Although the Titans have found a backup to star back Chris Johnson in Shonn Greene (who was significantly overpaid), they still need to address the third tailback position. The job is currently occupied by much maligned Jamie Harper who has shown a maddening unwillingness to hit the hole and run like the big back he is. Harper has repeatedly sent audition tapes to Dancing with The Stars in his limited carries to date. It's really frustrating to see a back his size to show such daring capacity to avoid using his strength as his size allegedly belies. Another issue is that Darius Reynaud isn't exactly a prototypical back and thus should be limited to special teams duty. Fortunately, the Titans have a plethora of backs to choose from.
UCLA's Johnathan Franklin leads the way after a standout Senior Bowl and Combine. Franklin was often times the best back in Mobile without question. Giovanni Bernard holds the second spot after not doing anything to damage his stock. Mike Gillislee jumps up to third after being the second best back at the Senior Bowl behind Franklin. The one benefit of taking Gillislee is that he should have fresh tires as he sat behind some of the more talented backs at Florida before exploding during his senior year. Barner also had a good Senior Bowl outing as he showed great blocking skills for his size but showed somewhat middling numbers given the relative hype of his blinding speed. I'd like to grab him in the 4th or 5th to replace Reynaud in the return game. He has underrated strength and is a willing blocker. Le'Veon Bell really boosted his stock at the Combine by running a 4.52 40 after there were numerous speed questions about him. He proved that he isn't a typical plodding Big 10 back slow of foot like Ron Dayne. The one thing I do worry about is his almost criminal workload while at Michigan State (600+ carries in just TWO years.) Marcus Lattimore debuts on the chart after impressing everyone at his pro day by working out mere months after blowing out his knee. He could be a steal for someone in 2014 when he's fully healthy. The entire country has to be rooting for the guy to make it in the league. It was telling of his excellent character when even the Volunteers players instantly came to him when he got hurt. Randle slips from the top 3 after running a ghastly 4.6 40 and generally having a poor process. Zac Stacy and Ray Graham suffer from the same problem, the lack of size. Stacy has been flying up the boards, though. Is Eddie Lacy a product of the monstrous Alabama line? It looks like it after bad Pro Day where he was unable to finish the workout after injuries.
Players who missed out: Christine Michael Texas A&M and Montel Harris Temple. Michael could have the potential to be one of the best backs in the class but he's a head case. The reason why he got so few carries at A&M despite being the best back on the team? He has a litany of character issues and fumbling problems. When Kevin Sumlin is willing to trust Johnny Manziel (who is rumored to have a required full time "babysitter" and recently shoved an assistant during spring ball) more than you, you got issues. The off field stuff reared its ugly head when he reportedly blew off Combine team interviews to sleep in. Harris got kicked out of Boston College despite being one of the leading rushers in the ACC for off field stuff.
|1. Johnathan Franklin||5'10 205||UCLA||Senior|
|2. Giovani Bernard||5'8 202||UNC||RS Sophomore|
|3. Mike Gillislee||5'11 209||Florida||Senior|
|4. Kenjon Barner||5'9 196||Oregon||Senior|
|5. Le'Veon Bell||6'1 230||Michigan State||Junior|
|6. Montee Ball||5'11 214||Wisconsin||Senior|
|7. Marcus Lattimore||6'0 218||South Carolina||Junior|
|8. Andre Ellington||5'9 199||Clemson||Senior|
|9. Stepfan Taylor||5'9 216||Stanford||Senior|
|10. Joseph Randle||6'1 200||Oklahoma State||Junior|
|11. Stephfon Jefferson||5'11 213||Nevada||Junior|
|12. Zac Stacy||5'8 216||Vanderbilt||Senior|
|13. Ray Graham||5'9 199||Pittsburgh||Senior|