-- Former Alabama running back Derrick Henry is built like a truck, and he has the speed to carry the rock at the pro level. But after Henry put on a really good show during NFL combine workouts over the weekend, how does the 247-pound beast project from a fantasy perspective heading into the 2016 season?
With any rookie, you have to be a little cautious in expecting immediate results. The transition to the pro game isn't always a smooth one. And these young cats can struggle at times to adapt to the speed of NFL Sundays. However, there was some legitimate talent on display in Indianapolis and I see five prospects that could produce numbers for your fantasy squad in the fall.
Here are five players to think about as you continue your offseason prep in anticipation of the 2016 fantasy football season, including Henry, another star RB, two WRs and one QB.
Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
At 6-foot-2, 247 pounds, Henry busted out a 4.54 40-yard dash time. That's real speed for a man with that type of size.
Now, Henry didn't break any records when tested on change of direction, but given his height and linear speed, it meshes with the game tape. He's a downhill guy -- an inside runner with power, strength, cutback vision and the durability to carry the load in his rookie season. He's going to move that pile. Plus, when Henry gets through the second-level, he is a problem for defenses in the open field. How many safeties want to square up a guy this guy? Henry can make defenders miss.
Henry isn't going to bring the same versatility to the pros as a receiver out of the backfield when compared with Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott or Louisiana Tech's Kenneth Dixon, but he did catch the ball well during positional drills and he can develop as a route runner under pro coaching.
What owners get when drafting Henry is a big back who can grind out carries, find the end zone in goal-line situations and bring the ability to rip off explosive gains. There's a lot to like with the Heisman Trophy winner. Size, power and speed. He has the look of a RB1 as a rookie.
Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
We have to be realistic with rookie quarterbacks who are thrown right into the fire, because they make mistakes. That means turnovers and missed opportunities. No different than Jameis Winston at the start of 2015. It takes time for these rooks to get rolling. However, after watching Wentz (6-foot-5, 237 pounds) light up the Senior Bowl practices and then seeing him sling the ball during the combine workouts, there is something to work with here for the FCS product.
Wentz played in a pro-style/multiple system at North Dakota State and that showed during workouts. His footwork is smooth in his drops, he can anticipate routes, the ball placement is on point and he can rip it. The velocity is there to make every throw in an NFL route tree. Plus, he has the athleticism (4.77 40-yard dash) to go along with his pro frame. He will tuck the ball and go.
Along with Cal's Jared Goff, Wentz is in the discussion as the top quarterback in the 2016 class. He's checked off every box so far, aced the combine test and looks set to be a QB2 in fantasy leagues. Draft him, stash him on the bench and put him in the lineup once he catches up to the speed and challenges of the pro game as a rookie.
Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
Treadwell didn't run the 40-yard dash at the combine (he will run at his pro day) and his testing numbers were average (33-inch vertical jump, 9-feet, 9-inch broad jump). However, don't sleep on the 6-foot-2, 222-pound receiver out of Ole Miss. This is a big-bodied wide receiver. He's a physical guy who knows how to win with leverage at the point of attack. And that equals production in the NFL passing game.
Treadwell reminds me of former NFL star Keyshawn Johnson. Think of inside breaking routes, the quick fade and the red zone opportunities. He's going to showcase the box-out ability to pin defensive backs and he has the catch radius to go grab the football.
Treadwell had a very good day Saturday in the wide receiver positional drills and displayed soft hands while catching the football. No, he isn't a burner, 4.3 or 4.4 guy on the stopwatch. But his tape tells me he has the game speed to make plays versus NFL defensive backs. Treadwell should be looked at as a WR2 this upcoming season, and his quarterback will love tossing him the rock in the red zone. That's money.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Elliott is the top running back in the 2016 class, with the pro size and versatility to really stack up production as a rookie. At 6 feet and 225 pounds, Elliott has the thickness to run between the tackles and the speed and burst to push the ball up the field (4.47 40-yard dash). He showed the quickness during position drills that you want in a top-tier running back. There's the jump cut ability and lateral movement skills. He can scoot and slip tackles.
What fantasy owners are going to love about Elliott is his three-down ability. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, block in pass protection and produce in matchup situations. A smart offensive coordinator will use Elliott as a movable piece in the game plan to create matchup issues versus linebackers.
RB1? No question. Elliott is a complete player at the position and could have an impact similar to a Matt Forte. Run, catch, block. He can do it all.
Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma
Shepard (5-foot-10, 194 pounds) really impressed me at Senior Bowl practices with his lateral movement skills and route-running ability. He was electric on that field in Mobile. He is a true slot receiver who can tear up nickel cornerbacks on option routes, shallow crossers, stick moves and the inside seam. He can set them up, separate at the top of the route and go to work. Smooth. The only question I had on Shepard was his speed. Could he stretch the field a little bit?
On Saturday, Shepard ran a 4.48 40-yard dash and also posted an eye-opening 41-inch vertical jump. That's a very good time for Shepard, and he has some really explosive power in those legs. I do think Shepard is going to earn his money winning in the slot, but don't be surprised if he gets some looks outside of the numbers too. I'm really excited to watch him as a pro. Route running is the key in the NFL -- and he has it. Target Shepard as a solid flex option in 2016.