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The Giants might not draft Memphis RB Darrell Henderson, but they should be paying attention

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Will super Darrell Henderson bring his production from Memphis to New York?

NCAA Football: Tulsa at Memphis Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants are probably set at running back. With Saquon Barkley taking the vast majority of running back touches, they struggled to find touches for number two back Wayne Gallman Jr. and fullback Elijhaa Penny.

It is possible that the Giants believe they can find a reasonable upgrade to the straightforward Gallman as Barkley’s back-up (or a replacement for Paul Perkins). More likely, the Giants would want to keep an eye on the 2019 running back class to help inform their draft board and predict where players at other positions might fall.

But in either case, we can’t just ignore the running backs because the Giants took Barkley at second overall in 2018 and he had a fantastic rookie season.

Unsurprisingly, running backs from Alabama make appearances in the top five of the running back depth chart (as it stands now). But in the middle of them is Darrell Henderson out of Memphis. Henderson enters the 2019 draft as one of the most productive backs in the country, and his school’s history. He figures to rate highly on most (if not all) draft boards.

In any case, it would be a good idea to be familiar with him.

Measurables

Pros

  • Solid vision. Sees holes develop and commits quickly.
  • Sudden out of his breaks. Little wasted motion.
  • Not afraid to run behind his pads.
  • Great contact balance. Isn’t easily tripped up by arm tackles and is difficult to bring down.
  • Has enough speed to get the edge on outside zone runs.
  • Able to move around the offensive formation. Lined up at slot and wide reciever.
  • Very productive. 2,200 yards, 25 touchdowns on 233 total touches in 2017.

Cons

  • Might be considered too small to be an every-down back by some teams.
  • Willing, but blocking is an issue. Can be run over in pass protection.
  • Doesn’t have the power to push a pile.

Numbers Of Note

[Dan]

Prospect Video

What They’re Saying

“Henderson isn’t big by NFL running back standards, and he isn’t a super-shifty, make-you-miss-on-every-snap type of player. Also, he doesn’t look like a sub 4.40 guy. All of those aspects of his game will work against him during the draft process.

However, he’s certainly not a plodding runner, and he has tremendous vision and anticipatory skills to notice when blockers are split seconds away from creating a massive lane. Beyond that, he gets into top gear rapidly and is a no-nonsense, North-South runner in the open field.

And his contact balance is elite ... linebackers and especially cornerbacks are going to have a difficult time bringing Henderson down at the second and third levels of the defense even if they’re under control and get both hands on him.”

- CBS Sports

Does He Fit The Giants?

In theory, Henderson is a fit for the Giants’ offense. His outstanding contact ballance and ability to play in either zone or man-gap runs are a good fit for what the Giants want to do on the ground, and his flexibility to line up at receiver is also an advantage in the Giants’ offense.

In practice, however, the Giants are going to be looking for running backs (or at least they shouldn’t) -- at least not as highly as Henderson is going to be drafted.

He doesn’t have the size to get scouts excited, but he is extraordinarily difficult to bring down with the ball in his hands. Henderson will simply run through arm tackles and bounce off shoulder checks. Really, he is unlikely to be brought down by anything but a good, secure form tackle. It is little wonder then that he has been so productive the last two seasons. Each year he has averaged an impressive 8.9 yards on the ground, and despite receiving just 233 combined touches last year, he racked up 2204 yards and 25 touchdowns.

It is very unlikely that Henderson is a Giant in 2019, but he is going to make some lucky offensive coordinator very happy.