The second-round pick has provided no drop off in his game from Alabama to the National Football League. Running back Derrick Henry entered his third session of training camp on Monday, and first practice in full pads with the Tennessee Titans.
According to Titans senior writer Jim Wyatt, he commanded everyone’s attention. The 6-foot-3, 247-pound back impressed coach Mike Mularkey with his combination power and speed in the hole.
“I saw some things,’’ Mularkey said of Henry.
“I saw some vision on some of the runs that we had. We had a lot of runs in this practice early. We were focusing on first and second down. Obviously, the nine-on-seven drill is all run. There were some holes in there that looked slim, and they are at this level. He hit them pretty good.”
As much as he loves running over and through defenders, the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner does have moments in which he will bounce runs to the outside. Henry did it a couple of times, with one resulting in him getting into the secondary. Linebacker Sean Spence was there to greet him with a hard hit, but Henry told Wyatt that the first day in pads “was fun.”
“It’s football,’’ Henry said. “You are going to get hit, so that’s what you expect.”
Henry amassed 2,219 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns on 395 carries in Alabama’s 2015 national championship season. He won Doak Walker, Maxwell and Walter Camp awards, while being recognized as an All-American and the Southeastern Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year.
He’s been able to have his way in the run game, but being an effective blocker is something running backs coach Sylvester Croom is working with Henry on. The ex-Crimson Tide center and assistant coach walked Henry through a cut-blocking drill four times during Sunday’s practice.
Croom told ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky that Henry is “a very good blocker, but we are asking him to do some things that he never was asked to do in college.”
Croom added with: “He’s got the talent. He’s going to be outstanding player. But there are a lot of details on things.” The Titans will continue with camp on Tuesday, as DeMarco Murray and Henry try to provide the team with a solid one, two punch heading into the upcoming season.