NFL Countdown #16: Derrick Henry dominated the NFL on the ground in 2020, leading
the NFL in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns while breaking 16 runs of 20+ yards.
Derrick Henry is an alien. I struggle to come up with words to describe him because there really isn’t a word in the dictionary that does him justice. He simply does not exist on the same plane as the rest of the humans that walk among us. Even standing alongside another very good NFL runningback, he looks like a player you would create in Madden. The man is 6”3’, weighs 247 lbs, and ran a 4.54 second 40-yard dash at his combine. He runs through defenses like a buffalo, but still has the speed and agility to make a defender miss and outrun the rest of his team on the way to the endzone.
It took some time for Derrick Henry to get going in the NFL, but he has been in a completely different league from other runningbacks over the past two seasons. Henry has had 681 carries since 2019, which is 119 more than second-place Dalvin Cook. He’s missed just one game over that span due to a calf strain, and has five more 100-yard performances than the next guy (Nick Chubb, 13). Over the past two seasons, Derrick Henry has 3,566 rushing yards, of which 2,758 are AFTER CONTACT. If you took away every yard Henry has gotten before contact, he would still have the league lead over the past two seasons.
Derrick Henry has had 3,317 total carries since the start of high school, and he is showing no signs of slowing down. Not only does he get the ball more than any other runningback, but he somehow gets better as the season goes on. While other runningbacks tend to slow down from various nagging injuries, Derrick Henry gained an additional 1.4 yards per carry in the back half of the 2020 season. Once the big dog gets going, there’s pretty much nothing that opposing defenses can do to stop him from eating.
Derrick Henry is built like a Madden-created player and has performed like one over his past two seasons of dominance over the rest of the NFL. Now if you move the sliders down on all the defensive categories, you get high school Derrick Henry. If you haven’t seen his highlights from high school, oh man are you in for a treat. I discovered teenager Derrick Henry a couple years ago, and he quickly replaced college Devin Hester as my favorite highlight reels to watch. His team basically just gave him the ball every play and let the man go to work. He averaged 7.8 yards per touch as a freshman, and brought that number up to 9.2 in his final season. He had 7 tackles in high school, of which 5 were sacks. He was given just one kick return, and took it 96 yards to the house. He even got the chance to kick a single field goal, and of course he drilled it. Derrick Henry is not of this Earth, and I am so happy to be alive right now to witness it.