Can Derrick Henry Continue Being A Successful Running Back At His Age in the NFL?

Can Derrick Henry Continue Being A Successful Running Back At His Age in the NFL?
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

Few running backs in today’s NFL have made an impact on the game on the ground and through the air quite like Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans.  

That’s because the former Alabama Crimson Tide stalwart has eclipsed 1,000 yards four times in his seven-year NFL career, including his 2,000-yard, 17-touchdown climax of a season in 2020.  Henry has helped many NFL bettors using Tennessee sportsbooks over his career.

With the news of Josh Jacobs, Saquon Barkley and Tony Pollard not being offered long-term contracts, it has been a discussion around the NFL if running backs are not being paid enough for the amount of value they bring to the NFL.  

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Statistics of Older RBs In Past 5 NFL Seasons

BetTennessee.com utilized ProFootballReference.com to determine whether giving contracts to running backs into their late 20s and beyond is worth it. We shifted through the RB stats for yards per game & touchdowns to find the Top 25 RBs from the 2018 season until the 2022 season. We utilized 28 years or older for the research project.  

YearNumber of 28+ RBs in Top 25 Rushing Yards Per GameNumber of 28+ RBs in Top 25 Rushing TDs Per Game
20181 of 25 (4%)3 of 25 (12%)
20193 of 25 (12%)3 of 25 (12%)
20202 of 25 (8%)3 of 25 (12%)
20211 of 25 (4%)3 of 25 (12%)
20224 of 25 (16%)3 of 25 (12%)
TOTAL11 of 125 (8.8%)15 of 125 (12%)

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Can Henry Defy NFL’s Running Back Age Issues?

Henry certainly didn’t seem to be aging out of the upper echelon of the league during his age-28 season last fall.  

That’s because Henry finished the year with 1,538 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns, cracking the 1,500-yard plateau for the third time in his already storied NFL career.  

Henry also had a career-high 33 catches for 398 receiving yards last year, adding another element to his ground-and-pound persona out of the backfield for Tennessee. This could make for an interesting prop betting opportunity on apps like Caesars Sportsbook Tennessee where Henry typically has low reception and receiving yard props.

Derrick Henry was one of four running backs to finish in the top 25 in terms of rushing yards per game and a member of the three-person club to finish in the top 25 for rushing touchdowns per game of backs that were 28 or older in 2022, showing how much of an evolution he’s shown to stay up to snuff in today’s NFL.  

Given the 29-year-old running back’s performance last season, counting Henry out simply because he’s been in the league for seven seasons seems shortsighted.  

With an ever-evolving skillset and an offensive system tailored to his liking, Henry could be in for another jaw-dropping fall in Nashville, dashing the Titans towards another AFC South title in 2023 and improving the Titans Super Bowl odds along the way.

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Author

Christopher Boan writes for BetTennessee.com and has been covering sports and sports betting for more than seven years, with experience at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.