How Derrick Henry Could Pass DeMarco Murray on the Depth Chart

NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 19: Derrick Henry
NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 19: Derrick Henry /

Can Derrick Henry Pass DeMarco Murray on the Tennessee Titans Depth Chart?

Ever since Derrick Henry was drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft, fans have speculated when he could overtake DeMarco Murray for featured back duties. Straight out of the gate, fans expected the two to split carries in year one; that didn’t happen. Fast forward to present day and fans around the NFL think this will be the year Henry beats out Murray. Even some fans in the Titans community believe this. However, head coach Mike Mularkey has a firm stance on there being no competition for the spot. So what has to happen for Henry to take this job?


Murray isn’t exactly injury prone, but he has had to deal with nagging injuries throughout his career. Murray has even had to sit out the first two preseason games of 2017 due to a tight hamstring. During this time, Henry has rushed 24 times for 65 yards, which only amounts to a 2.7 yards per carry average.

While the numbers aren’t impressive, Henry showed deceptive quickness rushing around the edge, and provided a challenge for defenders trying to tackle him. If Murray sustained a season-ending injury, Henry would have his opportunity.

Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans /

Tennessee Titans

If Murray were to sustain a nagging injury that limited his on-field ability, Henry could also have an opportunity to win the job. Titans fans shouldn’t hope for this though.

As it stands, the Titans can use Murray to wear defenses out for three quarters, and then put a fresh Henry in after a defense is already tired. Although this is a great combination and strategy, Henry can still carve out a bigger role for himself. Currently, Henry is on clean-up duty and a rotational piece, but using him as a third down back and in goal line situations would help give him more experience. With his size, speed, and improved hands, he could create big mismatches for opposing defenses.


Henry is already one of the most talented players on the Titans roster, but the scary thing is that he has room to grow and improve. Murray is under contract with the Titans for the next two seasons. The Titans could use Henry as trade bait next season if Henry takes a step forward in 2017.

Once Henry gets a full head of steam, he’s near impossible to bring down. The problem is that Henry doesn’t find that steam until he gets to the second level. In an ideal situation, Henry will learn how to build up momentum and have a full head of steam once he hits the line of scrimmage.

There are only two ways to tackle Henry: gang tackle or hit him low. The latter, Henry can improve his odds on. Improving on his foot quickness and footwork would help him stay up when defenders hit him low.

Henry is already a good back. If he can improve on these two things he would go from good to great! We now know Henry can catch the ball, but we need to see more from him in pass protection. Once Henry becomes as good at blocking as he is at running the football, the Titans will have a young, well-rounded, do-it-all running back.