Ex-Rams RB Suggested Over Dalvin Cook for AFC Contender

Darrell Henderson

Getty Darrell Henderson runs through an opening on September 8, 2022 in Inglewood.

While Dalvin Cook remains a decorated name still out there with NFL training camps a month away from starting, one analyst is suggesting a former Los Angeles Rams starter gets signed over the four-time Pro Bowler.

Encouraged by Pro Football Focus’s Brad Speileberger on Wednesday, June 28, he believes it should be ex-Rams running back Darrell Henderson who joins James Cook in the backfield of the Buffalo Bills — rather than the AFC contender luring in the former Minnesota Vikings back and brother of the Bills’ rusher.

Spielberger believes that “Hendo” can bring an explosive change-of-pace element to the Bills if signed.

“The former Los Angeles Rams third-round pick was waived last season and landed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he was productive as an early-down runner in 2020, earning an 83.8 rushing grade that ranked 14th among running backs. His 40 explosive rushes over the span also placed in the top 20,” Speilberger wrote.

The analyst adds that by signing Henderson, he would give the Bills an “early-down bruiser” to help spell Cook.

Speilberger: “2022 second-round pick James Cook looks to be the leader of this backfield going forward, but the Bills still need an early-down bruiser who can lower his shoulder and fall forward behind a good push from the offensive line. Buffalo is now one of two teams in the NFL with more than $300 million in cash spending for 2023, so while adding James Cook’s brother Dalvin or another wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins would be flashier, a more under-the-radar move could be more prudent.”

‘Hendo’ Would Reunite With Former Rams Teammates

What could additionally help Henderson if he were to transition to Western New York? He’d be on a team with past Rams representation — from their Super Bowl 56 run.

The most prized member of that title-winning team who’s with the Bills is edge rusher Von Miller, who will be entering his second season with the franchise. His season was cut short due to an ACL tear. The Bills, though, weren’t done with adding past Rams during the 2023 offseason, as they signed safety Taylor Rapp to help bolster the secondary through a one-year deal worth $1.7 million.

Henderson shared RB duties with Sony Michel during that 2021 run to the Vince Lombardi Trophy while Rapp and Miller started on defense. That ’21 season eventually became Henderson’s last full season as a Ram. He was waived late during the 2022 season and got picked up by the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, he never got a single carry in the AFC South champion’s offense.

The 5-foot-8, 208-pound RB tallied 1,742 career rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in four seasons with the Rams per Pro Football Reference. Henderson remains an unsigned free agent ahead of 2023 camps across the league.

Where Is Dalvin Cook Suggested to Land?

As for Dalvin Cook, he became an official scratch for the Rams after the team pivoted back to Michel during the week of June 14.

So which place is the best suitor for him if not the Rams? Spielberger points to the Miami Dolphins — where he would team with former Rams captain and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

“Cook was released despite recording back-to-back seasons with at least 1,150 rushing yards, 45 missed tackles forced and 30 explosive rushes, ranking top six among running backs in all three categories. Miami has a very respectable three-headed monster in rookie Devon Achane, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr., but Cook is a true three-down workhorse who can add an element to this offense and keep defenses on their toes,” Spielberger wrote.

But, teams like the AFC East rival New York Jets have been mentioned as a possibility for the RB with four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.

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