Is Jalston Fowler Key To Tennessee Titans 2015 Running Game?
By Les Bailey
If the Tennessee Titans intend to improve on the disaster that was a 2-14 season last year, and if rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota is going to be successful this year, the Titans will need to improve on their 26th ranked running game in 2015.
Fowler should also be a top contributor on Special Teams
We all know that head coach Ken Whisenhunt loves versatile players who can perform multiple functions and ones who are more driven by the team’s success than those seeking personal stats. He drafted such a player in Alabama fullback Jalston Fowler with the 108th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
A pure fullback in today’s National Football League is almost a dying art, and requires someone who can do multiple thankless jobs around the offense with the most important being moving the sticks on third down and short yardage.
Whether he is asked to be the lead blocker at the point of attack, be the safety valve for a short pass, the last option for protecting the quarterback, or carry the rock between the tackles, the Senior from Alabama can do it all.
We saw him do it week-in and week-out in the Southeast Conference and Titans running backs coach, Sylvester Crooms thinks Fowler can continue at the NFL level.
After the draft in an article from ESPN Titans reporter, Paul Kuharsky:
Croom, the Titans’ running backs coach, said he’s always believed that to draft a fullback, he’s got to be a great blocker and also bring more.
"“If you just count fullback snaps, most of the time 12-15 plays is normal just for a true lead blocker,” Croom said. “But when you count the guy’s value on special teams, that can be another 10-15 plays. A guy who catches the ball out of the backfield, he gets to play more. A guy that you may use as a runner in one-back situations to finish a game and give you some depth, he gets to play more.“And that’s what Jalston does. He’s more than just a fullback.”"
Greg Cosell from NFL films didn’t agree with the Croom’s evaluation, but said “he liked the pick”.
Whisenhunt has been known to use a fullback in his attack, and without a key player at that position, Per ESPN Stats and Info, only used a fullback 11.9% of the 2014 plays. This was a stark contrast from his days in San Diego when he used a fullback 26.2% of the time.
If Jalston Fowler can live up to the reason he was drafted by the Titans, this average should come up to the level we saw from Whisenhunt’s teams in San Diego and Arizona.
Fowler should also be a top contributor on Special Teams.
One would expect that newly-drafted wideout, Dorial Green-Beckham will be a hot target in the Red Zone this year based on his size, and skill-set, but if Fowler can become a go-to guy when the team needs a first down, he can also become an option when they need a touchdown.
I think drafting Jalston Fowler in the fourth round was a great pick-up for the Tennessee Titans. He is an unselfish team player who will do anything to help this team win football games. The type of player who will do all the dirty jobs with little, or no recognition.
The draft guide from ESPN had this to say about the 2014 team captain’s intangibles:
"Coaches rave about him. Very good personal and football character. Team player. Very well-respected by teammates. Not a great tester but has good football intelligence. No off-the-field issues. Is single and has one child (son: Jalston Fowler Jr.). Was raised in single-parent home by mother. Graduated December of 2014."
Next: A Possible Target For The Titans In The Supplemental Draft