2019 RB Prospects: Darrell Henderson Edition

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Since Hunt’s dismissal from the team I’ve been curious what the team would do going forward. I’d like to think the current running backs on the team answered the call to the best of their abilities but might not cut it next year. Damien Williams really showed up when called upon, I think he’s the starting running back in 2019. Ware did an ‘OK’ job…. but he didn’t look as explosive as once before and finally got sidelined with more injures. West, as much as I love to say let the Chark Swim, just isn’t the answer for the Chiefs and Darrel Williams is a similar style back to Ware without the injury history. All that is to say, I think the Chiefs might use a draft pick on a running back this year.

So in the next few weeks I’m going to briefly cover a few running backs that could be wearing red and gold in 2019. Here’s some things I look for in the running back position:

Explosion in and out of cuts
Vision the ability to see and manipulate a hole before it develops, think Jamaal Charles
Patience ties in with vision
Pass block ability boring, but its a must have in the NFL
Truckability the ability to smack a dude and keep on truckin’
Pass Catching has plus hands
Contact balance keeping your feet under you while getting hit, Hunt had this in spades
Toughness is he Thomas Jones or Knile Davis?

Darrell Henderson

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As I mentioned above I’ve been looking at running backs for awhile now, and it didn’t take long to notice Darrell Henderson’s abilities. He’s the type of athlete that people can point to and say he has that “it” factor. Some athletes are more subtle in their movements, Travis Kelce would be a great example here, and some are Sudden with their movement. Henderson is definitely the latter.
After watching a bit of film on Henderson, let me just start by saying Darrell Henderson is a space player. What I mean by that is if you can get him a little room, he will create and create very quickly. Now I don’t want to discredit him here, he can absolutely run between the tackles. He’s not just a screen guy or a pass catcher. I just think hes better off sharing the load instead of being a 25 touch a game player.
Henderson has some of the best explosive traits of any running back I’ve watched this year. He has that great burst and explosiveness to go from slow or stopped to full throttle in just a step or two. One quick semi knock on him is after up to full speed he isn’t going to be running away from people. He’s not slow but he isn’t a burner either.
Henderson has great vision and toughness when fighting for extra yards, and good contact balance. He will need to work on his pass blocking as do a lot of running backs coming out of college. Darrell is a tad undersized at 5’9 and 200 lbs but he wins often with toughness and pad level. Obviously only being 5’9 helps the pad level but he has a forward lean when he runs which helps as well . To the stats and gifs we go.

College Production at Memphis


If I didn’t say anything about him or show you any gifs and just posted this chart, I think I could make my case for drafting a running back early. “Would you just look at this? Just look at it. Just look at it.” (Bonus point for someone telling me where this is from in the comments) Seriously though, its a chart and its pretty clear there has been some increasingly stellar production here. Moving on to to the reason you all came, the Gifs.

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I’d just like to say, I wish GIFs had sound because there is a noticeable “Pop” in this video. Henderson demonstrates a few things here. First is explosive moment. He takes an angle with some noticeable burst towards the line, which forces the linebackers to come up, then he slows and waits for a pulling guard to get into position (you could argue manipulation of the hole here, aka vision). Once the guard is in position, Henderson explodes again through the hole like a missile into the waiting arms of a poor defensive back, knocking truckin’ him to the ground for the first down. That’s tough fun football.

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This is an example of a zone running play that Darrell houses.
Henderson shows great vision , burst through the hole, and one of those highlight reel cuts. The play is designed to go to the outside but the defense closes quickly outside. Darrell sees this, gets skinny, and cuts inside behind the center. After that he sets that poor safety up for a dirt sandwich by running at him with a slight lean, once the safety commits Darrell one cuts and its over.

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Henderson is at the top of your screen, in the slot. The route isn’t anything to get to excited about but that catch is real real nice.
Darrell’s adjustment to the ball, his tracking of the ball over the opposite shoulder, and the balance to keep his feet under him to score is special. A lot of running backs can’t do this.

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Well you get to see a lot here. Tackling breaking ability, explosive jump cut, then enough wiggle to get a linebacker to tackle nothing but air. Henderson might not be a Saquon Barkley but hes got some cuts. Lastly Henderson finishes it off and he out runs the last two guys and scores. Its a beaut.

Henderson is likely going to be a good fit in the modern NFL spread offense and could be quite productive early. He has a unique blend of abilities that he uses to set up defenders and then exploit them. I want to tell you who he reminds me of but I won’t at least not yet.
If I were Brett Veach I’m looking hard in the bottom of second round at him, he is definitely a day two pick to me and I’m not sure he is around much past the top of the 3rd. We shall see what the combine brings as far as attention and how he tests.