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Tennessee Titans: Why Bishop Sankey Should Be Next In Line

This week's unpopular opinion. The Titans shouldn't give up on Bishop Sankey...not yet.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

After being drafted as the first running back overall in 2014, Bishop Sankey has failed to live up to the status of that pick over the past couple of years.  However, I still believe he should be 3rd behind Murray and Henry on the Titans depth chart and should still see action in games.

1) Statistics

For those that look at numbers above all else, here is the 2015 rushing stats for the Tennessee Titans:

As you can see, Sankey in his limited duty was second only to McCluster in avg. yards per carry.  A solid 4.1.  Antonio Andrews who became the lead back under Whisenhunt and held onto those duties for the most part under Mularkey came in at 3.6.  David Cobb finally saw the field towards the end of the season and was much anticipated by the fans, but ended up with a paltry 2.8 yards per carry on roughly the same number of carries.

2)  The offensive line.

Let's face it.  The offensive line was horrible last year.  It was made worse by Whisenhunt's play designs and schemes to some degree, but it was bad pretty much no matter what.  They spoke of playing with an identity, but just couldn't get it done.  Evaluating almost any running back last year on the Titans would be hard to do.

3) Ken Whisenhunt ruined a number of players.

Kendall Wright went from 1,079 yards in his second season under Dowell Loggains with Jake Locker at the helm, down to 715 and 408 respectively over the past 2 years under Whisenhunt.  Add in what he did to Jake Locker, Jeremiah Poutasi, and Taylor Lewan and I have concerns over what Whisenhunt's effect on certain offensinve players can be.

4) What happened?

The Titans started last year with a bang at Tampa, and Sankey had a great day toting the rock for a 6.2 yard per carry avg. and picking up a touchdown to boot.  That's not to mention 2 catches for 12 yards and another touchdown.

The following week the Titans met a much tougher front 7 against the Cleveland Browns.  Sankey only picked up 42 yards on 12 carries which was apparently his death nail.  McCluster was able to break a couple big runs that game including a 44 yarder that put him on top of the box score for the day.

Sankey was basically never heard from again. Two weeks later the Titans played another tough front 7 when they matched up with the Bills and no one on the team did well.

For what it's worth, though, Sankey did manage 2.5 times the yards per carry than Andrews, who kept the newly acquired starting position anyways.

5) Webster V. Whisenhunt

Whisenhunt and Webster were obviously a bit at odds over the years between the players chosen and the what Whisenhunt demanded of them.  I look at Sankey much like Kendall Wright.  Whisenhunt complained about route running for Kendall and footwork for Sankey.  They both have "wiggle", and Sankey is good out of the backfield as well,  but never received the full chance under Ken Whisenhunt to show what they can do.

Overall I believe Bishop Sankey's floor is no lower than anyone else on the roster, but still has a higher ceiling.  He has in space play-making abilities that were rarely utilized by the previous coaching regime.  He doesn't fit necessarily what Mike Mularkey wants to do, but he does provide a change of pace back to Murray and Henry, unlike Cobb and Andrews who seem to be just lesser versions of the other two.

6)  Oh yeah...he can do backflips while catching the ball too!