RUNNING BACK Derrick Henry (2nd Round, 45th Overall)
Positives: If you could enter a lab and craft the ideal back for an offense centered around the philosophy of a power running game and imposition of will, you would probably make someone similar to Derrick Henry. While he understandably wasn’t the unstoppable force we saw at Alabama, Henry had a productive rookie season and consistently showed the ability to break tackles and move piles.
The biggest knocks on Henry during last year’s draft process were his lack of lateral agility and inability to consistently make plays catching the ball out of the backfield. He isn’t LeSean McCoy or Darren Sproles, but Henry definitely showed during his rookie year that he can make quality cuts in the hole and be productive on passing plays.
Henry’s biggest success came in the red zone, where he was a force to be reckoned with. He scored five touchdowns as a rookie, a few of them with defenders wrapped around his legs as he crossed the goal line. As he continues to get more opportunities, he will continue to impress.
Negatives: Even in a run-first offense, it’s difficult to maintain value as a back when you’re second on the depth chart behind a Pro Bowler. DeMarco Murray was fantastic in his first year as a Titan, and he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Barring a catastrophic injury to Murray, it’s difficult to foresee Henry getting a significantly increased workload in year two.
Aside from playing time, something that Henry’s rookie year lacked was big plays. His longest run was for 22 yards. His longest reception was for 29. If Henry wants to take away some of Murray’s carries next year, he’ll need to prove that he can be much more explosive.