Derrick Henry wants to be more than just a bruising back.
After having issues in a footwork drill at rookie mini-camp, the former Alabama running back has impressed his coaches and teammates in organized team activities with the Tennessee Titans.
He was used primarily as a power back at Alabama, but per Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com– Henry does not want to be labeled as one-dimensional. Coach Mike Mularkey had his second round pick running routes and catching passes, during OTA’s last week (Thursday). Henry’s hands, speed and cutting abilities caught a lot of people off guard, especially with him being 6-foot-3 and 247 pounds.
Mularkey told Wyatt that Henry was beating guys in practice that were cover guys.
“I am not sure why they did or didn’t do it (at Alabama). They were pretty happy with just handing it to him to get the production. But he certainly has some good hands. … And he is a big body to get the ball to.”
Cornerback Jason McCourty will enter his ninth NFL season (all with Titans) this fall. He faces the challenge of defending two dominant ball carriers in practice, DeMarco Murray and Henry.
When asked about Henry, McCourty told TitansOnline.com: “He has been impressive, man.’’
“He has a little bit more speed than I would have thought he had, and he does catch the ball out of the backfield. You don’t see many big backs that do that really well. It’s mostly smaller, quicker guys. But he has done a really good job.”
The 2015 Heisman Trophy winner caught 17 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns during his tenure at Alabama. A combination of Henry, Murray and Dexter McCluster could push Tennessee into playoff contention (possibly Super Bowl) for years to come.