Darrell Henderson: 2019 NFL Draft Running Back Profile

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A Look At Darrell Henderson, A Potential Running Back Option For The Detroit Lions In The 2019 NFL Draft.


Darrell Henderson is one of the favorite backs among the NFL Draft community. With 1909 yards rushing, another 295 yards receiving, and 25 total touchdowns in his final collegiate career, the production is very enticing, and his home run ability is jaw-dropping at times.

At 5’8″ and 208 pounds, Darrell Henderson is a little undersized, but his frame is compact, and he doesn’t run like an undersized back. He is tough between the tackles and has nice contact balance for a player of his size. He doesn’t go down easily to arm tackles and will bounce off of defenders that don’t try to wrap him up.

Henderson has good top end speed. His speed looked elite at times, and he was always a threat to take a run to the house, but his 40-yard dash at the Combine came in at 4.49s. That is still a really nice time, but he isn’t the speed demon that he may have appeared to be on tape. It is still one of his best assets, and will still have big play potential in the NFL.

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Darrell Henderson catches the ball well out of the backfield, can catch the ball away from his frame, and seems to have solid hands. This is an area where he will certainly contribute at the NFL level. Unfortunately, Henderson doesn’t excel in pass protection, and his size may limit how effective he can ever be in this area, even with coaching at the next level. This may limit his passing down opportunities, despite his ability to catch the ball.

His body control through the line of scrimmage is excellent. He shows a knack for getting skinny between the tackles and contorting his body to minimize contact area when defenders try to make tackles at the line of scrimmage. Combined with his balance, these things make him more effective between the tackles than you would expect for a player of his size.

Darrell Henderson is an upright runner. Surprisingly, this doesn’t seem to affect his balance, but it does seem to affect his lateral agility. Despite his frame, his speed, and his acceleration, Darrell Henderson doesn’t seem to be very elusive in open space. He seems more slippery than he is elusive, and he wins more with his straight-line speed than he does with moves in open field.

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Henderson’s speed is good, it should be a positive asset for him at the next level, but his speed isn’t good enough that it can be the only way that he wins at the next level. His contact balance is admirable, but his size suggests that it won’t be as strong a trait in the NFL as it was in college. Runners of his size have to be able to win one-on-one matchups in the open field with lateral agility and elusiveness.

Henderson doesn’t appear to do that.

I’m not as much of a fan of Darrell Henderson as many others in the draft community, but I definitely think that he will find a nice role as a change of pace back. That could be in Detroit. He’s not going to be a third-down-specific back, but he can catch the ball well, presents the threat of a big play, and can run between the tackles. I’m not sure that any of his traits are going to be game-breakers at the next level, but Henderson is a well rounded back that should be able to contribute in all areas of the game.

As a backup to Kerryon Johnson, this is a really nice fit. If Kerryon Johnson went down with injury, he could still work in tandem with another back. Overall, while I’m not as blown away by Darrell Henderson’s game as I thought I might be, I think he could be a nice fit in Detroit if he slips to the later rounds of the NFL Draft.

Other profiles in this series:

Miles Sanders, Running Back, Penn State

David Montgomery, Running Back, Iowa State

Justice Hill, Running Back, Oklahoma State

Devin Singletary, Running Back, FAU

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About the Author

Sean Lanigan
I love fantasy football, fantasy baseball, music, books, video games, and all things nerd. I'm a big football fan and a bigger Detroit Lions fan. I was born in Michigan but have spent the vast majority of my life living in Viking and Packer country. If you are a Lions fan in Minnesota, hit me up, and let's watch some football.