Darrell Henderson

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%).