Tennessee Titans: Travis Benjamin worth a look
By P. L. Colter
If there is one thing that Tennessee Titans’ quarterback Marcus Mariota found out in his 2015 rookie campaign, it is that he probably had more speed and athleticism at the wide receiver position in Oregon, than he did in Nashville last season.
With free agency just a few days away, the Titans should be making plans on bringing wide receiver / return specialist Travis Benjamin in for a visit.
The addition of Benjamin would upgrade Tennessee’s roster in two key areas.
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The Titans’ receivers were one of the least productive units in the entire league last season. Tennessee’s leading receiver was Dorial Green-Beckham, and he averaged less than 35 yards a game.
A glaring weakness of the unit was their inability to make plays down the field. By season’s end, the Titans were a dink and dunk offense, and opposing defenses were well aware of it.
Speed is the calling card for Travis Benjamin, but he isn’t just a speed receiver. In his first feature role, Benjamin responded with a 68 catch, 966 yard, 5 touchdown performance last year in Cleveland. And he did so without an elite quarterback or solid run game.
Benjamin would give the Titans a legitimate deep play threat to play on the outside with DGB, while allowing Kendall Wright to move to the slot, where he has found most of his success over the middle of the field throughout his career.
One of the first things that Mike Mularkey vowed to change when becoming the full time head coach was the special teams unit, and Benjamin could help improve the team in that area as well.
Last season the Titans finished in the bottom half of the league in punt return average. Dexter McCluster was serviceable, but seemed to avoid contact far more often than not…calling for a fair catch in all but nine of his 24 attempts.
On the flip side, Harry Douglas was a disaster at punt returner, and should have called for a fair catch far more often than twice last season.
The Cleveland Browns had the fourth best punt return average in the league in 2015, thanks in large part to Benjamin, and his 11.6 yards per return. And Titans fans should all remember his 78 yard touchdown return against Tennessee in week 2 of last season.
In fact, Benjamin was the best player on the field that day, amassing 269 total yards (116 rec, 154 return) and three back-braking touchdowns, all of which came from a big play.
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That day Benjamin made Johnny Manziel look like Drew Brees. I wonder who he could make Marcus Mariota look like?
Travis Benjamin’s speed and elusiveness makes him an intriguing spread option and deep threat weapon for Mariota, and a top priority free agent prospect for the Titans.
If you can’t beat him, have him join you.