One of the priorities for the Tennessee Titans this off-season is to upgrade the running back position.
The Titans believe that not only must their offensive line improve for 2016, but also the running back spot has to be more productive as well.
The Titans still have not had a running back produce 100 yards rushing in a game since Chris Johnson did so in the finale of the 2013 season, with their only 100-yard rushing performance in the past 32 games coming courtesy of quarterback Marcus Mariota vs. Jacksonville last December, thanks in large part to his 87-yard touchdown scramble.
As for running backs, last season, Antonio Andrews led the Titans with 520 yards rushing as Titans running backs mustered just 1,170 yards as a team.
Titans coach Mike Mularkey wants to run the football to protect Mariota and wants a bell cow back to lead the charge. That running back could be found in free agency or the draft. When he was offensive coordinator in Atlanta, the Falcons plucked Michael Turner when Mularkey was offensive coordinator there.
In free agency, there is Doug Martin, whom GM Jon Robinson is familiar with from his two years in Tampa Bay. The Titans are expected to have interest in Martin, who ran for 1,402 yards for the Bucs last season, second only to Adrian Peterson. Martin’s price tag will be expensive as the Buccaneers elected not to franchise him, meaning he is poised to head to the open market, barring a last-minute extension. There will also be competition for his services, as the Bucs are likely to try and keep him, while a number of other teams will likely get into the fray.
Also available among veteran running backs are Miami’s Lamar Miller and a pair of Jets running backs – Chris Ivory and his back up Bilal Powell.
The draft contains prospects like Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott, who is not considered worth the No.1 overall pick, but will almost be gone by the time the Titans pick at No. 33. Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry of Alabama is likely to last until the second round.