Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens matchup is big for rookie sleeper

Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports
Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports /

It is early, but the Tennessee Titans must feel very good about how their rookies are doing and their depth chart backs that up.

Treylon Burks has been the best receiver in training camp in large part because he never seems to take a break. He has been one of the most well-conditioned players on the field and has made some massive plays so far (especially with Ryan Tannehill).

Roger McCreary is doing so well that he seamlessly slid into the starting lineup when Elijah Molden started dealing with an injury early in training camp. Don’t forget that the Tennessee Titans use a lot of dime personnel (6 DBs) on defense, so there is a good chance that he shows up early and often even as a rookie.

Nicholas Petit-Frere always looked like he would be a better right tackle than a left tackle, and he is pushing Dillon Radunz for a job in his rookie season. The smart money is that both NPF and Radunz are starting tackles in 2023.

The list goes on and on and I haven’t even mentioned Kyle Philips and Chig Okonkwo who are going to be key role players (if not starters) this season.

One player who isn’t getting a lot of shine right now is running back Hassan Haskins.

Why Hassan Haskins is the Tennessee Titans’ secret weapon tonight

When the regular season gets here, Derrick Henry is going to be a high-volume running back once again. Still, you can expect him to watch from the sidelines on 3rd and medium because frankly he is a bad blocker and he has never been able to consistently catch dump-offs and make a play.

Dontrell Hilliard will come in and be the third-down back and he will be responsible for pass protection and catching passes.

That dynamic is already set in stone, but what we don’t know is how frequently the Tennessee Titans will try to use a different running back when Henry might need to take a breath or recover after a long run. Some of that will depend on what Hassan Haskins is able to do during the preseason.

By all accounts, Haskins has been a physical presence in practices and that matches up with what he showed at Michigan during his final year. If you want to go see just how effective he can be, go look up his game against Ohio State where he had 5 rushing touchdowns and helped carry Michigan to their first win over OSU since 2011 (and only their second win in the last 17 years).

You can expect to see a competitive offensive line against the Baltimore Ravens and that line should include Aaron Brewer and Jamarco Jones playing a lot of snaps at left guard, Corey Levin anchoring the center position, and Dillon Radunz and NPF playing a lot of snaps at right tackle.

If the Tennessee Titans can get good blocking from left guard, center, and right tackle all night, then it would help create creases for Haskins to run through and make a play.

During his time at Michigan you wouldn’t call Haskins an explosive running back, but he has always been quick to the hole and he has great vision. He rarely leaves yards on the field and his ability to run behind his pads and keep his feet moving, and both things will appeal to the Tennessee Titans when they are looking for someone to carry the ball with Henry on the sidelines.

If Haskins shows out against the Ravens, that could help calm Titans fans down when Derrick Henry isn’t on the field for every single snap this season. Have faith that Henry can sustain the workload that the Titans give him, but try to remember that running backs don’t last forever, and rest now means more years from him in the future.