Into a little-used veteran running back on a visit, two weeks after he was hired as Rams coach, Sean McVay brought Back in March 2017.
It looked like a promising match with Dunbar. Until his knee intervened.
University of Memphis coach Mike Norvell was observing as picks ticked off the board in the next round, crossing his fingers that the Tigers’ running back could end up in a crime that suited his specific abilities. Norvell rejoiced when Darrell Henderson was finally selected by the Rams.
“I don’t know if there is a better match from the NFL for him than the Rams,” Norvell said.
“To have multiple volatile backs that can stay fresh and able to gather a comprehensive season, that is important,” Norvell said. “When you examine the situation there, using Gurley, a man who’s experienced, who is among the best, that can help both of their livelihood.
Ever since, the Rams have been looking for the right match for a role McVay has viewed as critical to his crime. They considered a few choices from the middle rounds of last year’s draft — a group which included the likes of Colts running Nyheim Hines and Atlanta’s Ito Smith. But, Rams general manager Les Snead said,”a couple of enemies chose people change-of-pace backs before us”
They could not let out the scenario play again. They did their own due diligence on many of the draft backs. They were searching for”a very particular human being,” since Snead put it a compact, explosive runner, with great hands and fantastic vision, that could move into the slot and run paths, but also take an off-tackle handoff, break tackles and move the distance on a stretch play.
“He was a participant that we recognized as a unique playmaker. He can clearly do some things as a runner, but the flexibility that he supplies and some of the things he can perform would be what’s so enticing for us.”
Might we see that skillset at work? Norvell has seen enough of Henderson to understand it likely will not take long. Whether Gurley is not.
More zone ran in the NFL last season than every other group. It shouldn’t be an adjustment in any way, although that scheme can be a difficult adjustment for some backs. Over the past two seasons, according to Pro Football Focus, he led all of college football with a staggering 10.7 yards per carry on such conducts. Highlight reels provide examples of the extraordinary vision of Henderson could translate blocking scheme.
“The range of volatile runs he has had on stretch plays is incredible,” Norvell said. “I think he had been the most dynamic back in college football this past year for this.”
Henderson gets to the degree in a rush of chasing defenders, and destroys angles. pic.twitter.com/aHlrqOn46N
Why is Henderson is his acceleration ability. Chris Johnson ran 1.40 from 0-10 at the NFL combine, Darrell Henderson 1.42.
— AngeloFF (@angelo_fantasy) May 7, 2019
Norvell had digested hours of the offense over the past year, gleaning what he could. He noted how McVay and he utilized running springs, deploying them all around the field. Memphis passed off to its springs out of shotgun formation frequently. But like the Rams, the Memphis crime subsisted on a dose of zone conducts, which asked backs to run off undertake while reading the protection.