Tennessee Titans RB Jamie Harper Needs Strong Training Camp


Aug 30, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Jamie Harper (23) stretches across the goal line scoring the only touchdown of the game and defeating the New Orleans Saints 10-6 during the second half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

One-fourth of the tailbacks in the Tennessee Titans backfield (if one includes Darius Reynaud) were replaced when the Titans added Shonn Greene to a stable of running backs that already included Chris Johnson and Jamie Harper. Eliminated from that equation was Javon Ringer, who still hasn’t found a job.

Could one-fourth become two-fourths, two-thirds of who were the primary options on the depth chart? Before the end of training camp, it’s a possibility. Just read between the lines with some of the post-draft moves that management has had just one week after the 2013 NFL Draft. There’s no doubt that they’re interested in someone who can compete with Harper for the No. 3 job.

On Apr. 28, Jim Wyatt from The Tennessean reported that the Titans had reached unconfirmed agreements with 15 undrafted free agents. One of their top-gets was Stefphon Jefferson, a running back who played his collegiate football with the University of Nevada. In 2012, the underclassman had 375 carries for 1,883 yards and 24 rushing touchdowns. Jefferson added a 25th touchdown as a receiver. Here’s what NFL.com claims about the 5-10, 213-pound back:

Jefferson is a back with great patience and vision. He has a good initial burst through the line of scrimmage, but he struggles to make people miss. He doesn’t have great top end speed or elite power to compensate for this issue. A team might use a late selection of Jefferson for his reliability as a runner.

Another tidbit of news came when John Glennon from The Tennessean tweeted this out on May 3:

At age 27, Jalen Parmele is coming off his most productive season as a NFL running back: As a member of the 2012-13 Jacksonville Jaguars, Parmele had 40 carries for 143 yards and seven receptions for 60 yards. In a Nov. 25 game against the Titans, Parmele had eight carries for 45 yards. He played most of that game with a groin injury that, two days later, would force him to injured reserve, ending his season.

What does this mean? Jamie Harper isn’t a shoo-in to win the No. 3 job. While Harper has never gotten much of a chance to showcase his skills, he hasn’t shown much reason to get one. His 36 carries for 74 yards—and 19 carries for 30 yards this past season—raise concerns on his ability to play at this level. Of course, those averages are lowered when one considers that he’s often used as a goal-line back. Even then, most goal-line carries will go to the newly-acquired Greene.

Expect Harper to get a long look in training camp. Does the third-year running back deserve a spot on the 53-man roster come Sep. 8? He should get more than enough preseason snaps to prove it.