Mayock projects Alabama RB Derrick Henry as second-rounder

NFL Media draft expert Mike Mayock went into the NFL Scouting Combine projecting Alabama running back Derrick Henry as a second-round pick, and he isn't changing his tune post-combine.

"Mr. Henry, at this point, I think is going to be a second-round pick, but that's only because the league has devalued running backs," Mayock said Wednesday on NFL Network. "(He's a) gifted tailback, great pass protector and can carry the football 20-30 times a game."

Mayock is attending Alabama's pro day on Wednesday, but he's unlikely to see anything there from Henry that will have much of an impact on his draft standing. The Heisman Trophy winner is standing on his testing numbers from the combine, where he performed well, and will only participate in position drills.

As Mayock suggested, Henry, a massive runner (6-foot-3, 244 pounds), would have been a more coveted workhorse who certainly would have been in play for the first round -- maybe even the top 10 -- in an earlier era. The consensus this year is that Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott is the only rusher who'll be a first-round pick. Mayock has Henry as his No. 2 RB behind Elliott in his positional top-five prospect rankings. Two RBs were selected in Round 1 last year (Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon), and that broke a streak of two consecutive years without a RB going in the first round.

Mayock explained the disparity between Elliott and Henry before the combine last month.

"The biggest difference is lateral quickness and burst. Ezekiel Elliott is about as fast going sideways as he is going forward," Mayock said "... When you look at Henry, he needs a little more road. He's a tall, high-cut, long-legged back, which is atypical. Those backs struggle in the NFL just because there's a lot more vertical mass to aim at. Having said that, I really like the kid ... I value a second-round running back. I think he can carry the ball 25 times a game, I think he gets stronger as the game goes on, and even though his feet aren't the same as Elliott, he's got good feet and he's difficult to tackle."

Henry's stock has been relatively static this offseason. He was rated the No. 38 overall prospect by NFL Media Daniel Jeremiah in his first set of top-50 rankings in January and was No. 34 in Jeremiah's most recent rankings, which were released last week. That would slot him as an early second-rounder.

However, NFL Media analysts Charles Davis and Bucky Brooks both have Henry coming off the board before the end of Round 1 in their latest mock drafts.

Brooks sees pick No. 20, held by the Jets, as Henry's ceiling and the Bears, at pick No. 41, as his floor.

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