The Wild Card: Derrick Henry Scouting Report

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Derrick Henry, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama had a great overall showing at the NFL Scouting Combine and also flashed impressive hands at his March 9th pro day. Is Henry’s jaw dropping post-season workouts enough to earn him a late first-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft?

Derrick Henry | Running Back, Alabama

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Height – 6′ 3″
Weight – 247 lbs.
Age – 21 yrs.

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At First Glance

2016 Heisman Trophy Winner.
First Team All-American.
SEC Offensive Player of the Year.
MVP of the SEC Championship Game.
Walter Camp Player of the Year.
Doak Walker and Maxwell Award Winner.


Projected Round:

2nd Round

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Rare combination of size, power and breakaway speed.

Extremely difficult to stop when he gets a head of steam moving forward.

Breaks tackles when moving through the first and second levels of a defense.

Excellent pass blocker with good football IQ and instincts to pick up blitzes.

Great ball security.

Good vision to find creases, and has the plant-and-go burst to explode upfield quickly.

Violent runner who can wear down a defense as the game goes on.

Natural hands as a pass catcher.

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Strictly a north and south runner lacking the wiggle and flexibility to make defenders miss.

Runs too upright with little bend in his lower body.

His tall frame, long legs and a narrow base is not the prototypical NFL running back body type.

Limited lateral quickness and ability to move from one running lane to another.

Alabama’s dominant offensive line helped contribute to Henry’s success.

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NFL Player Comparison:

Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants


The Vikings Slant

Vikings fit? Maybe

The biggest wild card in Rick Spielman’s hand could be what he sees in Derrick Henry. Drafting Henry would give the Vikings plenty of insurance for the future at the running back position and would help transition the face of the franchise from Adrian Peterson to Teddy Bridgewater.

The combination of Henry and Jerrick McKinnon would create a versatile and explosive “young” double threat. Henry’s power and McKinnon’s quick, shifty change of pace style would give the Vikings a new, exciting and dangerous two-headed rushing attack for years to come.

Henry is not Trent Richardson or Eddie Lacy, so to stereotype him as just another big Alabama back is imprudent. Spielman’s willingness to embrace Henry’s unique style and rare qualities as a running back will ultimately determine his fit and value with the Vikings.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban certainly likes Henry’s skill set.

“I think when you look at Derrick Henry you have to get past the style points and style issue,” Saban said. “He’s a unique guy with a unique style. He’s got great length, he’s got a great stiff arm, he’s really hard to tackle, and he’s really, really fast. He can catch the ball. He’s a really good receiver. And he can block. So if you don’t have this sort of pigeon-hole perception of what a running back needs to be, and you can get past all that and just look at the production, you’ll be wise in terms of how you look at Derrick Henry and what his performance will be for you down the road.”

Exactly what Spielman, Norv Turner or Mike Zimmer think about Henry as a potential fit is yet to be determined, but I can say that no prospect in the late first-round offers the change-the-fabric-of-the-Vikings kind of impact more so than what Henry would bring to the organization. And if you are stuck on Trent Richardson as a comparison, it might also be interesting to note that Richardson had his best season as a pro in 2012 under Pat Shurmur in Cleveland.

Henry in the late first-round is ok with me, but I still favor Taylor Decker, Jack Conklin and Josh Doctson a little more.[/vc_column_text]