The wisdom of drafting running backs in the first round has been debated for several years and Titans running back Derrick Henry‘s play has been used as an argument against it more than once.
Henry was a 2016 second-round pick in Tennessee and he has set a new career high in rushing yards each season. That upward trajectory culminated in back-to-back rushing titles, including 2,027 yards in 2020, and Henry has run for 33 touchdowns as well.
None of the six backs after Henry on this year’s leaderboard were first-round picks either, but none of that has swung Henry to the opinion that you should wait to select a running back. He said that Alabama’s Najee Harris and Clemson’s Travis Etienne should each come off the board in the first round this year.
“I know that they try to devalue us backs and say that running backs, you can get a running back in the second round,” Henry said, via the team’s website. “But Najee and Etienne deserve to go in the first round — they have earned it. You have seen it week in and week out, what they did this year, the type of players they are, it shows on film.”
We’ll have to wait until April to find out if teams feel the same way that Henry does or if the two backs will get to use not going in the first round as a chip on their shoulder.