Broncos could use Carlos Henderson similar to Jerick McKinnon
The Denver Broncos have plenty of players to spread the ball to. Perhaps they can use Carlos Henderson a bit like Jerick McKinnon…
The Denver Broncos have a great problem on their hands.
For the first time in what feels like forever, the Broncos seem to have a plethora of weapons on the offensive side of the football.
Now, these weapons are not all yet proven. In fact, most of them are completely unproven at the NFL level. One of those unproven but very talented prospects is Carlos Henderson, a player who has been expected to make an impact from the day he was drafted in 2017.
Henderson’s elite athleticism, straight-line speed, and ability to break or miss tackles in the open field are traits the Broncos need to find ways to exploit.
As I was watching Case Keenum tape, I couldn’t help but notice the variety of creative ways the Minnesota Vikings and former offensive coordinator (now New York Giants head coach) Pat Shurmur got running back Jerick McKinnon involved.
McKinnon was on the field for 158 rushing plays for the Vikings, and a whopping 296 passing plays.
I propose the Broncos steal at least some concepts from the Vikings in the ways they use McKinnon. I’m not suggesting a full position switch for Henderson, though he was a very good high school running back who converted to receiver in college.
Henderson was used out of the backfield a lot at Louisiana Tech, where they simply found ways to get him the football.
There were two primary ways the Vikings got McKinnon the ball outside of just handing it to him as the primary running back.
They either designed quick passing plays for him, or they used him in the slot.
Where McKinnon excels (and why the San Francisco 49ers made him one of the highest paid backs in the NFL) is making plays in space.
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That is where Carlos Henderson also excels.
These two players are not exactly the same by any means. Henderson has the potential to be a much more dynamic receiver. With that being said, it would be foolish of the Broncos not to try and get Henderson involved in the offense more, specifically by getting him the ball in space and letting him get to work.
The Broncos have a number of backs that can catch the ball out of the backfield, but imagine an offensive grouping with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders on the outside, Jake Butt in the slot, and Case Keenum flanked by Henderson and Devontae Booker in the backfield.
There are so many ways the Broncos could model their offense after the Vikings, because after what they accomplished last season with so many personnel changes and injuries, why wouldn’t you copy some of their concepts?
One way I would like to see them copy the Vikings is by using Henderson a bit like McKinnon, even though he’s not going to get nearly as much play on running downs.
Henderson is a dynamic talent and coming off of injury, he’s got a lot to prove. The Broncos, however, need to make sure they accelerate his development in year two by putting him in positions to succeed. Watching McKinnon, it’s hard to think Henderson wouldn’t excel in that type of role and become a significant weapon for the Broncos in 2018.