Darrell Henderson Fantasy
Let me introduce you to the most explosive back in this years class, Darrell Henderson. Henderson is a 5’09 200 pound junior out of Memphis who has chosen to forego his senior year for his shot at the NFL. He is coming off a year where he constantly ripped off big plays time and time again, taking 214 carries for 1,909 yards and 22 touchdowns for a YPC of 8.9. The lazy take for a kid of his stature is that he will never make it in the NFL at his current size. I’m not one of those people. Let me educate you below on why after watching his tape, that I have Henderson as my RB3 for this year’s class.
- 200 lbs
- Age: 21
Henderson ran for 36 touchdowns in his three-year tenure with Memphis, with 22 of them coming in 2018. But that’s not the only way his name has shown up on a scoreboard in his career. Rushing for a touchdown is only one way to get on a scoreboard…but Henderson has gotten on the scoreboard four different ways throughout his career. Not only does he have multiple rushing and receiving touchdowns, but Henderson also has a kickoff return touchdown as well as a passing touchdown! Not saying Henderson is going to be the next Taysom Hill and be a jack of all trades type player (Although Henderson also has a forced fumble to his name) but you have to appreciate the various ways he put points on the board throughout his career.
NFL Combine Recap
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Strength & Weaknesses
When going through film on Henderson, it is obvious that he has true game-breaking ability. He is blessed with exceptional speed and acceleration that for sure plays a part in that aspect of his game. He is one of those guys that no matter what he runs in the 40-yard dash, you can’t look too much into it because on film he has shown elite game-breaking speed. But what I found most tantalizing is not a physical trait, but a mental one. His vision. Henderson’s vision is incredible. He has the innate ability to read the second level before he even gets across the first. Henderson wastes no time behind the line of scrimmage, seeing his hole and hitting it hard and fast. Like a Chess player, Henderson is able to think one step ahead of the linebackers and safeties. Upon the handoff, Henderson looks like he is shot out of a cannon, finding the best initial running lane with ease, while angling himself in a position to succeed once he reaches the second level, which results in the big plays that we are used to seeing out of him. Henderson gets “skinny” through the hole and can knife through light contact, squeezing his way to the next level.
He is surprisingly physical for a guy of his stature, very rarely going down on first contact. One on One he will almost never get knocked backwards or get caught in a stalemate, seeming to always fall forward upon contact, and I find that important in evaluating a running back. Henderson possesses elite balance and is able to “pinball ” his way through contact and stay on his feet on his way to big gains. He is slept on for his ability to run between the tackles. In fact, it seems he thrives between the tackles as opposed to wasting time running laterally to the outside. He reminds me of Michael Turner in his prime in the way he runs. Finding his hole quickly and bursting into the second level for large chunk gains, while not being afraid to punch a defender in the mouth if he has to.
To me, Henderson possesses little to no red flags that impact how highly I view him as a prospect. But if I had to pick where Henderson may have a problem, it would be his pass protection. His size does not translate well to the NFL when it is going to come to blocking guys like J.J Watt, Von Miller etc… But in his defense, he was not really asked to do much pass protection in the Memphis offense, so you can’t completely write him off just based off his size. Henderson has 63 receptions through his three years with Memphis which is a pretty solid number. Most of them were shorter type passes like screens etc… but when given the opportunity in the passing game, he was dangerous in the open field. Henderson did not really have much film to go off of in terms of downfield pass catching ability so it’s hard to grade him on that, but he did make some good adjustments on a few downfield receptions that I saw. This just means he will have to show out in the combine and his Pro-Day in his strength and pass catching ability, to help alleviate some of the above-mentioned concerns.
The best fit for Henderson will be a team who has an established offensive line already in place, that can push defenders back allowing Henderson to utilize that exceptional vision/speed combination he has to accelerate into the second level. When his offensive line didn’t get a favorable push, that’s when Henderson tended to struggle a bit. I don’t want to say that he can’t create on his own, but he is at his best when his offensive line is playing above average. A creative, offensive minded coach, who is well balanced in his play calling would be the best fit for Henderson. He is a playmaker who will be able to do more than just run, so I really don’t want to see him go into a strictly run-based offense that doesn’t utilize their backs in the receiving game, as I think that could limit his true potential. Henderson would be best off going to a team with a slightly bigger back, preferably a vet, who can check in on short yardage downs and handle themselves in pass protection. While he may be part of a committee to start his NFL career, I think he can succeed earlier than expected if paired with a self-less backfield mate (For example, what Mark Ingram was to Alvin Kamara) who can show him the ropes and best prepare him to be the guy, either by the halfway mark of the season or going into 2020. Some teams that make sense are the Texans, Ravens, Bears, Chiefs, Bills, and Buccaneers to name a few.
For your Dynasty Rookie Drafts, Henderson is going to be a surefire first-round pick. Where he lands, is going to determine how high or low in the first round that you are picking him. If he lands in a perfect scenario, the only guys I’m taking over him are Harry, Metcalf, and Harmon at receiver and Montgomery and Jacobs at running back, also assuming they land in great scenarios. It would not be surprising if come the Draft, Henderson leapfrog’s one of those guys either. In Henderson, you will be getting a potential upside RB2 if all goes right. I believe Henderson’s game translates well to the fantasy world and as I said above, if he lands with a creative coach, he will surprise many with his receiving production. Thirty plus receptions is a real possibility for Henderson, added onto the rushing work he is going to receive makes for a productive asset to your dynasty squad. As it stands, Henderson is my current RB3 and the above-mentioned reasons are why. So take a long hard look at him come draft time, and watch your fantasy team succeed as a result.
Thanks for reading