2016 Scouting Report: Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama

Top level speed

A former high school sprinter, Henry is very fast on tape. At the Combine, he ran a 4.54 40-yard dash, which on face, is pretty fast but not really impressive. However, it has to be understood that he ran that speed at 247 pounds. 40 time is heavily correlated with weight, and factoring in Henry’s size that time becomes very impressive. On tape, he’s able to outrun defender’s angles at the second level and turn open field runs into TDs with his speed, as shown below:

The first play shows Henry’s impressive long speed, as he doesn’t slow down and ends up outrunning the angle #8 took. The second play shows him outrunning #20’s angle, and add in a component of nice second level vision to pick up extra yardage instead of being forced out of bounds.

On the third play, Henry shows off his speed and sets up the deep safety, forcing that player to miss and then continuing to pay dirt. On the fourth play, he outruns Jayron Kearse to the end zone. The final play is from Henry’s sophomore season, and he destroys #14’s angle with his speed.


While Henry displays strong speed at the second level, his size limits his ability to burst out of cuts. This is on display when looking at his 3 Cone and 20 yard shuttle times, where he ranks in the 16th and 24th percentile of RBs, respectively.

When he has space to explode, Henry does display strong burst, and his 60 yard shuttle time, which is in the 65th percentile, helps illustrate Henry’s explosiveness when he has room to run. The workouts confirm the tape, which shows that Henry has strong burst in a straight line but struggles while cutting:

The first two plays illustrate the dichotomy discussed above. On the first play, Henry doesn’t have much of a chance due to the collapsing defender, but his explosion out of the cut is clearly underwhelming, and it’s because he lacks the room he needs to comfortably operate. On the second play, he has room, and this time he shows impressive burst. After putting his foot in the ground, he’s able to split two LBs because of his fast acceleration.

The third and fourth play also appear to show a dichotomy based on how much space he has in a straight line, but that’s really not the case. To the naked eye, he looks a lot slower exploding through the hole on the third play than his burst after escaping the trash at the line of scrimmage does on the fourth play. The reason he looks slower on the third play is because he covers about 5 yards in two strides, while it takes him four strides to cover five yards in the fourth play. This is something evaluators need to keep in mind while judging traits like burst on tape, because the player’s physical motions can be deceiving.

The fifth and final play does show Henry with a positive display of burst in a restricted area, as he is able to blow by #30, who is attempting to shed a block.

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Matt Fries

Matt fell in love with football as a young kid, but his passion for the strategy on the game flourished as a hobby during his time in college. Now graduated, Matt loves scouting individual players as well as breaking down strategies teams use to create winning plays. For all of Matt's articles: <strong><a href="http://nflbreakdowns.com/author/MattFries/">Click Here</a>.</strong>