You can't deny that Alabama's Derrick Henry is as dominant as they come in college football, but will he translate to the next level? Alabama running backs have had mixed results in the pros recently, and some NFL scouts are not all that bullish on Henry. One told NFL.com's Albert Breer that Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott is the more interesting prospect.
In any case, he's not in the class of a Todd Gurley or a Leonard Fournette as a projection, and likely won't be seen as quite as good, in that regard, as Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott. The area scout put it this way: "Elliott can create on his own, [Henry] can't." So as big and fast and freakish as Henry may look, because his game would be limited if he were to land in an offense that demands more out of backs in the passing game, his ability doesn't translate as well as it may seem it would on TV.
In the piece, Henry is put somewhere between Brandon Jacobs and DeMarco Murray in terms of ability and his downhill run style, while Elliott is a dynamic receiver out of the backfield, and an elite blocker. Former NFL Scout Dan Hatman told Jacksonville.com that he believes Henry warrants a 4th round pick.
Asked what round he would consider drafting Henry, Hatman said not in the top 21/2 to 3 rounds. Several mock drafts have Henry rated higher, some as a late first-round pick.
“I think in the Nos. 100-150 range — basically the fourth round,” he said. “I’m a little biased because I don’t value running backs highly. There are too many guys who have been drafted in the sixth round or later — or not drafted at all — and been functional.”
The value of running backs in the NFL has taken a major hit in recent years, with a number of undrafted players turning into functional—or even star—players. If Henry goes to the right team, with his abilities, we're sure he can do the same.