Where does the Tennessee Titans’ trio of their top quarterback, running back and wide receiver rank in the NFL?
NFL.com did a list ranking the quarterback, running back and wide receiver trios of every NFL team, and the Tennessee Titans came in near the bottom of the list.
If not for people being down on quarterback Marcus Mariota, the Titans likely would have been higher on this list. That’s because both running back Derrick Henry and No. 1 wide receiver Corey Davis both took big leaps forward in 2018.
Despite those facts about Henry and Davis, NFL.com’s Ali Bhanpuri ranked the Titans’ trio No. 25 in the league for the 2019 season.
Here’s what Bhanpuri had to say:
"Henry was the hottest running back in the league at the end of last season, racking up the most rushing yards (655), touchdowns (8) and yards per attempt (6.2) among players with at least 55 carries over the final six weeks. During that stretch, he also had nearly 200 more yards after contact than the next-closest back (Chris Carson), per Pro Football Focus. The Titans will need Henry, who’s entering a contract year, to sustain that type of production for a full season to take pressure off Mariota, who has yet to show that he can carry the offense since being selected No. 2 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. Davis took a huge leap from Year 1 to Year 2, and I expect him to do the same this upcoming season, especially with free-agent addition Adam Humphries working underneath."
Breaking down Tennessee Titans trio
Indeed Henry was a beast towards the end of last season. In his final four games, Henry totaled 585 yards and seven touchdowns, which included a record-tying 99-yard touchdown run against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 14.
That four-week stretch aided Henry in becoming the highest-graded running back in the second half of the season, per Pro Football Focus.
At that kind of pace—or even something remotely close to it—Henry could be in for a monster 2019 campaign, sporting the qualities of both a bruiser and a home run hitter who can make a house call from anywhere on the field.
As for Davis, the young receiver made significant progress in his second season. He finished with 891 yards and four touchdowns, all of which occurred with Mariota dealing with an elbow injury for much of the season and Davis having to rely on backup Blaine Gabbert to throw him the rock.
Davis is a surefire candidate to break 1,000 yards this season with a hopefully healthy Mariota under center.
But now that Mariota has bulked up this offseason, he should be able to absorb hits much better, keeping him on the field for what the Titans will hope is a full 16-game slate. If he can do that, Mariota will enjoy the best group of pass-catchers he has ever had thanks to the moves general manager Jon Robinson made during the offseason.
Reasons for optimism with Tennessee Titans’ Marcus Mariota
Along with Davis and the return of tight end Delanie Walker, Mariota will enjoy new additions like free-agent acquisition and slot receiver Adam Humphries, and second-round pick A.J. Brown.
Beyond them, tight end Jonnu Smith and receivers Taywan Taylor and Tajae Sharpe each have another year of experience under their belts. They will likely be options No. 5, 6 and 7 in the Titans’ passing attack.
Despite the lack of optimism out there for Mariota’s 2019 prospects, there is still a ton of upside here.
Mariota was running for dear life in 2018, as he was sacked 42 times. He still managed to post the highest completion percentage of his career (68.9) and boasted the fourth-best adjusted completion percentage when under pressure (72.5).
If the Titans can get their rushing attack going like it was at the end of last season, Mariota should have plenty of space and time to work with down the field with his new weapons. A revamped offensive line should also do wonders for the former Heisman Trophy winner.
Mariota has already shown a knack for making the deep throws, so it’ll be interesting to see what he can do with more time.
Should things work out as well as they seem on paper, this ranking could be vastly higher when the 2019 season ends.
Until then, Titans fans will keep their fingers crossed.