2007 Draft: Patriots Look At Another Burner

The New England Patriots need to find a running back of the future... oops, nevermind they have that... so why then are they looking at another top back in the Draft? And why give him a personal workout? Hmm.....

At the Arizona Wildcats pro day, draft-eligible running back Chris Henry elected not to take part in the measurable drills.

But that didn't stop him from receiving the bulk of attention from NFL teams after the session was over. The New England Patriots are among a group of teams that are expected to have Henry in for a visit, a league source told Scout.com. The Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills are also expected to visit with Henry, and the Philadelphia Eagles are also showing an interest in him as well.

Despite being ranked only ninth among running backs, according to Scout.com's 2007 draft rankings, Henry possesses a muscular build that produced impressive runs at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. He clocked 4.33 and 4.40 times at Indianapolis, the best among the running backs in this year's draft class who were invited to the Combine. He also bench pressed 225 pounds 26 times. His Combine performance vaulted him from the 28th-best prospect at running back to ninth.

Henry's decision to enter the draft before his senior season of football turned heads at Arizona, as he only produced 581 yards rushing last season, but 380 of those came in the final four games.

"I just feel that it is my time to move on," Henry told WildcatInsider.com of his decision to declare himself eligible for the 2007 draft. "I have seen a lot of things on the internet about me leaving because of my grades are terrible or because I got a big head after having a good end to the season and that is all just bull. I have thought it through and I think that this is the best thing for me personally to do."

Henry said his decision to leave early also had nothing to do with the coaches or a new scheme. He simply felt he was ready for the NFL. His speed and physique support his desire, but the lack of production may hurt his status. Not so according to Scout.com insiders who feel that Henry is on a rapid ascent up draft boards across the league.

Arizona running back Chris Henry (19) breaks away from Stanford safety Brandon Harrison, right, for a touchdown in the first quarter of a college football game Saturday, Oct. 14, 2006, in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

The Patriots need a bruising back after parting ways with Corey Dillon. And Henry has those characteristics. What is makes teams think that Henry can replace Dillon is that he's big enough to take a beating (220 lbs), he is fast (sub 4.4), and he doesn't have a lot of wear and tear on him.

If New England does use one of it's selections on Henry, it will likely have to be a first day pick. If that happens, it will be the second running back selected on the first day in as many years for the Patriots. It will also be their third running back drafted in the past 4 seasons; Laurence Maroney (2006, 1st round), Cedric Cobbs (2004, 4th round).

Tim Yotter of VikingUpdate.com contributed to this report


More On Henry:
Timing Day Audio
Arizona Pro Day
Official Combine Numbers
Talk about the Draft

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