Derrick Henry’s footwork is lacking, to say the least

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At one point after the draft, I suggested that the Cowboys should have considered taking defensive back Jalen Ramsey with the No. 4 overall pick and running back Derrick Henry in round two, instead of running back Ezekiel Elliot with a top-five pick and linebacker Jaylon Smith in the second round. I probably should rethink that one.

I should rethink it not because of the non-narrative narrative that former Alabama tailbacks arrive at the next level with less tread on the tires. I should rethink it because of how Henry uses the wheels on which the tread resides.

Evidence recently emerged of Henry doing footwork drills at rookie minicamp, and it was rough. Very rough.

Paul Kuharsky of posted video of Henry struggling through a not-so-daunting gauntlet of pads. While it may not matter much for a north-south runner who excels at putting one foot in front of the other, most would assume that professional athletes possess a higher degree of coordination and dexterity.

Derrick Henry surprisingly doesn’t.

27 responses to “Derrick Henry’s footwork is lacking, to say the least

  1. For anyone who hasnt seen the video – its the type of junk that no one in a million years would do in an actual game. I bet his long jump and triple jump numbers are not good either.

  2. This kid knows how to run in game day may not be a good practice player. Who cares how plays in practice. He is power back with speed and footwork doesn’t matter.

  3. I don’t think many expect Henry to be a dazzling highlight reel at the NFL level.

    If he can pound between the tackles in combination with Murray, it may actually allow Mariota to make highlight reel scrambles a la Russell Wilson.

    But if he sees holes as well as Trent Richardson, well, that’ll be a shame.

  4. Not surprised, never seen a guy his size get tripped up at the line of scrimmage so much. When are teams going to realize it’s not the guy carrying the ball, its the 5 five guys in front of him.

  5. No idea if he’ll end up a bust or a steal but I doubt that former NFL greats like Christian Okoye or John Riggins would have looked any better as rookies.

    Henry’s a between the tackles power runner. Not a toe tapping scat back. His game is based on strength and brutality.

    You can only judge that on Sundays.

  6. I have my concerns about the guy. But I watched the video. Yes, he looked slow. But the overriding feel I got from that video is that he didn’t really know where he was supposed to be stepping. And frankly, it was an odd pattern. I think he’d speed it up a lot once he got the thinking part out of the way. He’s never going to be Chris Johnson anyway.

  7. “He is power back with speed and footwork doesn’t matter.”

    It’s the NFL and every back needs decent footwork. Because I don’t care how much speed and power you have, there’ll be plenty of plays where you’re going to have to maneuver to find a hole and you won’t be able just charge straight ahead and gain 3-4 yards like in college.

  8. Footwork not needed for a NFL running back? I’ve seen it all. The ignorance of NFL fans on fundamental needs at the NFL level, is astonishing. But not surprising.

    When your line allows you to go untouched to the 2nd level your whole collegiate career, it will expose any weaknesses at the pro level. Your not playing Vandy or Ole Miss anymore. JJ Watt and Wilfork will have a field day with this guy.

  9. Meh, whatever. The video is kind of funny (he’s not exactly giving 100%, which may be the most concerning part), but it could also be just a slow, practice rep to understand what the coach wants him to do.

    That said, I don’t think we’re looking at the next Barry Sanders.

  10. We see one video of ONE bag drill and forget all about all the actual football this guy has played and make proclamation that he can’t play football. Wow! Really? I can’t tell you how dumb this non-story is! “a higher degree of coordination and dexterity”….

    I bet if your in his way on the football field, you’d be most impressed with his “coordination and dexterity”!

  11. I would definitely disagree with those above who said that footwork is not important in an NFL RB. That’s like saying that vision and power are not important.

    When you lack all three, you are likely to struggle at the NFL level, regardless of what you may have accomplished in college. Even at, say, Alabama. For more evidence of this, see: Richardson, Trent.

  12. huggybear2014,
    as you said footwork is so important, when they call a runner a North/South runner, they really mean he’s to slow to get outside. A good RB’s footwork will keep him from getting killed or disabled.

  13. Paul Kuharsky of posted video of Henry struggling through a not-so-daunting gauntlet of pads.

    Shaq Lawson found a gauntlet of bags fairly daunting…

  14. You all should be NFL scouts. They should have made him run bag drills before the draft so they could’ve avoided drafting such a bust! Cut him now!

  15. Look, Henry might make it in the NFL or he might not. But this?

    I read the comments before watching the video. Now I’m laughing. Seriously guys? We decide players are busts from film of footwork drills at rookie minicamp?

  16. jag1959 says:
    May 17, 2016 1:45 PM

    Shaq Lawson found a gauntlet of bags fairly daunting…
    Shaq is injured, he doesn’t lack a particular skill that is essential to his position.

    Not quite sure where you were going with that one?

  17. I haven’t seen the video, but I would think some type of footwork drills would be part of a pro day or combine workout for RB’s, but keep in mind PK hated the Henry pick, just bashed Titan fans that called in excited about Henry. Last week John McClain of the Houston Chronicle is on a local sports radio show each week and said he loved the pick, and all you got from PK was crickets… Take what PK says about Henry with a grain of salt, I would think if it was of high priority importance, it would have been addressed before now.

  18. He maybe looks a bit slow here, but is this at the end of practice? is the tape full speed? How about video of the other rbs on this drill for comparison.

    No conclusions can be drawn from this. Least of all from blowhards sitting in front of monitors.

  19. Say what you want about Derrick Henry, at least he doesn’t whip 4 year old children till they bleed so he has at least that much going for him.

  20. It must be nice to have wide open holes and not get touched for the first 5 yards or so.

  21. Like the N.Y. Times hit piece article on Trump…..if this is the worst you have on Derrick Henry, you’ve got nothing!!

    I hope he has a long and great career.

  22. I am sure there are some players that are lights out in practice drills, but totally suck during games. A little unfair to deem him as a failure when he hasnt even played a game.

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