Both were former second-round picks in the NFL Draft, but Maurice Jones-Drew and Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry could not be more different in physical statures.
The former stood at 5-foot-7, but he was like a bowling ball running through the offensive line. Henry has established himself as a premier running back in the league, displaying an unworldly combination of size and speed.
Jones-Drew was in Los Angeles for Super Bowl media week in advance of Sunday’s game. He was asked what he thinks is next for Henry after missing a large portion of the season with a foot injury.
“I mean, still the same,” the former Jacksonville Jaguar said of Henry, per Jim Wyatt of Titans Online. “He was on the verge of rushing for like 2,400 yards before he broke his foot. Those things happen. I still believe he’s the best running back in the National Football League because he’s a unicorn.”
The Titans and Jaguars have always had terrific running backs. When Jacksonville had Fred Taylor, Tennessee had Eddie George. When the Jaguars had Jones-Drew, the Titans countered with Chris Johnson.
Throughout his career, Jones-Drew was consistently a thorn in the Titans’ sides, averaging 77.6 yards per game to go along with a combined ten touchdowns in 14 career matchups.
Like Henry, Jones-Drew is no stranger to being among the best. He led the league in rushing with 1,606 yards on 343 carries during the 2011 season.
Henry, of course, led the league in rushing in back-to-back seasons in 2019 and 2020, and he was primed to do so again before the injury at the end of October.
“You don’t see the 6-foot-4, 250-pound guys that can move the way he can move,” Jones-Drew added. “The league got spared because he was out. I just think once he gets back and he gets going again, you’ll see him back to where he was.”
The Titans and Jaguars’ history of producing terrific running backs looks to be repeating itself, as the latter has a young, blossoming tailback in James Robinson. He was underutilized last season but broke the record for most scrimmage yards of any undrafted rookie in 2020.
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