Derrick Henry knows a thing or two about dominating the SEC as a running back. He also knows a thing or two about the NFL after going through a rookie season with the Tennessee Titans.
Former LSU RB Leonard Fournette may have done the former, but he sure hasn’t done the latter yet. But that didn’t keep the Jacksonville Jaguars’ first-round draft pick from giving his opinion on the NFL vs. the SEC.
“It’s a lot slower than I really thought,” Fournette told NFL.com’s James Palmer. “That’s how I’ve been since I first got into the NFL. A lot of people were like, ‘It’s going to be fast.’ But by me playing in the SEC that kind of helped me a lot. I think to me it was really easy.”
Of course, Fournette probably should play a game or two before commenting further.
Henry, who won the Heisman Trophy as a SEC running back during Alabama’s national title run in 2015, was asked about Fournette’s comparison of the league to the NFL.
As it turns out, Henry doesn’t think Fournette’s comments were out of line. Or at least he’s playing nice in the media.
“Some guys adjust faster, but it was probably a lot easier for him because he is a once-in-a-lifetime back,” Henry said, per ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe. “For me, the NFL was a little bit faster than college because you’ve got guys who played five, six, seven years and knew all the ins and out of the league.”
Henry’s rookie season in the NFL produced 490 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns on 110 attempts as the Titans’ No. 2 back behind DeMarco Murray. That’s productive, but a far cry from the 2,219 yards rushing and 28 touchdowns he accrued during a 395-carry season for the Crimson Tide the year prior.
It will be interesting to watch the rivalry between Henry and Fournette, which blossomed in the SEC West, continue in the AFC South for the foreseeable future.