With Todd Gurley handling the lion's share of the carries and Malcolm Brown as his primary backup, Darrell Henderson played just 8.4 percent of the team's offensive snaps (95 out of 1,130) as a rookie in 2019 according to Football Outsiders.
However, what NFL.com columnist Michael Silver saw across those limited opportunities was enough for him to pick Henderson as his second-year player poised to take the biggest leap in 2020.
"Now Gurley is gone, and (Rams head coach Sean) McVay is counting on Henderson to be a productive and prolific runner," Silver wrote as part of his analysis. "He won't shoulder the burden alone, but he's going to get a chance to show what he's got. I expect him to seize the opportunity."
In an injury-shortened season – he sustained an ankle injury in late December that required surgery – Henderson rushed 39 times for 147 yards in 13 games, good for 3.8 yards per carry. He also posted four catches for 37 yards in the passing game.
"With Darrell, he was a guy that when you do a lot of work on him coming out of Memphis, you love everything about his game," McVay said on a June 11 video conference. "Complete player, a home run hitter, but you saw on some of the runs that he got last year where he's a finisher, too. I mean, he's an elusive back, but he's got some power and he's got some thickness that can allow him to really have some great contact balance and finish."
A closer look at some of his top performances – ones in which he was afforded ample opportunities – further reinforce Silver's claim and McVay's praise.
In Week 6 against the 49ers, he averaged 6.5 yards per carry, including ripping off a 22-yard run. His role had been elevated with Gurley out due to a thigh contusion and Brown taking over as the starter for that contest.
Two weeks later against the Bengals in London, Henderson had 11 carries for 49 yards plus two catches for 20 yards. The carries matched his season-high from the week before, and that work in the passing game was highlighted by a 14-yard reception.
"I think Darrell is a special talent," Rams quarterback Jared Goff said earlier this spring. "Special player, special talent and he can be dangerous. He's fast, he's athletic, he can catch extremely well."
Click here for the rest of Silver's analysis, as well as the second-year players selected by his Press Coverage colleagues Judy Battista, Jeffri Chadiha and Jim Trotter.