Denver Broncos running back De’Angelo Henderson caught head coach Vance Joseph’s eye in the team’s preseason finale.
The Denver Broncos placed an emphasis on their fourth and final running back spot available in a preseason victory (21-10) against the Arizona Cardinals, and De’Angelo Henderson may have come away a victor.
Henderson carried the ball 11 times for 53 yards (4.8 per carry) and caught three passes for 17 yards, including a long of 13.
Henderson’s competition for the fourth and final running back job is rookie seventh-round pick Dave Williams, who ran the ball 13 times for 43 yards (3.3 per carry) with six receptions for another 35 yards.
Williams topped Henderson in total touches and total yards from scrimmage (78-70) but was not nearly as effective on a per-play basis.
Henderson was slippery between the tackles and showed off the quickness that endeared him to the Denver Broncos fan base in last year’s preseason.
Based on what Henderson has shown this preseason in addition to last year’s preseason and the regular season finale (his only major action as a rookie), it seems like the former Coastal Carolina product should be a lock for the final roster despite some silly rumors to the contrary.
Henderson has exceptional speed and quickness for his size and finished the preseason with 25 carries for 103 yards, and eight receptions for 61 yards, and no touchdowns.
Williams finished the preseason with 27 carries for 79 yards and 10 receptions for 89 yards.
After the preseason finale, Vance Joseph was asked about players who stood out to him and he singled out Henderson saying that the second-year back played ‘inspired’ football.
Despite the fact that Williams showed promise this preseason as a receiver and showed well as a pass protector in college, Henderson is simply the player who can help the Broncos right now, playing a key role on special teams and offering great versatility out of the backfield.
The running back position is one of the Broncos’ strongest right now, and the thought that this team could afford to release someone like Henderson and just let teams pick him up off the waiver wire is absurd.
If the Broncos actually entertain that thought, they should be ashamed of themselves, especially after the way he was handled in his rookie season when he may have been the best back on the team if given a chance.
Denver now has two players in Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay who have earned prominent roles with the offense, and Devontae Booker didn’t dress for the final preseason game.
The team either thinks a lot of Booker, or he’s available for a trade.
Henderson has given the Broncos plenty to think about over the past year. In the 2017 preseason, Henderson ran for 129 yards on 28 carries.
It’s clear this guy is capable of being someone who can give your team five yards per carry off the bench, and also be really effective as a pass catcher with great moves and quickness in space.
Hopefully Henderson’s inspired play will inspire the Broncos to keep him on the roster.