Dynasty Prospect Profile: Darrell Henderson
Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis
(percentile rank among all RBs at the Combine since 1999, courtesy of mockdraftable.com):
40-yard dash: 4.49 seconds (70th)
Vertical: 33.5” (37th)
Broad: 121” (71st)
20-yard shuttle: DNP
This former Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year drew interest from Southern Miss., Georgia State and Middle Tennessee, among others. But he wound up traveling north to play ball at Memphis.
And ball he did.
After a promising freshman campaign, Henderson broke out in 2017 with a massive 8.9 YPC average. He finished 2nd nationwide in rushing yards.
Come 2018, Henderson proved he wasn’t a one year wonder. This time, the 208-pounder led the country in all-purpose yards and total scores. He did so despite missing most of the Missouri game with a tweaked hamstring.
As we’ll see in his cutups, Henderson routinely punished defenses with long runs. In fact, he led the country with 12 rushes of 40+ yards in 2018.
Henderson racked up 494 career touches but tallied only 4 fumbles. So while he measured with extremely small hands — ~8” — there’s little cause for concern.
Regarding workloads, it’s interesting to note that Henderson never saw workhorse touches. That’s likely due to his build. But let’s at least acknowledge his teammates’ performances (and volume) in the same offense:
Patrick Taylor Jr.
157 carries, 866 yards, (5.5 YPC), 13 TDs … 19 catches, 148 yards, (7.8 YPC), 1 TD
30 carries, 230 yards, (7.7 YPC), 2 TDs … 36 catches, 536 yards, (14.9 YPC), 4 TDs
Patrick Taylor Jr.
208 carries, 1,122 yards, (5.4 YPC), 16 TDs … 17 catches, 197 yards, (11.6 YPC), 2 TDs
78 carries, 552 yards, (7.1 YPC), 6 TDs … 39 catches, 458 yards, (11.7 YPC), 3 TDs
Taylor, listed at 6’3, 223 pounds, is heading back to Memphis for another season. Pollard — a versatile athlete — is draft eligible and drew an Andre Roberts comp from NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein.
Whatever the case, Henderson certainly looked fresh during his time at Memphis...
Games watched: Navy, UCF, Georgia State, Houston, SMU (2017)
“I run hard, and I try to take everything to the house. It ain’t about the competition. I can compete with anyone in any league."
That's what Henderson said earlier this month, shortly after the NFL Combine. While trying to do too much might be a knock against him in the pros, there's no questioning his explosive ability.
While there's typically a sizable hole to hit, Henderson also shows the talent to make guys miss. Per Pro Football Focus, he ranks 2nd in this class in Breakaway Percentage -- 1st in Elusive Rating.
Here's just a sample of his long-distance runs:
You get the point. Henderson has a skill set that can return value on limited touches.
Consider it an upset if Henderson doesn't develop into a valuable pass catcher. The clip below shows him as a natural receiver -- and explosive in space. Overall, Henderson totally destroyed Navy last September, posting 13-212-3 rushing and this 18-yard grab...
The 21-year-old has plenty to prove as a pass protector. He's short with slightly below average arms (per Combine measurements). But as we saw on the ground, he's proven reliable when given chances to make plays. Pro Football Focus didn't charge him with any drops.
Henderson might have trouble breaking tackles at the next level, but it's worth noting how he finished #4 in this class in forced missed tackles per attempt (0.27). That trailed only David Montgomery (0.39), Devin Singletary (0.36) and Darwin Thompson (0.32).
Here's an example of the punishment he can deliver when a defender is caught flat-footed.
Henderson's size will put a natural cap on his NFL ceiling. Don't bet on him developing into a 20-touch per game back.
But that's clearly not in issue in today's NFL. In 2018, RB2s averaged 212 touches over a 16-game season. That’s 13.3 per game — a number attainable for Henderson within his first few seasons.
Of course, landing spot will be key. But in a role where Henderson sees touches in space -- similar to how the Saints use Alvin Kamara or the Bears use Tarik Cohen -- it's easy to see this Memphis product quickly gaining redraft steam.