Last year the Tennessee Titans spent a second round pick on the first running back taken in the 2013 NFL Draft. That player was Bishop Sankey, and ever since he was drafted he was expected to fill the void of a bell-cow running back that Chris Johnson left behind. I know everyone is ready to tear down Bishop Sankey's career and call him a bust, but let's look at a better measurement of a running back's ability.
While everyone is ready to knock Bishop Sankey for his lack of rushing yards, but that is never a fair assessment of a running back's talent. Is Frank Gore a better running back than Jamaal Charles? No, but since Gore had 50 more carries than Charles, he has more rushing yards. However, YPC gives a much better indicator of how productive the running back actually was with the carries he was given.
Bishop Sankey was actually 24th by that metric, if you exclude players with less than 150 carries.
It isn't like Bishop Sankey was running behind the Dallas Cowboys offensive line, he was running behind several backups who have no business playing in the NFL.
Not only that, but how much did defenses have to respect Zach Mettenberger and Charlie Whitehurst's ability to throw with poise if they knew they were about to get hit? No, when there was run motion there was no reason for defenders to play disciplined football.
Comparing to other rookies
Among rookies with 150 carries, Bishop Sankey's YPC was fourth in 2014. Jeremy Hill was the top of the class with a bowling ball-like ability to burst through the defensive line and always fall forward.
Tre Mason was a nice surprise, however a 52-0 blowout against the Oakland Raiders where he he averaged 8.4 yards on 14 carries distorted his number a little bit.
Terrance West is the last man ahead of Bishop Sankey, and honestly there is no way you can compare the two offensive lines. If all 10 offensive linemen from both teams were healthy, the gap would be smaller, but with all of the good Titans offensive linemen injured except for Chance Warmack...man it isn't close.
So with that in mind, he isn't that far from the rest of the pack.
Carlos Hyde gets a lot of publicity, but the 49ers weren't leaning on Hyde to win games. Hyde had a stacked offensive line in front of him, and still made most of his hay as a light rotational guy, averaging just five carries per game.
Don't be so hasty
With an improved offensive line the running lanes should be much more clear. Not only that but in his first full offseason in the NFL, Sankey is bound to improve. Give Bishop Sankey some time, and if you were defending Zach Mettenberger this offseason you have to give the same grace to Sankey.