ESPN Analyst Predicts This Surprise for the L.A. Rams [LOOK]

Darrell Henderson

Getty Darrell Henderson moves the ball against Nathan Shepherd of the New York Jets during a December 20, 2020 regular season game.

Is Darrell Henderson really the top running back option for the Los Angeles Rams? Or is the new guy Sony Michel really RB1?

Well, ESPN analyst and staff writer Dan Graziano wrote his lists of surprises for the upcoming 2021 season on Wednesday, September 1.

And Graziano already believes that the former New England Patriot, acquired via trade on Wednesday, August 25, is primed to take the backfield reins.


What Graziano Predicts

Graziano says: “Don’t be surprised if Sony Michel gets more carries than Darrell Henderson.”

Here’s what else he wrote:

“What I’m hearing: It sounds as if the Rams believe Henderson and the newly acquired Michel compliment each other statistically, which indicates they could use both as a committee. But, one big reason they acquired Michel after Cam Akers suffered his season ending Achilles injury was that Henderson has had a hard time staying consistently healthy.”

“L.A. is a second chance for the former Patriots first rounder Michel, and if he can stay on the field and the Rams play with the lead enough, his style and Henderson’s health history could combine to make Michel the back on whom the Rams lean the hardest.”

Currently, Henderson sustained a thumb injury and had to leave practice on Monday, August 23. Plus, per the website draftsharks.com, Henderson has suffered three injuries since August 2020 including the recent hand thumb sprain. He’s had five total injuries in his NFL career that dates back to October 20, 2018.


Is Henderson’s Injury History a Real Cause of Concern?

Here’s where things now stand following the 53-man roster deadline after 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday, August 31: Henderson, Michel and rookie Jake Funk are the only three active backs per the Rams’ team website. Rams team reporter Stu Jackson wrote this about the RB room following the completion of the Rams’ final depth chart:

“With Akers sustaining a torn Achilles prior to training camp and being placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list, Henderson is the lead back, with Michel’s physical presence complementing Henderson and the rest of the group. Funk makes the roster after overcoming two ACL injuries in college and getting drafted in the seventh-round. Xavier Jones was Waived/Injured.”

The Rams are really rolling the dice and going with three running backs, with Jones out and heading to injured reserve after sustaining an Achilles injury in his ankle. Jones is now the third Rams RB to suffer an injury along with Henderson and Akers.

Michel, though, hasn’t been one to avoid the injury bug either. He battled two grade one knee strains in 2018 between the time frame of August to October per draftsharks.com. He missed six games starting on September 30 of last year due to a leg quad strain.

Michel managed six starts and ran for 449 yards on 79 carries, with his longest run stretching 19 yards last season. However, when healthy, the 5-foot-11, 215-pounder scored 13 touchdowns and ran for 1,843 yards in 29 games including 22 starts.


New Number for Michel

Also, Michel will wear a different number than the one he was given when he arrived to the Rams.

Michel was seen rocking No. 25 after starting out with the No. 14. L.A. radio personality Nick Hamilton of iHeartRadio and Sirius XM later confirmed that Michel will have the number moving forward.

It will be Michel’s third number change, as he was this number with the Patriots.


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