Tennessee Titans rookie running back Hassan Haskins was expected to make a first-year contribution. It’s just occurred under different circumstances. Haskins has been an excellent special teams player despite barely being involved via a traditional backfield role.
The No. 131 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, Haskins led the Titans with four special teams tackles against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. Haskins became the first Titan to record four-plus special teams tackle in a single contest since former Titan Matthias Farley achieved the same feat last season. Perhaps more notably, Haskins became Tennessee’s first offensive player with four stops on coverage units since tight end Craig Stevens matched that number in 2009, per the team. Craig Stevens? Now that’s a throwback.
Haskins actually leads all NFL players with 11 total special teams tackles. His eight solo special teams stops also leads the league. It’s a shocking occurrence for a first-year rookie that wasn’t considered a special teams ace in college. Haskins led the Michigan Wolverines with 1,327 rushing yards last season. He was far too important to the overall success of one the nation’s most successful collegiate programs to play heavy snaps on the coverage units.
Haskins has also been a difference maker as a kick returner. Haskins ranks fourth among qualifiers with an average of 22.0 yards per kickoff return. He’s tied four fourth place in the league with 14 total kickoff opportunities. He’s consistently putting the offense in advantageous positions.
When Titans general manager Jon Robinson drafted Haskins, some envisioned him participating in somewhat of a timeshare in the backfield alongside Derrick Henry. Haskins possesses some similar physical traits to Henry and was perhaps viewed of spelling him on occasion, particularly with Henry coming off a major foot injury. That hasn’t come to fruition, with Haskins earning just 10 carries through eight regular-season appearances. Haskins has rushed for 42 yards, and 4.2 yards per carry.
Haskins’ ability to contribute despite not securing a prominent offensive role has been impressive.