Darrell Henderson

Rams Place Cooper Kupp On Reserve/COVID-19 List, Darrell Henderson On IR

The Rams continue to run into issues on offense ahead of a pivotal Week 17 game. Cooper Kupp‘s availability for the team’s regular-season-ending game against the Cardinals is now in doubt after the veteran wideout landed on the Rams’ reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday.

This designation does not mean Kupp is out for Sunday’s game. If the fourth-year receiver did not test positive for the coronavirus, he would be on track to return this week. If Kupp did contract the virus, he cannot play in Week 17.

Kupp’s now-murky status, however, comes at a time when the Rams are reeling on offense. They are set to be without Jared Goff due to injury for the first time, with Alliance of American Football refugee John Wolford in line to start Sunday. Darrell Henderson is now on IR, according to the team, and Cam Akers‘ status — after missing Week 16 with a high ankle sprain — may be iffy at best given his injury. The Rams, who have lost two straight to put them in danger of missing the playoffs, have also been without Andrew Whitworth for several weeks.

Kupp has not missed a game since suffering a torn ACL midway through the 2018 season. He needs 26 yards for his second career 1,000-yard season. The Rams gave Kupp and Robert Woods extensions this year, committing to the duo after trading Brandin Cooks. With the team needing a win or a Bears loss to ensure playoff qualification, Kupp’s status certainly will be a key matter for the team this week.

Henderson followed Akers in encountering ankle trouble. Unless the Rams make a run to the NFC championship game, Henderson will not be able to return until next season. Although Akers surpassed him in Los Angeles’ backfield pecking order late this season, Henderson started against the Seahawks and leads the team with 624 rushing yards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams’ Darrell Henderson Suffers Ankle Injury

The Rams could be down two running backs when they face the Cardinals on Sunday. Darrell Henderson‘s ankle injury could keep him out of the critical Week 17 game, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears (on Twitter).

The Rams had much of the running game on Henderson’s shoulders against the Seahawks as Cam Akers was sidelined with an ankle injury of his own. Then, he was forced out in the third quarter on a goal line carry. Henderson’s leg bent awkwardly as Jamal Adams took him to the ground and the Rams now must wait for tests to see how his ankle responds.

Henderson finished his day with 12 carries for 62 yards, bringing his season tally to 624 yards rushing and 4.5 yards per carry. Along the way, he’s also scored five rushing TDs plus a 16/159/1 receiving line. Akers, the second-round rookie sensation out of Florida State, has been even more effective for the Rams. In 12 games, he’s got 4.8 yards per carry plus three all-purpose TDs.

After dropping two straight, the Rams can still control their destiny with a win over the Cardinals. Alternatively, they can still reach the playoffs if they lose, but they’ll need the Bears to do the same against the Packers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Rumors: Raiders, Henderson, Broncos

Tyrell Williams dealt with injuries to both of his feet last season, missing time because of it. The maladies took a while to recover from this offseason, but the veteran Raiders wideout believes he has nearly surmounted the nagging problems.

Shoot, it’s been a long offseason with my feet,” Williams said, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required). “I did two months after the season of just rehab and resting them. It was still taking a long time and I started getting pretty discouraged, but … um, about two months ago, I finally got over the hump and my feet have been feeling good. I still feel it a little bit, but compared to what I had … it’s nothing compared to what I was going through during the season.”

Williams missed two games with plantar fasciitis in his right foot but said his left foot became a discomfort source after he returned. The second-year Raider then dealt with pain in both feet the rest of the way. Williams still averaged 15.5 yards per catch, but the Raiders drafted two wideouts and a gadget player (Lynn Bowden Jr.) in the first three rounds. The Raiders guaranteed Williams’ $11MM base salary earlier this year, but the ex-Charger has no guaranteed money on his deal beyond 2020.

Here is more injury news from the Raiders’ receiving corps and the latest from the rest of the Wests:

  • Las Vegas first-round pick Henry Ruggs suffered an injury helping a friend move last month but is expected to be ready for camp. While the Raiders’ newest speed merchant received stitches, he sustained no muscular damage, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Around six weeks remain until rookies report for camps.
  • The Rams are beginning a new era at running back, having cut five-year starter Todd Gurley. Darrell Henderson will be one of the players vying for the starting job. The second-year back, however, underwent ankle surgery this offseason, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic tweets. This issue may be behind him, with Rodrigue adding that Henderson has already participated in multiple Jared Goff-conducted throwing sessions (Twitter link). Henderson, Malcolm Brown and rookie second-rounder Cam Akers represent the top options in Los Angeles’ backfield.
  • The Broncos‘ backfield has two primary options, but it’s perhaps just as muddled. Given a two-year, $16MM contract, Melvin Gordon is in line to take Phillip Lindsay‘s starting job despite the latter’s back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. New Denver OC Pat Shurmur was said to have pushed for a “bellcow” back like Gordon, but Denver’s new OC denied he did so on Thursday. “I think that (rumor) is a false narrative. I’m all for adding good players at every position. I feel like Phillip Lindsay is an outstanding player who we can hand the ball to, or throw the ball to. The fact that we have two running backs now who can be very explosive with the ball in their hands, whether they throw it or run it, is a good thing,” Shurmur said, via Denver7’s Troy Renck. “You need more than one running back. … The whole ‘pounding the table’ narrative — listen, I’m the new guy here.”
  • While Lindsay showed promise as a pass catcher at Colorado, Gordon has been more productive as a pro in that area. Gordon’s $8MM-AAV deal and Lindsay’s $750K 2020 base salary would point to the former being ticketed for a change-of-pace role. Shurmur, however, said he envisions formations that will feature both Gordon and Lindsay, Renck tweets.

Minor NFL Transactions:

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

  • Promoted from practice squad: QB Drew Anderson
  • Placed on IR: TE Darrell Daniels

Dallas Cowboys

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Rams

New York Giants

New York Jets

West Notes: Hill, Wilson, Henderson

Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill had an eight-hour meeting with NFL Special Counsel for Investigations Lisa Friel yesterday, and while the league reportedly has no timetable for the conclusion of its investigation, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk suggests a decision should be coming sooner rather than later. In defending the delayed interview of former Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, the league said that it waits to interview the player until the rest of its investigation has concluded, so since Hill has now been interviewed, it’s fair to assume that the process is drawing to a close. But NFL disciplinary matters never seem to go smoothly, and the league could say that Hill’s conversation with Hill requires follow-up work, so it may be awhile before Hill hears his fate.

Now for more from the league’s west divisions:

  • Cardinals tight end Caleb Wilson, whom the club selected in the seventh round of this year’s draft, actually committed to play quarterback at Old Dominion. But he knew that his path to a pro career would not be as a QB, so he walked on as a tight end at USC and eventually transferred to UCLA. As a late-round draft choice, he needs to impress right away, and Kyle Odegard of the team’s official website says that Wilson is doing just that. New HC Kliff Kingsbury‘s spread offense emphasizes a TE’s receiving ability, and Kingsbury has praised Wilson’s route-running and hands. Wilson may be the fourth tight end on the depth chart right now, but it’s a fairly thin group, so he should have a chance to stick.
  • Vinny Bonsignore and Rich Hammond of The Athletic discussed which of the Rams‘ rookies would have the most impact on the team’s fortunes this year, and both agree that third-round RB Darrell Henderson is likely to be that guy. Henderson, a running back from Memphis, was a collegiate stud in 2018, and while LA has been adamant that its selection of Henderson has nothing to do with Todd Gurley ‘s balky knee, it’s not difficult to envision Henderson being a key component of the Rams’ offense in 2019.
  • Vic Tafur of The Athletic examines former Spring League standout Paul Butler‘s chocolate milk-fueled journey to the thick of the Raiders‘ TE depth chart, and though Butler still faces something of an uphill battle to make the club, he has a real shot. He performed well in OTAs and minicamp, and Oakland clearly thinks highly of him, as they promoted him from the practice squad late last year to prevent the Lions from poaching him. There are six TEs battling for four roster spots, but Butler’s blend of size and receiving ability give him a chance to make the 53-man roster.
  • Today, we added two more entries to our Extension Candidate series: Rams CB Marcus Peters (link) and Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner (link).

Rams Wrap Entire Draft Class

And just like that, the Rams’ entire draft class has been signed. After inking three of their rookies on Friday morning, the Rams following up by signing third-round running back Darrell Henderson, third-round cornerback David Long, third-round tackle Bobby Evans, fourth-round defensive tackle Greg Gaines, and fifth-round tackle David Edwards

Second-round safety Taylor Rapp was the highest-selected player in the Rams’ rookie class, but most of the attention is on Henderson, who rushed for 1,909 yards and 22 touchdowns on just 214 carries last year. His 8.9 yards per rush was no fluke, as he posted the exact same average as a sophomore in 2017. Henderson could see a decent amount of work behind star Todd Gurley and he’ll really be in the limelight if Gurley’s knee issues remerge in 2019.

Here’s the full rundown of the Rams’ draft class:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Gurley, Panthers, Cowboys, Giants

Much has been made about Todd Gurley and his knee, which caused him issues in the 2018 postseason. The Rams didn’t do much to quiet those rumors when they tabbed Memphis running back Darrell Henderson with the No. 70 pick in the draft.

The team, however, is adamant the pick of Henderson has nothing to do with Gurley’s status, Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams writes. Though the team did mention monitoring the perennial Pro Bowl back’s workload.

“Like we have said all along, we anticipate Todd being a huge part of this like he has been the last couple of years,” head coach Sean McVay said. “As far as managing the workload, those are things that we talk about with Todd and as you continue to get educated on, is that something that we should do for the long haul or something that is or isn’t going to affect Todd most importantly and how does that affect our team? But we added a really good playmaker was a big thing.”

Henderson was one of college football’s stars in 2018, rushing for 1,909 yards and 22 touchdowns on just 214 carries. His 8.9 yards per rush was no fluke, as he posted the exact same average as a sophomore in 2017.

It will be interesting how the Rams handle their backfield in 2019. In addition to Gurley and Henderson, the team also matched an offer for running back Malcolm Brown.

Heres’ more from around the NFC:

  • Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore has hired Drew Rosenhaus to represent him, per Sports Business Journal’s Liz Mullen (via Twitter). Rosenhaus and Robert Bailey will team up in repping the Maryland product, who posted 788 yards on 55 receptions in 2018.
  • The Cowboys are expected to be extremely cautious with cornerback Byron Jones, who underwent offseason hip surgery, the Dallas Morning News’ Jon Machota tweets. Machota mentioned Jones, a breakout star in his first season as a cornerback, will be “highly managed,” but they do expect him to be ready for the start of the season.
  • Sticking in Dallas, new slot receiver Randall Cobb said he signed with the team because he wanted to play on a contender, Machota writes“Once I talked to everybody I knew this was the place,” Cobb said. “I definitely believe in this team. I felt like I wanted to be on a team that was a contender and I definitely believe that we have the ability, it’s just putting the pieces together.” Cobb replaces Cole Beasley in the slot, after the latter left for Buffalo early in the 2019 offseason.
  • The Giants will bring back veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins, ESPN’s Jordan Raanan tweets. Though the team drafted three cornerbacks, Giants general manager Dave Gettleman left no doubt Jenkins would be back, saying, “Janoris has a bunch of puppies he has to train.”

Memphis RB Darrell Henderson Met With Four Teams

Memphis running back Darrell Henderson is now considered a possibility to sneak into the back end of the first round of the draft, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), who adds Henderson has recently met with the Rams, Eagles, Raiders, and Cardinals.

Henderson (5’9″, 200) topped 1,000 rushing yards in each of the past two seasons and averaged an astounding 8.9 yards per carry in both campaigns. He ranks fourth behind Josh Jacobs (Alabama), Miles Sanders (Penn State), and Devin Singletary (FAU) on The Draft Network‘s running back rankings, and Lance Zierlein of NFL.com calls Henderson a “home run hitter” while comparing him to now-49er Tevin Coleman.

Henderson is exceptional at running out of the shotgun formation: over the last four college seasons, Henderson ranks third in Graham Barfield’s Yards Created metric — which attempts to identify production a running back generated on his own, independent of offensive line play — out of shotgun. Circling back to the the four clubs Henderson has recently visited, the Eagles ranked fifth league-wide in shotgun run rate, per Warren Sharp. The Raiders finished 11th, the Cardinal 23rd, and the Rams dead last (just 4%).