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Is Derrick Henry the Next Eddie George?


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Derrick Henry considers Eddie George his football role model.

George, who ran for over 10,000 yards during his career with the Titans, has admired the Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama himself.

"He is an imposing figure. He rushed for 2,000 yards in the SEC, and that's phenomenal,'' George said of Henry. "I think he is going to be successful in the NFL. Let's not kid ourselves here: He is not a guy who is going to come in and be a bust.

"I think he has the physical stature to be as great as he wants to be. It's just a question of: Can he be more than just a bruiser? If he can prove he can pick up the blitzes and so forth, and he can catch the ball out of the backfield and be an asset in the passing game, he can really be special.

"I am not concerned about his running style at all. I think he can be a dominant back in this league."

The Titans selected Henry in the second round of the NFL Draft.

The first back many thought of after the pick was DeMarco Murray, since the Titans traded for the former Cowboys and Eagles running back earlier in the offseason.

The next back that came to mind was George, because of similarities with Henry. Both were Heisman Trophy winners in college – George at Ohio State, and Henry at Alabama, where he racked up 2,219 yards and 28 touchdowns.

And both made a name for themselves with a bruising running style.

"If you're the Tennessee Titans and their fan base, you should like this pick,'' NFL Network's Bucky Brooks said of Henry. "This is an Eddie George clone, a guy that excels at running between the tackles and off tackle in a zone-based system. I love how he comes downhill. He is a guy that grinds it out. If I'm the Tennessee Titans, now I can split the load between DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. We can grind it out, protect and alleviate some of the pressure on Marcus Mariota. They've talked about this draft being all about Marcus Mariota. Derrick Henry is another beast that takes pressure off of Mariota. "

George, selected in the 1996 NFL Draft, became the Oilers/Titans franchise leader in career rushing yards (10,009).

George was 6-foot-3, and roughly 230 pounds when he entered the NFL. The 6-foot-2 Henry weighed 247 pounds at the NFL Combine.

George said Henry will need to make sure he keeps his weight in check.

But he thinks the Titans will get plenty of bang for their buck in Henry, the 45th pick of the second round. Earlier this offseason, George applauded the acquisition of Murray, who won the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year award in 2014 with the Cowboys. Murray played last season with the Eagles.

"His strength and his size,'' George said of Henry. "He has exceptional breakaway speed. … I think Henry is an A, A-plus guy. The guy rushed for 2,000 yards last year. He can take over a game when he gets going. I like his style."

The Titans select Alabama RB Derrick Henry in the second round (45th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft. (AP Photos)

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