign up to get in front of him.
Negatives
  • The NFL usually hates tall backs.  Look around the NFL, what do you see?  Not a lot of taller backs out there.
  • Lacks some agility and "wiggle."
  • Can he create when things don't open up for him?  I saw some of this, but I would like to see more. Alabama's offensive line was hands down the best in the country.  Henry didn't have to create much because of how dominant his line was in front of him.  His offensive line advantage was the best it will ever be at Alabama.
  • Inexperienced as a pass catcher.
Examples

This sums up Henry's style in one snap.  Henry sees the hole develop and plants while shedding an arm tackler. He gets to the alley and is met with contact, which he runs through. He goes on to gain ten more yards, dragging two defenders with him.


Big lane(s) for Henry here, but watch as he plants and explodes through the second level. He then is able to turn the corner against two defensive backs, who struggle to keep up.  He doesn't look like he's moving all that quickly, but he keeps running away from defenders.


Here's a look at Henry when things break down.  There isn't a hole here, so Henry is forced to improvise. Check out his feet on this rep.  He shuffles while breaking a tackle and is able to plant and explode through an alley that he finds on the right side. He then finishes the run with power.


Overview

Derrick Henry is truly one of a kind as a runner.  People are going to argue over comparisons for him throughout the process, but we shouldn't force one.  Derrick Henry is Derrick Henry.  I don't mind comps if they are obvious, but don't immediately label him as Brandon Jacobs because he's 6-3.

Henry's blend of power, speed and size is rare.  He's a load to bring down in space and has legitimate game speed that makes him a homerun hitter, which seems weird to say.  I'm a little concerned with his ability to create on his own consistently, but he's at least flashed an ability to do just that as I showed you above.  Henry's landing spot will be a huge story to follow on draft weekend.  He's already mentioned that he wants to play for the Dallas Cowboys.

Would I take him at 33 overall? I wouldn't.  I have gave Henry a second round grade, but I feel like the Titans have bigger needs to address at the top of day two.  Plus with the running back class of 2017 coming, I don't want any prior investments keeping me from taking a Fournette, Cook, Hurd, McCaffrey, etc.

However, Mike Mularkey's success with Michael Turner in Atlanta was the basis of that entire offensive attack.  I don't think the Titans have that type of runner on the roster right now, which makes Henry a very real option.

Round grade: 2nd round

Expected draft range: Top 50