Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers Prospect Profile: Derrick Henry RB

The Panthers have already expressed interest in Alabama running back Derrick Henry with their schedule visit. And with his proven stat line against some of the collegiate level's best defenses, full trophy case and bruising running style, Carolina could make Henry their guy at pick 30.

College Stats/Awards

Derrick Henry compiled a long list of accolades in his three years at Alabama and a stat line to accompany them. He rushed for 42 touchdowns and a total of 3,591 yards on 603 carries; nearly six yards per touch. Most of those numbers came from last season when Henry dominated the college ranks with 2,219 yards and 28 touchdowns which led to him winning the Heisman Trophy as well as the Doak Walker, Maxwell and Walter Camp Player of the Year Awards. Not to mention he ran rampant on Clemson in the National Title game (36 carries/158 yards/3 touchdowns).

Combine/Pro Day Results

Event

NFL Combine

Pro Day

40-yard Dash

4.54 sec

N/A

Bench Press

22 reps

N/A

Vertical Jump

37 in

N/A

Broad Jump

130 in

N/A

3-Cone Drill

7.2 sec

N/A

20-yard Shuttle

4.38 sec

N/A

60-yard Shuttle

11.5

N/A

 

Strengths

Henry is a straight up monster. He’s a 6’3” 250lb running back who runs a 4.54 forty but looks even faster once he gets into the open field during real gameplay. He also is a workhorse (395 carries in ‘15), capable of carrying the ball well above 20 times per game and dominating in the process with little to no regression in energy. His rare size-speed combo makes him a menace to bring down and he makes solid cuts at the second level despite his size.

Weaknesses

While his workhorse, never-tired play style in college was impressive and proved he can carry a full offensive load, it’s also a cause for concern with a young running back fresh off a nearly 400 touch season. His size is also somewhat of a double-edged sword too. He’s a top-heavy runner who can get tripped up fairly easily and lacks adequate moves to evade tacklers in the backfield. And even though the NFL is trending toward more running back duos as opposed to one three-down back, Henry is essentially a nonfactor in the passing game with subpar hands.

How he fits with the Panthers?

A massive force in the backfield with superb downhill running; yeah, he would fit in with the Panthers just fine. The team has already expressed interest in Henry as they have a scheduled visit coming up. Carolina already has one of the better backs in the league with Jonathan Stewart who’s fresh off a 989 yard, six touchdown year in which he carried the load and rushed for 20+ carries in eight straight games during the middle of the year. But Stewart is already 29 and even in a great 2015, missed the final three games due to injury. And the Panthers also have second-year player Cameron Artis-Payne and Fozzy Whittaker so they don’t have a pressing need at running back.

But at pick number 30, Dave Gettleman and company will almost assuredly be going the “best player available” route with their pick and that could easily wind up being Henry. Last year saw the team select a linebacker, a position of strength, with their first pick because he was the top player left and this year looks like that strategy could be repeated. And frankly, the opportunity to pair Henry with Cam Newton, quite the running threat himself, looks impossible to pass up.


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