Tennessee Titans draft study: PFF ranks position groups that deserve 1st round picks

Tennessee Titans (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Tennessee Titans (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Running back

The Tennessee Titans will cut Dion Lewis at some point this offseason so as of right now the Titans basically have 0 running backs on the roster for the 2020 season.

Sure, they will go into the draft with at least one running back and that will probably be the NFL’s returning rushing leader Derrick Henry. However, with age starting to be a concern given the mortality of NFL running backs, it is time to start getting affairs in order.

How much should the Titans invest in a player who won’t play a ton in year one, but who should grow into a starter quickly?

Findings in my own words: Don’t spend a top-100 pick on them.

I am surprised by this myself, but the data does seem to show that running backs are often a product of their surroundings as much as they are a product of their own talent.

Is there a limit to a player with less talent playing in a great situation compared to a player with elite talent in a great situation? Sure, but you only have to look towards the past decade of Super Bowls to see that the difference is more statistical than anything. The teams with the best situations surrounding the running back usually fair better than good running backs in bad situations.

For the Titans, this means that maybe prioritizing a running back in the first few rounds isn’t as good of an idea as I thought. Maybe it makes more sense to invest later.