AC/DC once said, “It’s a Long Way to the Top.”
If that’s true, Derrick Henry has come a long way. He is not at the top, but he is as close as any member of the Tennessee Titans has been.
Henry is among the NFL’s Top 100 Players for the second straight year. He was revealed as the No. 10 player on the 2020 list, which determined by a vote of players, when the top 10 were revealed Wednesday. The fourth-year running back was not ranked after his first two seasons.
He is second among all running backs, behind only, Carolina’s Christian McCaffery. He also surpassed several players who made the top 10 last year.
Henry’s rise to elite status is consistent with the year-by-year improvement he has shown thus far in his career.
A second-round pick in 2016, his rushing totals have increased each season, and he already ranks fifth in franchise history in rushing with 3,833 total yards.
A Pro Bowler and the league’s rushing champion in 2019, Henry ran for 1,540 total yards and 16 touchdowns. He finished a league-best 314 yards above expectation and averaged 102.7 yards per game and 5.1 yards per carry.
Henry was the Titans’ lynchpin as the team steamrolled the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens en route to the AFC Championship game. In three postseason contests, he added 446 more rushing yards and two touchdowns. He also caught one touchdown.
While the volume of carries Henry has gotten in recent years (518 carries over the last two seasons) may cause some to bet against him topping his 2019 performance, Henry is prepared to push it even further after signing a four-year, $50 million extension with the Titans earlier in July.
“I think they know I can handle it and we did a good job of managing myself throughout the week, just so I’m prepared to have that workload,” Henry said recently. “I always prepare my body the same.
“I always train the same throughout the offseason and that’s what I continue to do just so if that moment comes again, opportunity comes again, I’m ready for it and play at the best of my abilities.”