Derrick Henry says he hoped and expected to land with Miami Dolphins leading up to 2016 NFL Draft

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Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

Derrick Henry recently said he wanted to go to the Miami Dolphins and thought he would wind up there leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft.

“I wanted to go to Miami,” Henry said. “I wanted to play for the Dolphins. That’s where I wanted to go. That’s where I thought I was going. And I thought possibly I was gonna go to the [Carolina] Panthers. I thought it was a slim chance I might go to the [Dallas] Cowboys, but I figured they would probably take Zeke (Ezekiel Elliott) when they did.”

The University of Alabama running back instead was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the second round with the No. 45 overall pick. He recently completed his eighth season in Tennessee, where he became one of the best running backs in the NFL.

In the 2016 draft, the Dolphins made two selections before Henry came off the board. Miami chose University of Mississippi offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil in the first round at No. 13 overall and Baylor University cornerback Xavien Howard in the second round at No. 38 overall.

Those selections worked out okay for the Dolphins, though perhaps not as well as Henry might have. Miami wound up trading Tunsil to the Houston Texans in 2019 as part of a deal that brought back two first-round picks and a second-round choice.

Interestingly, the Dolphins ultimately traded those first-round picks to other teams, and they wound up being used on quarterbacks Jordan Love (No. 26 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers) and Trey Lance (No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers).

Miami used the second-round choice in the 2021 draft (No. 36 overall) on safety Jevon Holland. He and Howard have been key parts of the Dolphins secondary.

Elliott, at No. 4 overall to the Cowboys, was the only running back selected prior to Henry.

After passing on Henry, the Dolphins did in fact draft an Alabama running back in the third round, selecting Kenyan Drake at No. 73 overall. He was eventually traded to the Arizona Cardinals during his fourth season with Miami.

The powerful Henry became an All-Pro with the Titans and posted a season of 2,027 rushing yards in the 2020 NFL campaign that stands as the fifth-highest of all time. This season, the 30-year-old gained 1,167 rushing yards, his fifth 1,000-yard campaign on the ground.

It is thought that Henry will not be returning to the Titans and could be looking for a new team to continue his career. Though he may not fit the Miami profile of speedy running backs, perhaps he will someday get to don a Dolphins jersey after all.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NFL for almost three decades. He has been an avid follower of the AFC East since the days of Bob Griese and is looking forward to an exciting new era in the division.