Derrick Henry is one of the 2016 NFL Draft’s biggest question marks. Not only does he represent a position group with quickly evaporating draft value, but his stock appears to be all over the map.
Is the Heisman Trophy winner a solid first-round pick? Is he actually a third-round prospect? Somewhere in between?
CSNMidAtlantic.com‘s Ben Standig wrote that Henry will likely fall out of the first.
“No knock on the talent, just a reality of the current era where running backs slide more than rise early in drafts,” Standig wrote. “Also, teams might be scared off a little by his insane usage at Alabama, right?”
Questions abound. There are several answers, but nothing resembling consensus.
Sun-Sentinel.com‘s Chris Perkins would “like to see the Dolphins take him with the No. 8 pick.” As in: No. 8 overall — of the entire draft.
Some, including CBSSports.com‘s Dane Brugler, say this era’s tendencies will push Henry to the second round, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be a success.
“With his plant-and-go burst, contact balance and overall power as a runner, Henry is ideally suited for a zone-blocking scheme where he can make one cut and get downfield,” Brugler wrote. “He has only 17 career catches on his collegiate résumé and needs refinement in some areas to be an every-down back, but he should start very early in his NFL career.”
Brugler also wrote that it’s “unrealistic to expect Henry to be as dominant in the NFL.”
There’s plenty of gray area for Henry, already one of the 2016 class’ more polarizing prospects.
Several mock drafts only last one round, meaning Henry was shut out of dozens this past week. But he also appeared in numerous others. Here’s what we found:
TheBigLead.com‘s Jason McIntyre: No. 27 overall (first round) to the Carolina Panthers
“How scary is a Cam-Henry backfield? … Yes, Henry played behind a beastly offensive line. Yes, the last few Alabama RBs to get drafted have been up-and-down. Yes, his speed at the Combine will be important.”
SanDiegoUnionTribune.com‘s Eddie Brown: No. 29 overall (first round) to the Denver Broncos
“John Elway has already built a dominant defense. Couple that with a Henry-led power running game, and all of a sudden you have a vision of what the post-Peyton Manning world looks like.”
BleacherReport.com‘s Ryan McCrystal: No. 29 overall (first round) to the Denver Broncos
NFLDraftGeek.com: No. 30 overall (first round) to the Arizona Cardinals
“David Johnson emerged in a big way for the Cards down the stretch, but it might be a little too early to anoint him as the running back of the future. If Arizona were to add Henry to the mix, they could use Johnson as their change of pace runner outside the tackles and third down receiving back, while inserting unstoppable force Derrick Henry for early downs.”
DraftSite.com‘s DJ Boyer: No. 31 overall (first round) to the Carolina Panthers
WalterFootball.com: No. 33 overall (second round) to the Tennessee Titans
“The Titans struggled to run the ball all year, as all of their running backs have disappointed. They’ll have to explore other options at the position. Luckily, Derrick Henry should be available atop Round 2.”
DraftTek.com: No. 33 overall (second round) to the Tennessee Titans
“No Titan Running Back had a 100-yard rushing game this season. That will need to change in order to add some stability around the young Mariota. Derrick Henry dominated college football, capping his season with a 158 yard, three touchdown performance against Clemson in the National Championship win.”
SBNation.com‘s Dan Kadar : No. 52 overall (second round) to the Houston Texans