When you are a 2-14 team like the Tennessee Titans were during the 2014 NFL season, you can almost throw a dart at the “needs Chart” and hit someone that could help this team. Head Coach, Ken Whisenhunt and his staff could use more pass rushers, another safety, a quarterback, wide receiver, blah…blah….blah, but what about a running back?
I still contend, that spending the 2015 effort on fixing the defense, and adding a few pieces in the offense will net eight games next season. It doesn’t matter if Zach Mettenberger, Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston are under center, or even Phillip Rivers, the teams needs some semblance of a running game to keep the defenses honest.
The Titans Had a Running Game In 2014?
A quick check of the 2014 statistics tell the story. The third leading rusher on the team was quarterback, Jake Locker. Locker was 22 rushes for 142 yards and one touchdown. He carried the ball for a 6.5 average, which was better than anyone except Kendall Wright. Wright had a 13.5 average, but only carried the ball four times during the year.
In fact, Lockers 6.5 average was over two yards better per carry than Shonne Greene who carried the rock 94 times for a 4.3 yard average. The work horse was of course, the first-year running back out of Washington, Bishop Sankey.
Sankey carried the ball 152 times for 569 yards and at an average of 7.7 yards per carry. Even when the season was for all practical purposes over, the Titans refused to had the ball to Sankey, if anything, just to evaluate him for the 2015 season.
The entirety of a running game by committee in 2014 consisted of 356 rushes for 1447 yards and six touchdowns. That’s pretty lame!
DeMarco Murray was the top back available
Where’s The Beef?
If you were anything like me, you had to think during the early stages of free agency that the Tennessee Titans would at least make a run at one of the work horses available on the market. DeMarco Murray was the top back available, but there were others that could have helped this team.
There was Mark Ingram in New Orleans, Justin Forsett in Baltimore, and Ryan Matthews from the Chargers. There was no sign of interest from the powers in Nashville, and no move was made on any of these backs.
I knew that the Titans would make at least a run at Frank Gore from San Francisco, or Shane Vereen from the World Champion, New England Patriots, but the cavalry didn’t come. The former University of Miami(Fl) star went to our division rival up North, and Vereen signed with the New York, Football Giants.
Second Round Running Back Possibilities
Let’s face it, most teams will not spend a first-round pick on a running back, but I expect at least two of them to disappear before the Titans make their second selection with the 33rd pick.
Todd Gurley out of the University of Georgia has been a first-round possibility all year, and Melvin Gordon out of Wisconsin has moved up the “Big Board” since the Scouting Combine in February.
The Todd McShay Mock 4.0 is projecting Gurley to the San Diego Chargers with the 17th pick, and Gordon falling into the second round. I don’t think Gordon will make it to the 33rd pick, especially with teams like the Cowboys needing a running back.
It just comes down to their willingness to spend a first-round pick on a Running Back.
This draft is deep in running backs, and there will be some good ones available when the Titans pick at 33.
- Duke Johnson Miami(Fl)
- Tevin Coleman Indiana
- Jay Ajayi Boise State
- Ameer Abdullah Nebraska
- T.J. Yeldon Alabama
- Jeremy Langford Michigan State
Ameer Abdullah is the top-ranked running back getting to the second round based on ESPN Draft Analyst, Mel Kiper Jr. and is 37th on the big board. Abdullah is a Senior who is 5’8″ at 205 pounds. He carried the rock 264 times in 2014 for 1611 yards, and 19 touchdowns.
This kid has all the intangibles a team could want. He is a hard worker both on, and off the field, was a good student, and is said to be great in the locker room. He is short(hard to find) in the backfield, and has the speed to hit the secondary.
Jay Ajayi is a very intruiging pick here, but has some character issues in his background. He’s 5’11” and 221 pounds, and knows how to pound the rock.
"Was arrested for stealing sweatpants in 2011, and was later sentenced to five days in jail. Was given a second-chance and took full advantage. Matured tremendously during four years at Boise State. Developed into a good student and was two-time Academic All-Mountain West."
It’s a Wrap
If the Tennessee Titans decide to improve their running game in the second round, there will be some nice players available. The norm is to take running backs in the later rounds to fill out special teams needs, but the Titans could make a statement here in the second round and there will still be fillers left for the later picks.