Top Level Sports
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Top Level Sports

AJ Dillon > Derrick Henry

An update on the mostly-unserious discourse.

Photo by Dylan Buell (Getty Images)

During this past NFL season, I became aware of 2 facts:

  1. Derrick Henry is not the heaviest running back in the NFL. Rather, he is tied for the heaviest RB. Both he and the Packers’ AJ Dillon are listed at 247 lbs.
  2. Despite Henry being a workhorse the likes of which we’ve never seen before — his 219 carries through the first 8 games of a season pre-injury were an NFL record — he wasn’t nearly as effective as he was when he led the NFL in rushing yards in 2019 and 2020.

Henry averaged 4.28 yards/carry in 2021, nearly a full yard fewer than he did in 2020–21 (5.24). Not only is that mark lower than AJ Dillon’s yards/carry in 2021 (4.29), it’s also below the league average for the season (4.33).

This means that based on this one rudimentary metric alone which I have determined to be above all others, I’m allowed to say that Derrick Henry is a below-average running back and the worst 247-pound RB in the NFL.

Sorry, I don’t make the rules.

More recently, I have become aware of a few more things. First, the NFL Combine results for each member of the 247-pound duo.

Derrick Henry ran a 4.54 40-yard dash. AJ Dillon ran a 4.53. Henry did 22 bench press reps. Dillon did 23. Henry had a 130" broad jump. Dillon’s was 131". Henry’s 3-cone time was 7.20 seconds. Do you even need me to tell you Dillon’s? 7.19.

He’s simply better.

Let’s look at their first 2 seasons in the NFL. Henry averaged 48.6 scrimmage yards and 0.35 scrimmage TDs per game. Dillon, who just completed his second season, has averaged 49.3 scrimmage yards and 0.32 scrimmage TDs in his career. Nearly identical.

Derrick Henry led the NFL in rushing in Year 4 and broke 2,000 rushing yards in Year 5.

Am I telling you AJ Dillon is going to have more than 2,000 rushing yards in 2025? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m telling you. He’ll surpass Henry’s 2,027 rushing yards and probably set a new NFL single-season record in the process.

Why? Because he’s a better player.

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Connor Groel

Connor Groel

Professional sports researcher. Author of 2 books. Relentlessly curious. https://linktr.ee/connorgroel