The Jacksonville Jaguars continue to be active in the running back market, as the team claimed Darrell Henderson Jr. off waivers from the Rams on Wednesday.
We have claimed RB Darrell Henderson Jr. off of waivers from the Los Angeles Rams and waived OL John Miller. pic.twitter.com/NKzvOH8XZr— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) November 23, 2022
Henderson’s release on Tuesday came as a surprise, as his former teammate Cam Akers suffered a torn achilles in July 2021; is now averaging a league-worst 3.1 yards per carry; and was rumored to be on the trade block earlier this season.
the rams are really keeping cam akers over darrell henderson.— Alexis Kraft (@TheAlexisKraft) November 22, 2022
this is UNREAL. henderson’s numbers are astronomically better. this makes zero sense to me.
i know henderson will be picked up by a team that values him, like the rams SHOULD’VE. #ramshouse
Whatever the case may be, Henderson seemed pleased by the outcome.
— Darrell Henderson Jr (@DarrellH8) November 22, 2022
The fourth-year pro is averaging a flat four yards per carry himself this year -- good for 39th among 53 players. He’s rushed 70 times for 283 yards and three scores in 2022. In his career, he has 396 carries for 1742 yards (4.4 yards per carry) and 13 touchdowns.
Henderson was drafted in 2019 before his collegiate backfield mate Tony Pollard, but his profile was just as strong as the now-Cowboys star coming out of Memphis.
From Jacksonville native Graham Barfield:
After averaging 8.9 yards per carry, an absurd 15.5 yards per reception, and scoring 25 TDs on just 233 touches in his final season, it should come as no surprise that Darrell Henderson stands out in a weak RB class... While 92% of his carries at Memphis came out of a shotgun formation, Henderson’s burst and power consistently showed up on his carries. Henderson’s ability to explode through the second-level and make defenders miss with phenomenal contact balance and aggressive cuts puts him in rarefied air.
From Lance Zierlein of NFL.com:
He checks in slightly undersized, doesn’t have great vision and runs with a narrow base that makes him easier to tackle, but so far, those concerns haven’t slowed him one bit. Big-play production is impossible to ignore, but his running style makes him best-suited to a complementary slasher role in a spread-based attack. In basketball, Henderson would be the explosive sixth man with the ability to swing certain games in your favor if he catches fire. On the ground or out of the backfield, Henderson can catch fire.
The former All-American dominated gap concepts against bad AAC fronts as a Tiger, and never seemed to fully grasp Sean McVay’s wide zone scheme.
For what it’s worth, the Jaguars rank ninth in gap run percentage this year and 23rd in zone rate; McVay’s Rams rank 23rd in gap rate and seventh in zone rate (per Sports Info Solutions). Los Angles also ranks dead last in Adjusted Line Yards, where Jacksonville ranks 22nd.
Even if Henderson is simply an average running back, that’d be a plus value for a team that still believes its “goals are still obtainable” in 2022.
The Jaguars claimed JaMycal Hasty off waivers from the Niners prior to the season -- but with Hasty cooling off after a hot start and James Robinson being traded to New York, running back depth was a need behind Travis Etienne Jr.
Watch Darrell Henderson’s acceleration once he dips around Robert Woods pic.twitter.com/rCS3eEU0bb— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) October 14, 2019