When looking at the current state of the Tennessee Titans roster there are multiple areas where the team could use an upgrade in talent, including running back where the Titans have used a committee approach over the last two seasons where former second round draft pick Bishop Sankey, Antonio Andrews and more recently David Cobb have all attempted to fill the role.
Cobb missed half of the 2015 season after being drafted last season and worked to regain his football conditioning over the second half of the season. The fact that the offensive line struggled all season did not help Cobb, or the other backs look like NFL backs, and fixing that area of the team could well be the only answer to getting the running game on track, but adding a true feature back could also prove helpful
We look at five backs in the 2016 draft class who could potentially become TItans and help the team run the football.
1) EZEKIEL ELLIOTT, Ohio State
This one is easy, Elliott is the only player who is being talked about in the first round and with good reason. He possesses ideal size, (6' 0"- 220) for a running back along with impressive footwork. He runs with good pad level and almost always is leaning forward while showing balance, leg drive and a violent streak when taking on contact. He plays with a strong intensity and seems to love the game.
Elliott is best running counter plays. He appears to have outstanding vision and quickly reads blocks and shows no hesitation to press the hole with force while also being able to bounce outside or away from tacklers without losing speed.
Elliott needs improvement as a receiver and needs to improve as a blocker, but he projects as the top running backs and a surefire first-round pick in the 2016 class.
2) DERRICK HENRY, Alabama
The reigning Heisman winner is a workhorse who some believe was over used last season by Alabama. While he did have an above average amount of carries in 2015 (395), but for his career he total carries are not overly concerning and he was used more sparingly in his first two season.
Henry has impressive straight line spead for someone his size (6'3" 243) and is not affraid to lower his shoulder and take on contact at every level. He seems to get stronger as the game goes along ans has said openly that he believes his style wears down opponenets the more he carries the football.
Henry is powerful, but graceful as a north-south runner who can fit through tight spaces dispite his large frame He has surprisingly light feet and can bounce runs outside, but is best going straight ahead. He has a surprisingly quick take off for his size but is likely best suited for a zone-blocking scheme where he can make one cut and get downfield as he is somewhat stiff in the hips because of his size and is not overly shifty. He's all power and would rather just run over someone than try to juke away
He is a good receiver and blocker, although he wasn't asked to do much in the passing game last season, but watch the tape of him against Oklahoma on a screen and you can see his ability. He displayed excellent ball security which is a key in the NFL and can be attributed to his weight room work where he reportedly squats over 500 pounds while benching 375 pounds.
No running backs in the NFL look like Henry, and none have his size, speed combination. He currently carries a first-second round grade but he could place himself solidly in the first round with a good showing in Indianapolis.
In addition to the Heisman,Henry took home the Doak Walker and Maxwell Awards, while also earning All-American honors in his final college season.
3) JORDAN HOWARD, Indiana
The UAB transfer- who left when UAB disbanded their football program- finished second in the Big Ten in 2015, averaging 134.8 yards per game.
Howard has good size for the position (6'1" 225) and isn't afraid to lowering his shoulder and finishing runs with a physical style. He is rarely arm tackled and trusts the play design to press the hole and not look to bounce outside unless absolutely necessary.
His durability a question mark as he missed four games in 2015 and parts of others due to injuries. He will be looked at closely at the combine and what comes from those evaluations will go a long way to where he ends up but he is a Day 2 talent if the medical checks out.
In the six games that he tallied at least 20 carries in 2015, he averaged 181.2 yards per game. He finished the 2015 season with 1,213 rushing yards on 196 carries and nine touchdowns, along with 11 receptions for 106 yards and one touchdown.
4) KENYAN DRAKE, Alabama
Drake brings a lot of versatility to an offense because he can do everything. He has good size (6'1" 210) and excellent speed. He is a quick athlete who can run up the middle, around the perimeter or be a weapon in the passing game.
Drake is an explosive player as evidence I submit his 95 yard kickoff return against Clemson in the national championship game. He displays great vision and terrific feet. He runs with patience in allowing things to set up in front of him before he makes his cut. He appears to see things develope during the play and can react quickly. Drake reaches his top speed quickly and can bounce outside without losing speed in the process.
Drake is also versatile, having lined up as a slot receiver who can run with a cornerback and outrun a linebacker or safety in coverage. His size makes him a mismatch for corners and he is as big as a safety, with better speed.
Drake battled injuries (broken leg and arm) at Alabama but showed dedication and a work ethic to get back on the field, in time to help his team win the championship. Teams will question whether he's injury prone, and while he could be, the talent and production make him an intriguing talent who currently carries a third round grade but could improve that when he takes to the field at the combine.
5) JONATAHN WILLIAMS, Arkansas
A foot injury that required surgery in August cost Williams his senior season for the Razorbacks. Williams returned to compete in the Senior Bowl and was solid during the week, though obviously not in football hsape after sitting out the season.
He has god size (5'11" 224) and shows quick feet with speed and vision to see the hole develope and make cuts accordingly. He is a tough, between the tackles runner capabile of getting tough yards after contact but with the speed to turn in bigger plays at the same time.
The knock on Williams is he runs too upright at times and of course the foot injury is a concern for NFL teams, but if he can prove the foot is healed then teams will be willing to take a chance on his ability. He currently carries and third-fourth round grade which would be a good range for the Titans to add someone with his talent.
There are certanly more backs with talent that could catch the eye of the Titans at the combine and as the process continues, but if the draft were today we feel that thise five backs would best fit the Titans needs for a big back who can run between the tackles and gain tough yards.
Drake can run between the tackles, though he is not the best of the group, but because of his well rounded talents and big play ability, he obviously is an intriguing talent who could add another dynamic to an offense.