How many positions will rookie Tyjae Spears play for the Tennessee Titans

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic - Tulane v USC
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic - Tulane v USC / Tom Pennington/GettyImages

How can the Tennessee Titans justify spending a top-100 pick on a backup running back? Take it with a grain of salt, but the news out of OTAs paint Tyjae Spears as more than just a running back.

There is nothing that this team loves to preach more than versatility, and there are times when it seems like they would prefer to have average guys with versatility instead of very talented players that need to play in a specific system.

The old expression goes that, "a jack of all trades is a master of none" but that isn't always the case. Guys like Denico Autry, Harold Landry, Elijah Molden, and Amani Hooker are all guys who have lined up in multiple spots in their careers and all four are very valuable pieces for the Tennessee Titans.

For Spears to prove that the Tennessee Titans were right to pick him, he is going to have to wear a lot of different hats. After hearing the offseason buzz, here are the roles that Spears has a chance to fill for this team.

Tyjae Spears, the Tennessee Titans new Swiss Army Knife

The first thing he is going to have to do might be the most obvious, but also the most difficult. The projection right now is that he will replace Dontrell Hilliard who was the team's second running back.

That obviously entails him taking over the third down duties which Derrick Henry is just never going to be good at, but it sounds like they want Spears to do more than just that. The words "change-of-pace-back" have been thrown around, but that isn't something that the Tennessee Titans have used in recent years even with someone as successful as Hilliard.

To wrestle away 10-12 carries per game from Derrick Henry sounds good on paper, but Henry really doesn't look like King Henry unless he has had 20+ carries. If Spears really will be the RB2, the Titans are going to have to figure out how to balance that correctly without turning into a team that runs the ball 70% of the time.

Another role that he will be able to fill is as a receiver, and not just a gadget receiver or a back running a flare route. Earlier in the offseason, Azeez Al-Shaair praised his route running which is something that has been echoed by other players.

If the Tennessee Titans are going to use tempo and line up in empty formations more often this season, having an offense with Treylon Burks, DeAndre Hopkins (maybe), Chig Okonkwo, Kyle Philips, and Tyjae Spears all on the field at the same time, puts a lot of stress on defenses.

Finally, with no clear punt returner Spears is one of the players that makes the most sense to fill that role.

Kyle Philips can be electric as a return man, but if the Tennessee Titans are even slightly concerned that he might get banged up on returns then they need to make sure they prioritize what he can do for the team on offense. Spears is a natural replacement considering that his workload on offense should be limited to 20ish snaps per game.

You want to land starters in the top-100, and maybe Spears gets to that point in a post-Derrick Henry world. However, until that time comes the Titans need him to step up and step into as many different roles as he can.