In a list ranking the top 32 running backs in the league going into the 2022 season, Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry landed just inside the top three.

The rankings by Pro Football Network place Henry at No. 3 on the list, behind the Indianapolis Colts’ Jonathan Taylor (No. 1) and the Cleveland Browns’ Nick Chubb.

After being overworked for years, Derrick Henry finally proved mortal. A foot fracture forced him to miss the second half of the regular season, but he did make it back in time for the Titans’ Divisional Round loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Henry amassed a gargantuan 321 touches in 2019 and 397 in 2020, and he was heading towards an even larger total in 2021. Through eight games, Henry had posted 237 touches, good for 29.63 per game. At that rate, even over a 16-game season (as he played in 2019 and 2020), Henry would have collected 474 touches, the second-most by an RB since 1970 behind only James Wilder’s 492-touch 1984 campaign for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

With A.J. Brown no longer around, the Titans may be tempted to heavily lean on Henry again next season. He’s clearly the beating heart of Tennessee’s offense, but the team should be cautious as Henry enters his age-28 campaign.

After a serious foot injury cut Henry’s 2021 regular season short, there are many experts out there who are down on the Alabama product ahead of the 2022 campaign, something he’s well aware of.

“I get motivated by anything,” Henry said, per Jim Wyatt of Titans Online. “Someone could motivate me and wouldn’t even know it… The doubters, whatever they want to be, I am definitely motivated and ready to go. We’re going to see.”

Henry was routinely ranked as the No. 1 running back in the NFL in recent years after back-to-back rushing titles and a 2,000-yard season, and Henry was well on his way to another 2,000-yard campaign in 2021 before the injury.

Despite missing the final nine games, Henry still managed to finish with 937 yards, good for the ninth-most in the NFL, and his 10 rushing touchdowns were tied for sixth.

Henry’s expected downfall is premature and until we see another injury-plagued year or a season in which he’s outproduced over a full 17 games by the likes of Taylor and/or Chubb, he remains the best back of the three in our eyes.

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