Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry is coming off a career season, and the media is back to disrespecting him in the newest running back rankings.
There is no doubt coming off his 2019 performance that Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry is a top-five quarterback at worst. I think he’s a top-three running back with the potential to earn the title of best running back in the league.
In case you might’ve forgotten, Henry finished last season with 1,540 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns. He led the league outright in rushing yards and finished tied for first in rushing touchdowns. That earned him the 2019 Rushing Title.
You would think that would earn him a spot as a top-three or at least a top-five running back in the NFL, but there have been some inconsistencies with rankings throughout the offseason.
Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus is the most recent national writer to release his running back rankings, and he grades Henry a bit harshly. I’m not opposed to players being graded harshly, but it has to be consistent with all of the rankings and players in the rankings.
In this case, Linsey did not include Henry in the top-five running backs in the league because he wasn’t as involved in the Titans’ passing game as Linsey would prefer. Maybe he should grade passing backs, not running backs because running backs’ main job is to run the ball not catch the ball.
"“It is important to note the reasons why Henry slides to eighth on this list, though,” Linsey wrote. “First, it’s hard to look past Henry’s lack of impact in the passing game through the first four years of his NFL career. His PFF receiving grade has come in below 50.0 in each of the past three seasons.“Second, Henry hasn’t always been a dominant runner. In fact, Henry’s game didn’t take off this past season until Ryan Tannehill took over at quarterback and the Titans’ offense took a leap forward. With Marcus Mariota at quarterback over the first six weeks of the season, Henry earned just a 67.2 rushing grade while averaging 3.7 yards per carry. It’s another reminder that the situation really matters at the position.”"
Not only did Henry miss out on the top-five, but he barely made the top-ten coming in at No. 8. Henry hasn’t suffered any injuries this offseason, he’s still with the same team, offense, yet he gets such a bad ranking from Linsey. Henry is the same running back he was last season, so this ranking doesn’t do justice for what Henry has done on the field.
One major inconsistency in Linsey’s ranking is him placing Nick Chubb at No. 2. If he wants to grade running backs on their receiving ability, then cool, but Chubb finished the season with only 72 more receiving yards than Henry, so how is Chubb all the way up at No. 2?
This is another example of a confusing ranking where the author uses different statistics for each running back to grade them according to his preference. Henry is extremely underrated in this ranking, and I can’t wait for him to prove people wrong again this fall.