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Scouting The 2017 NFL Draft: De'Angelo Henderson, RB, Coastal Carolina

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Personal

Hometown: Summerville, South Carolina

Height: 5' 7"

Weight: 208 lb's

Combine Performance

Bench: 20 Reps

Vertical: 34.0"

Broad Jump: 120"

40 Time: 4.48

Statistics

Games

Rushes

Yards

Catches

Yards

TDs

.

2013

15

82

599

4

39

6

2014

14

234

1534

33

289

21

2015

12

222

1346

40

403

18

2016

9

183

1156

20

190

18

Totals

50

721

4635

97

921

64

Positives

  • Very quick and nimble feet.
  • Built very low to the ground.  Outstanding leverage.
  • Surprisingly powerful for a smaller back.
  • Good field vision.
  • Has speed to get to the outside.
  • Comfortable and effective between the tackles.
  • Natural receiver with soft hands.
  • Excellent lateral quickness.
  • Happy to deliver a blow. More than willing to mix it up with bigger defenders.
  • Uses small stature to hide behind line; difficult target for defenders.
  • Decisive runner; doesn't waste time dancing behind the line.

Negatives

  • Sometimes lacks patience.  At times too decisive; could benefit from letting plays develop a bit more.
  • Lacks ideal size for the NFL.  May not stand up to a full workload.
  • Ball security issues.  Fumbles will need to be fixed to succeed at NFL level.
  • Small wingspan makes him difficult target in passing game.
  • Did not return kicks or punts in college; may need to add that skill to maximize value at NFL level.
  • Older than average prospect. Was admitted to college in 2011.  Spent one year achieving academic eligibility, then another year as redshirt.
  • May struggle in pass protection against much larger pass rushers.
  • Played against low level Division I competition.

Discussion

De'Angelo Henderson is a diminutive but powerful back built like a Maurice Jones-Drew clone.  He dominated lower level Division I competition at Coastal Carolina, excelling both as a runner and as a receiver out of the backfield.  Henderson set the all time Division I record with 35 consecutive games scoring at least one touchdown, obliterating the prior record by more than 10 games.

As a student Henderson struggled a bit to start, spending his freshman year working to attain academic eligibility. However Henderson overcame his academic shortcomings, eventually graduating with a degree in recreation and sports management, and he is nearly finished with a second degree in communications.

As an athlete Henderson dominated at Coastal Carolina, achieving first team All Big South honors in 2014 and 2015 and being named the Big South Player Of The Year in 2015.  Henderson set all time Coastal Carolina records in career rushing yards, career rushing touchdowns, and average yards per attempt.  He scored in every game but one of his 50 games played.

Henderson runs with a very low center of gravity, giving him extraordinary leverage and excellent balance.  He has good speed to get to the outside, but he does most of his work between the tackles, and will not succumb to the downfall of many small backs of trying to bounce everything outside. Henderson has an excellent jump cut and is a very good cutback runner.  He is smallish, but does not hesitate to mix it up with the big guys and almost always falls forward. Henderson has nice, soft hands and is a smooth and effective receiver out of the backfield.

On the downside Henderson had some ball security issues in college that if he does not fix will limit his ability to succeed in the NFL.  His small stature will likely limit Henderson to a complementary rather than a lead back role, and his willingness to take and give punishment may shorten his NFL career.  His size makes him a tougher than average target for quarterbacks to find and hit.  Henderson has no experience in the return game, but he might have to learn that quickly if he is to find an early role on an NFL team.

Draft Grade - 5th to 7th

De'Angelo Henderson will not go high in the draft. Small backs from small schools rarely do.  Henderson likely will not have a long NFL career, as he gets a bit of a late start and his small stature and fearless running style will probably wear him down prematurely.  But for the team that signs Henderson there is a good chance they will get a very nice complementary player for the backfield, with some possibility he could develop into a lead back.  Henderson is tough, feisty, quick and decisive, with excellent balance and outstanding quickness and leverage.  You can never be sure how a player will react to the huge step up in talent level from small school hero to playing with the elite NFL athletes, but Henderson seems like a good bet to take on that challenge with confidence and succeed.  I would be willing to spend as high as a 5th round selection on Brown, and if he goes undrafted I would make him a priority signing.

Here is a video courtesy of Draft Breakdown of Henderson against North Dakota State. Take a look, see what you think.