DERRICK HENRY’S FIRST FIVE SEASONS By: Rhett Bryan

After the display of dominance that Derrick Henry has shown in the last 2 plus seasons and a 2,000-yard season in 2020, I began thinking about his career trajectory and how Henry is tracking towards a Hall of Fame Career. 

With that in mind, we take Derrick Henry’s first 5 seasons in the NFL and where he is statistically vs. Franchise greats and mostly Hall of Famers. 

In this list we sample the first five-year statistics like carries, rushing yardage, yards per carry average, total touchdowns and where they are available, explosive plays over 40 yards. 

In his first five seasons Derrick Henry’s stat line looks like this: 

CARRIES    RUSH YDS     YDS PER CARRY    RUSHING TD      EX PLAYS 

1182             5860                 5.0                        55                     11 rushes of 40+ 

                                                                         REC   TD            3 Rec of 40 + 

                                                                           3 

2000 YARD CLUB MEMBER    (23) 100 YARD GAMES SO FAR   (5) 200 YD GAMES) 

Back-to-back Rushing Titles 2019 & 2020.  2020 Offensive Player of the Year 

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Let’s start with OILERS/TITANS FRANCHISE numbers: 

Earl Campbell:   1991 Pro Football Hall of Fame  (1934 yds rushing in 1980) 

CARRIES   RUSH YDS     YDS PER CARRY  RUSHING TD   100 YD GAMES 

1561              6995                  4.31                    57                      39 

 

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Eddie George:    Franchise All-Time leading rusher    (36 Career 100 YD GAMES) 

CARRIES      RUSH YDS       YDS PER CARRY     RUSHING TD     EX PLAYS 

1763              6874                 3.9                            42                 4 rushes of 40+ 

                                                                               REC TD           1 Rec of 40+ 

                                                                               8 

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Chris Johnson:  2,000 YARD CLUB MEMBER     (35 CAREER 100 YD GAMES) 

CARRIES     RUSH YDS   YDS PER CARRY   RUSHING TD       EX PLAYS 

1463             6891             4.66                         44                     18 rushes of 40+ 

                                                                         REC   TD             3 Rec of 40+ 

                                                                         4 

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The first thing that immediately stands out with Derrick Henry’s numbers, is the yards per carry at 5.0.  You will see below the ONLY other back that has that number through five years of play is Jim Brown.  Another point is how Henry has much fewer carriesand mostly due to Demarco Murray being the bell cow in his first two years. Lastly, the explosive plays.  It’s no secret Chris Johnson would be a standout in this category, but the fact that Henry has over (10) 40+ yard rushes including a 99 yarder and (5200-yard rushing performances.  He’s won the regular season rushing title in consecutive years and was the 2020 Offensive Player of the year….ALREADY! Also, Chris Johnson, LaDainian Tomlinson and Derrick Henry are the three backs on this list that missed just 1 game in their first five seasons. Eddie George and Jim Brown played in every game of their first five. 

 

 

Now we look at many of the top rushers in NFL history, most of which are in the Hall of Fame. These stats represent their production in their first five seasons in the NFL. 

Walter Payton:  Pro Football HOF  Held All-Time rushing record for many years. 

CARRIES        RUSH YDS       YDS PER CARRY     RUSHING TD     REC TD 

1548                   6296                4.4                            59                   4 

(4 OF HIS FIRST FIVE SEASONS WERE 300+ CARRIES) 

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Jim Brown:  Pro Football HOF   Considered one of the All-Time greats 

CARRIES         RUSH YDS       YDS PER CARRY    RUSHING TD               

1269                   6926                5.12                        57 

The NFL only played 12 games per season in his first for years before expanding to 14 games in 1961 

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Barry Sanders:  Pro Football HOF    2,000 Yard Club 

CARRIES  RUSH YDS     YDS PER CARRY     RUSHING TD      EX PLAYS 

1432          6789                4.74                         55               10 rushes of 40+ 

                                                                       REC TD           1 rec of 40+ 

                                                                       5 

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Emmitt Smith:   Pro Football HOF   NFL ALL-TIME Leading Rusher 

CARRIES    RUSH YDS  YDS PER CARRY   RUSHING TD     EX PLAYS 

1630            7183                4.42                   71                    8 rushes of 40+ 

                                                                    REC TD                2 rec of 40+ 

                                                                     4 

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LaDainian Tomlinson:   Pro Football HOF 

CARRIES    RUSH YDS   YDS PER CARRY   RUSHING TD      EX PLAYS 

1702            7361                4.34                      72                     11 rushes of 40+ 

                                                                   REC TD                6 rec of 40+ 

                                                                      8 

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O.J. Simpson:  Pro Football HOF       2,000 YARD CLUB 

CARRIES    RUSH YDS   YDS PER CARRY   RUSHING TD      REC TD 

1108             5181                4.48                      30                         3 

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Eric Dickerson:  Pro Football HOF     2,000 YARD CLUB 

CARRIES    RUSH YDS     YDS PER CARRY     RUSHING TD      REC TD 

1748              8256                4.7                            61                         2 

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 Adrian Peterson:      2,000 YARD CLUB   297 YDS RUSHING IN SINGLE GAME 

CARRIES   RUSH YDS  YDS PER CARRY  RUSHING TD      EX PLAYS 

1406           6752             4.84                      64                17 rushes of 40+ 

                                                                     REC  TD             3  rec of 40+ 

                                                                         3 

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Marshall Faulk:   Pro Football HOF 

CARRIES   RUSH YDS   YDS PER CARRY    RUSHING TD      EX PLAYS 

1389            5320             3.78                        42                  8 rushes of 40+ 

                                                                   REC TD               5 rec of 40+ 

                                                                       9 

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Frank Gore:  16,000 YARDS RUSHING  (3rd in NFL HISTORY) 

CARRIES  RUSH YDS   YDS PER CARRY     RUSHING TD      EX PLAYS 

1168          5561                  4.72                     32                   13 rushes of 40+ 

                                                                      REC TD                 2 rec of 40+ 

                                                                     7 

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Terrell Davis:   Pro Football HOF       2,000 YARD CLUB 

CARRIES   RUSH YDS  YDS PER CARRY   RUSHING TD      EX PLAYS 

1410            6624                4.44                   58                    10 rushes of 40+ 

                                                                     REC   TD 

                                                                     5 

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Edgerrin James:  Pro Football HOF 

CARRIES   RUSH YDS  YDS PER CARRY  RUSHING TD      EX PLAYS 

1494          6172             4.14                        42                   5 rushes of 40+ 

                                                                    REC  TD   

                                                                     10 

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After taking a look at the list of greats, Frank Gore and Terrell Davis have the closest stats akin to Derrick Henry’s current stats through the first five seasons of play.  Not bad company when you consider that Terrell Davis is in the Hall Of Fame and Frank Gore will eventually be in the Hall.  The scary thing is (and this is important to the Hall of Fame conversation) the numbers he’s put up in the postseason already is impressive.   

DERRICK HENRY IN SIX PLAYOFF GAMES: 

CARRIES    RUSH YDS      YDS PER CARRY RUSHING TD     RECEIVING 

136                  670                  4.9                       3                    14 TARGETS 

                                                                                                  13  CATCHES  

                                                                                                   88 YARDS 

                                                                                                   6.8 YDS PER 

Also, that jump pass to WR Corey Davis in Baltimore in the 2019 playoffs for a TD. 

The stats are stackable as evidenced by Frank Gore, but what did the player do to make a difference to his team in a window or windows of time?  Henry has 2 rushing titles, a 2,000 season, Offensive Player of the year award, has helped lead his team to the playoffs 3 of the last 4 years.  Monster performances and being an integral part of the Titans in this window are what becomes the basis of Hall of Fame Discussion.  If Derrick Henry continues with numbers and team success of anything similar in the coming seasons, Henry might find his place in Canton Ohio one day in the future. 

Blogs

DERRICK HENRY’S FIRST FIVE SEASONS By: Rhett Bryan

After the display of dominance that Derrick Henry has shown in the last 2 plus seasons and a 2,000-yard season in 2020, I began thinking about his career trajectory and how Henry is tracking towards a Hall of Fame Career.  With that in mind, we take Derrick Henry’s first 5 seasons in the NFL and where he is statistically vs. Franchise greats…

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