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Workhorse Derrick Henry a good fit for Jets, Bears, among others

The pre-draft process is an intel-gathering mission on prospective employees. And although certain prospects tend to attract groupthink in the scouting community, others generate the varied opinions that come from 32 different franchises with 32 unique approaches to talent evaluation. Former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks is taking a closer at some of the most notable -- and polarizing -- prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft, to determine draft range and team fits.

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CEILING: Bottom of the first round -- New York Jets (No. 20), Houston Texans (No. 22), Denver Broncos (No. 31).

FLOOR: Top of the second round -- Dallas Cowboys (No. 34), Chicago Bears (No. 41).


What I like:

Henry brings a rare combination of size, speed and athleticism to the position. Measuring 6-foot-3, 247 pounds with 4.54 speed, he is built like a rush outside linebacker -- Henry's physical dimensions are similar to Khalil Mack (6-3, 250 pounds) and Von Miller (6-3, 250 pounds) -- and exhibits a downhill running style that simply overwhelms opponents over the course of a game.

As an upright runner with a long stride, Henry is at his best when he is able to attack the line of scrimmage with his shoulders square. He repeatedly runs through contact in the hole, exhibiting exceptional strength, power and body control with the ball in his hands. As an outside runner, Henry flashes enough speed, quickness and acceleration to turn the corner on stretches and sweeps. Although running to the sideline negates his strength and power, Henry's vicious stiff arm will force some defensive backs to make "business decisions" (a half-hearted attempt to tackle the runner) on the perimeter. With the Alabama standout also showing excellent stamina and durability as a workhorse runner (11 games with at least 20 carries in 2015), offensive play callers can build around the feature back with homer potential.

Why the range?

For all of Henry's strengths as a downhill runner, he lacks the "pitter-pat" to execute lateral cuts in tight quarters. Thus, he isn't a fit for a scheme that expects runners to make cutback runs through backside gaps. In addition, Henry's limitations as a receiver make him a poor fit for offenses that feature the running back prominently in the passing game. Talking to several NFL running backs coaches at the combine, Henry's downhill running style doesn't make him a perfect prospect for every team, but evaluators are intrigued by his combination of size, strength and power as a potential grinder.

Where would he excel?

Henry is ideally suited to play in a zone-based scheme or a power-gap system that allows him to attack the line of scrimmage with his shoulders square to the hole. The Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys employ zone systems that would allow him to attack the line as a "one-cut" runner. He'd provide balance for a Brock Osweiler-led offense in Denver, while lifting some of the pressure off of Tony Romo and his healing clavicle.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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