Former scout: Derrick Henry looks like fourth-round pick

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Derrick Henry didn't have to wait long Thursday at the Home Depot College Football Awards to collect the first of three prestigious honors he received at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, but his wait if available in the 2016 NFL Draft could be a much more protracted one.

Former NFL scout Dan Hatman told The Florida Times-Union the Alabama junior, who could win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, looks like a fourth-round draft choice if he decides to apply for early entry into the 2016 NFL Draft.



Said Hatman: "I think in the Nos. 100-150 range -- basically the fourth round. I'm a little biased because I don't value running backs highly. There are too many guys who have been drafted in the sixth round or later -- or not drafted at all -- and been functional."

Underclassmen have until a Jan. 18 deadline to apply for early eligibility in the 2016 draft. Henry has not indicated his intentions, nor have any of Alabama's other top underclassmen. Hatman has a scouting background with the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and New York Jets, and now is director of The Scouting Academy, according to the report.

Of course, there will be differing opinions on Henry's stock whenever he comes under the scrutiny of the draft process. NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt indicated via Twitter that he wasn't impressed with Hatman's evaluation.

While the Heisman Trophy doesn't dictate draft stock, eight consecutive Heisman winners have been first-round draft picks. If Henry were to win the award Saturday, that streak could potentially be in jeopardy. With a powerful style and a 6--foot-3, 245-pound frame, Henry siezed his Heisman momentum from LSU star sophomore Leonard Fournette by outrushing him 210-31 in the SEC's most crucial regular-season game Nov. 7. It was one of four 200-yard games Henry recorded in conference play. The outcome, with as many as two games left to play in the College Football Playoff, has been a workmanlike 339 carries for 1,986 yards and 23 touchdowns.

The mileage Henry has tallied in averaging 26.1 carries per game, Hatman said, is a factor of concern for NFL scouts. In terms of talent, a common observation among NFL scouts and NFL Media analysts on the massive Crimson Tide star is that, while plenty strong and fast, he isn't particularly explosive with his initial steps and lacks open-field elusiveness. NFL Media's Albert Breer spoke with an NFL area scout who put it this way:

"(Ohio State's Ezekiel) Elliott can create on his own, (Henry) can't," the scout said.

An AFC college scouting director alluded to another widely noticed trait of Henry's game in speaking with Breer: how easily he breaks tackles in the secondary when he reaches full speed.

"They're not many built like him -- he's high-hipped, not loose, and there's a long style to his play. But he has good vision, and when he gets rolling, he is rolling," the director said.



Jacksonville Jaguars rookie T.J. Yeldon, a teammate for two years of Henry's at Alabama, has been impressed with the back he used to share carries with. He also left no doubt of what he would do in Henry's position.

"He's running with more power," Yeldon told the Times-Union. "And he's running angry, like he deserves to win the Heisman and deserves to be the No. 1 back taken in the draft," adding on Henry's forthcoming decision, "Once you're up for the Heisman and will most likely win it, there's nothing left for him. I would come out."

His scouting evaluation being out of his control; Henry instead controls the Alabama offense, which he's largely carried to a College Football Playoff berth.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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