Buy all of the Darrynton Evans stock you can because the Tennessee Titans rookie running back is key to their success.
Derrick Henry is the A1 running back for the Tennessee Titans and he is going to get the bulk of the touches.
However, it would be foolish to think that means that rookie running back Darrynton Evans is going to be able to kick back and learn patiently from the bench in 2020.
The big reason for that is because, through a combination of play-action responsibilities and play design, the Tennessee Titans are the league’s leaders running backs pass blocking (numbers in the tweet below from Hayden Winks).
If Derrick Henry was a good pass blocker then this wouldn’t really mean anything to the Tennessee Titans, but as most fans know at this point, Henry is terrible as a pass blocker.
While he does so many things well and his combination of physicality in space and athleticism make him one of the most unique running backs in the last decade, he isn’t perfect. His big flaw has always been his usage on 3rd down and what he can do for you when he is asked to be on the field for a pass play.
That has been masked throughout his career by screen passes and the occasional wildcat QB play where he passes it to Corey Davis for a touchdown while Earl Thomas was in coverage…alright that last one just happened once, but it was great.
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Anyway, that is where the second tweet in that thread comes in.
According to Winks, Darrynton Evans was a good pass blocker in college and he did it often enough to get a good feel for what he would be asked to do at the next level.
With Dion Lewis gone, you can fully expect Evans to eat up 100% of his 3rd down snaps if he can prove that he is up to the task in the preseason.
That would give the Titans a running back who has the skills to run inside or outside, catch passes and block if asked. That would be a revelation for this offense considering they haven’t had anything like that since Demarco Murray was paired with Derrick Henry in Henry’s rookie year.
There is a chance that this new balance gives Derrick Henry more rest while also getting an exciting and fresh running back on the field more often, which can only be good for the offense.
So while people want to focus on the “regression” or the struggles that the Titans offense might face this season, the fact is that one of the biggest flaws in Tennessee’s record-breaking offense might be fixed.