It sounds odd on the surface, but the Titans should totally steer clear of the running back class this spring in Chicago. For a few years now we have witnessed a run game that can't get anything going consistently on the ground. There's a slew of backs already on the roster, but none of them have really laid claim to the job.
Bishop Sankey appeared to be the future after Tennessee made him the first back selected in the 2014 draft, but he has yet to do much of anything in the league. He was trumped early on by Shonn Greene his rookie year, then failed to take the job and run when Whisenhunt offered him the bulk of the carries. In 2015 Antonio Andrews took the job from Sankey, but only managed a measly 3.6 yards per carry. Andrews was then replaced for David Cobb who was coming off of an injury, but Cobb only managed 2.8 yards per carry. Brutal.
And let's not place the blame solely on the running backs here. This offensive line was brutal in both 2014 and 2015, offering little to no help for a struggling running back group.
So why on earth would you not address this position in the 2016 NFL Draft? You have plenty of backs to choose from -- Ezekiel Elliott, Derrick Henry, Alex Collins, Kenneth Dixon, DeVontae Booker -- just to name a few. The problem isn't this year's class; it's next year's class.
The 2017 crop running backs could be one of the greatest to ever hit the NFL. Names like Leonard Fournette, Nick Chubb, Dalvin Cook, Jalen Hurd, Royce Freeman, Christian McCaffrey, Wayne Gallman, and Samaje Perine will likely all be testing the NFL waters a year from now. With the recent trend in devaluing runners, you could probably get a few of these guys even at the top of round two.
You have to ask yourself this -- where would you rank Derrick Henry or Ezekiel Elliott within that group above? For me, Elliott would be somewhere in the middle while Derrick Henry would be near the bottom.
This exercise is using a lot of projection, but I would much rather sign a one year free agent band-aid and not be committed to any back past 2017. Matt Forte, Chris Ivory, Arian Foster, Stevan Ridley, Alfred Morris all come to mind as guys that can bridge the gap between 2016 and 2017. Each of these guys would be expendable after one season, clearing the way for a potential franchise runner.
I wouldn't blame Jon Robinson for taking a back fairly early in the 2016 class one bit, it's a huge need. I would just be aggressive in free agency and bring in a veteran for this season, knowing what is coming down the pike in 2017. I would much rather spend draft picks this season getting the line up to par for Marcus Mariota and stud 2017 runner. But that's just me.