The NFL Draft that will determine the landing spots for nearly 300 college prospects is one week away.
The Memphis Tigers football program has a group of players who have the potential to continue their NFL careers and a couple of players who are almost guaranteed to hear their name called next weekend.
To prepare for the draft, three Daily Helmsman reporters — Matt Burnham, Raven Moore and Reggie Reed — came together to pair some of Memphis’ draft hopefuls with their best team fits and which round they think the players will be selected in.
RB Darrell Henderson
After a positive showing in Henderson’s sophomore season where he rushed for 1,154 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, Henderson catapulted himself into the national stratosphere by nearly doubling both of those figures in 2018. His 1,909 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns ranked him second in the nation.
Not only was he one of the nation’s biggest home run hitters but had an opportunity to make defenders miss and led the nation in yards per carry with 8.9. With his tremendous college career and a positive showing at the NFL Scouting Combine, Henderson has potential to be one of the top running backs in the class.
Raven Moore: The first thing that comes to mind when watching Henderson is that he is the ultimate boom or bust player. For as many plays that he has where he can break off a 20-yard run, there’s another play where he’s stuffed out at the line of scrimmage.
Still, his potential is too great to ignore, and I feel that his style of play would best be suited for the Chicago Bears. The team already has connections to the Tigers after drafting wide receiver Anthony Miller in the second round of last year’s draft.
They just traded Jordan Howard to the Philadelphia Eagles and need a replacement to pair with swiss-army knife Tarik Cohen. Bears head coach Matt Nagy has stated publicly he wants to have playmakers on his roster, and Henderson gives that as well as the versatility Howard lacked.
Raven’s prediction: Chicago Bears select Henderson in the third round with the 87th overall pick.
Reggie Reed: Henderson will be the first Memphis Tiger football player off the board when draft day comes. He is a Day Two prospect projected to go somewhere in the second or third round. Some scouts have him as the sixth or seventh best running back in this year’s class. Henderson is an explosive back who has tremendous feet when cutting on a dime against a defender. He is a consistent big-play producer. He hits the running lanes on almost every single play.
The Eagles have been said to be the most intriguing place for Henderson. They lost Jay Ajayi early last season and got almost no production from the backups. Philadelphia would be a great spot for Henderson to be paired with newly acquired Pro Bowler Jordan Howard.
Reggie’s predicition: Philadelphia Eagles select Henderson in the second round with the 57th overall pick.
Matt Burnham: I could see Henderson going in the fifth round to the Atlanta Falcons. This will fix the hole injury-prone Devonta Freeman left and not much else. Freeman’s lateral movement and pass catching ability would be perfectly complemented by Henderson’s uphill ground and pound skills.
The Falcons are loaded with firepower on offense at the receiving core with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley out wide and Mohamed Sanu and Justin Hardy in the flat. This will keep the nickel corners and linebackers in coverage with safeties deep, allowing Henderson the opportunity to pick up big yards behind that strong offensive line.
Matt’s predicition: Atlanta Falcons select Henderson in the fifth round with the 152nd overall pick.