Memphis back Darrell Henderson should be one of the first running backs drafted later this week, most likely before the end of Day 2. His 1,909 rushing yards last year were more than any college back but Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor (who will return for his junior season). He did it while averaging 8.9 yards per carry, tops in college football.

High yards per carry doesn't always translate to NFL success. Maybe the back was running behind a dominant offensive line, or against crummy opposition. But looking at some of the top college backs drafted in recent years, that metric yields more hits -- running backs who have enjoyed at least some NFL success -- than misses.

In the last 15 years, there have been 110 running backs selected in the first three rounds of the draft. None of those guys had a higher yards per carry than Henderson. A lot of the best ones in that regard had some success, albeit with some notable exceptions.

In this table, I'm listing all backs drafted in the first three rounds since 2004 who averaged at least 5.5 yards per attempt in their final college seasons. I'm including some of top college backs from 2018, many of whom will likely also be selected before the end of round 3. (No Josh Jacobs, who averaged 5.3 yards per attempt at Alabama last year, or David Montgomery, 4.7, although they're expected to be selected by the end of the day Friday.)

YearRd Player School Avg YdsAtt
2019?Darrell HendersonMemphis8.92141909
20081Felix JonesArkansas8.71331162
20061Reggie BushSouthern California8.72001740
20113Alex GreenHawaii8.21461199
20181Sony MichelGeorgia7.91561227
20181Rashaad PennySan Diego State7.82892248
20143Dri ArcherKent State7.868527
20151Melvin GordonWisconsin7.53432587
20153Tevin ColemanIndiana7.52702036
20151Todd GurleyGeorgia7.4123911
20142Carlos HydeOhio State7.32081521
20122LaMichael JamesOregon7.32471805
20052J.J. ArringtonCalifornia7.02892018
20142Jeremy HillLouisiana State6.92031401
20153Duke JohnsonMiami6.82421652
20172Joe MixonOklahoma6.81871274
2019?Darwin ThompsonUtah State6.81531044
20132Giovani BernardNorth Carolina6.71841228
20062LenDale WhiteSouthern California6.61971302
20163C.J. ProsiseNotre Dame6.61571029
20101Ryan MathewsFresno State6.62761808
20171Leonard FournetteLouisiana State6.5129843
20143Jerick McKinnonGeorgia Southern6.51611050
20132Eddie LacyAlabama6.52041322
2019?Trayveon WilliamsTexas A&M6.52711760
20052Eric SheltonLouisville6.4146938
20081Rashard MendenhallIllinois6.42621681
2019?Elijah HolyfieldGeorgia6.41591018
20171Christian McCaffreyStanford6.32531603
20061DeAngelo WilliamsMemphis6.33101964
20161Ezekiel ElliottOhio State6.32891821
20173D'Onta ForemanTexas6.33232028
20083Jamaal CharlesTexas6.32581619
20073Garrett WolfeNorthern Illinois6.23091928
20053Ryan MoatsLouisiana Tech6.22881774
20081Jonathan StewartOregon6.22801722
20101Jahvid BestCalifornia6.1141867
20172Dalvin CookFlorida State6.12881765
20152Ameer AbdullahNebraska6.12641611
20143Terrance WestTowson6.14132519
20071Marshawn LynchCalifornia6.12231356
20183Royce FreemanOregon6.02441475
20112Mikel LeshoureIllinois6.02811697
20042Tatum BellOklahoma State6.02131286
20182Nick ChubbGeorgia6.02231345
20081Chris JohnsonEast Carolina6.02361423
20093Shonn GreeneIowa 6.03071850
20051Ronnie BrownAuburn6.0153913
2019?Travis HomerMiami6.0164985
20063Jerious NorwoodMississippi State5.91911136
20182Ronald JonesSouthern California5.92611550
20093Glen CoffeeAlabama 5.92331383
20121Trent RichardsonAlabama5.92831679
20121David WilsonVirginia Tech5.92901709
20082Matt ForteTulane5.93612127
20041Kevin JonesVirginia Tech5.92811647
20181Saquon BarkleyPenn State5.92171271
2019?Justice HillOklahoma State5.9158930
2019?Jordan ScarlettFlorida5.9131776
20173Alvin KamaraTennessee5.8103596
20091Beanie WellsOhio State 5.82071197
2019?Damien HarrisAlabama5.8150876
2019?Miles SandersPenn State5.82201274
20143Tre MasonAuburn5.73171816
20142Bishop SankeyWashington5.73271870
20053Vernand MorencyOklahoma State5.72581474
20083Kevin SmithCentral Florida5.74502567
20091Donald BrownConnecticut 5.73672083
20081Darren McFaddenArkansas5.63251830
20173Kareem HuntToledo5.62621475
20051Cedric BensonTexas5.63261834
20162Derrick HenryAlabama5.63952219
20101C.J. SpillerClemson5.62161212
20091Knowshon MorenoGeorgia 5.62501400
20111Mark IngramAlabama5.5158875
20042Julius JonesNotre Dame5.52291268
20123Ronnie HillmanSan Diego State5.53111711
20102Toby GerhartStanford5.53431871

Some of the guys near the top washed out quickly. Alex Green, LaMichael James, J.J. Arrington. Felix Jones was a disappointment.

But Reggie Bush went on to have a solid career. Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley have been pretty great. Sony Michel looked good as a rookie, Rashaad Penny showed promise at times, and guys like Coleman, Hill, Hyde, Mixon, Johnson and Bernard have had some success.

At 5-foot-8 Henderson is on the small side, but he's solidly built at 200 pounds. He ran a 4.49 at the combine; he's got some breakaway ability (as the 8.9 indicates). I don't know if he'll definitely be one of the top 5 running backs drafted, though I think he will be -- and likely one of the top 5 backs in rookie drafts too.

Henderson caught 63 passes in college, so he has some receiving ability, although his size could be an issue in pass protection. I'm hoping he ends up with a team that won't be put off by his size. Get him in the right offense, perhaps paired with a nominal veteran back who he can quickly shunt into a secondary role, and there's some potential.

--Andy Richardson