Our NFL rookie profile series continues with this analysis of 2019 NFL Draft Prospect Darrell Henderson, RB of Memphis. You can also check out all of our NFL Draft Prospect articles here. We will continue to provide you with these in-depth rookie profiles and a ton of other fantasy football rookie analysis right up through the NFL Draft. Stay tuned, and stay ahead of your league!
I couldn’t wait to write about Darrell Henderson. He is one of my favorite players in the 2019 NFL Draft.
He does a lot of things really well and has the explosion to be a home run hitter. Henderson is still going under the radar and we are about four weeks out from draft day. According to DLF’s March 2019 Rookie ADP, he is being drafted towards the middle to back end of the first round, but that may change once we find out where Josh Jacobs, Damien Harris, David Montgomery and others land.
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I have already written about Josh Jacobs and the fact he had so little college production. That could not be more different for Henderson.
Statistics from sports-reference.com.
Henderson absolutely tore it up at the University of Memphis. He was an Associated Press first-team All-American in 2018, and finished second in the country with 1,909 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns on only 214 carries. Yes, I know what you are thinking: “Levi, you idiot. That can’t be correct”. Let me reassure you, it is… and don’t call me an idiot.
The speedster averaged 8.9 yards per carry in 2018. Better yet, he averaged 8.9 yards per carry over the last two years combined (344 carries total). That is some serious production. Henderson ended up with 2,204 yards from scrimmage and 25 total touchdowns in 2018 (in just 13 games). If you are looking for production, you have found your man.
Darrell Henderson may be a bit undersized, but he sure doesn’t run like it.
It can be easy to mistake him for Dalvin Cook 2.0 at times while watching his tape.
— Levi Chappell (@LeviChappell) March 27, 2019
There are a lot of great traits that jump off the film. You don’t average almost nine yard per carry without possessing some elite skills. But Henderson’s main knock will certainly be the competition he played against for most of his career.
He is really fast and the numbers he put up in the last two years are hard to ignore, but scouts will be wondering if his skills will translate when he faces the big boys. When you look at a lot of his touchdown runs, the front seven or eight players on the other team do not seem to be offering much opposition. On the other hand, we would expect great players to dominate lesser opponents, and that is exactly what Henderson did for the past two years.
I won’t just be a Debbie Downer today… a couple of the positives are 1. he has explosive athleticism and knows where to find the hole in order to break a big play downfield and 2. he has a knack for breaking those big plays.
When you look at Henderson’s spider graph courtesy of MockDraftable, you notice a couple of things off the bat. One main worry will be his size and that is clear on the graph. I’m not sure I would classify him as “small”, but he is on the smaller side. At 5’8” and 208 lbs, he would be projected to fill more of a change-of-pace/third-down back role, but I do think his skills project him to be a starting running back in the NFL.
Something I found very interesting when watching Henderson’s tape is how much he looked like Dalvin Cook when he ran the ball. Of course the dreadlocks help, but they both have a somewhat upright running style and look effortless when they are breaking away from defenders.
While Henderson is a bit undersized for the “ideal” three-down back, players like Phillip Lindsay and Christian McCaffrey are changing the idea of what we used to think running backs had to look like. Henderson is a sleeper in this year’s draft.
In DLF’s March 2019 Rookie ADP, Henderson is being drafted on average as the eighth overall player (RB3). He has been drafted as high as number five and as low as number 15. I would be shocked to see him make it out of the first round in a rookie draft, and would be comfortable selecting him as high as number six right now. Do not count on selecting Henderson with a second round pick… it won’t happen.
All in all, I am a believer in Henderson. I think his sturdy frame will be enough for NFL teams to consider him as a starting running back and he will put on some more mass once he hits the NFL’s “Get Swole” lifting regime.
When I watch him play, I see parts of Johnson and Cook, and those are two good names to be associated with. If you have a mid first rounder in your rookie draft, I would urge you to consider drafting Henderson. Depending on the landing spot, he could have a real impact in his rookie year.
I think Philadelphia makes a lot of sense as a landing spot, and I could also see the Oakland Raiders or the Kansas City Chiefs looking to acquire his services.
Follow me on Twitter @LeviChappell.