Pro Football Focus recently ranked each NFL team’s running groups ahead of the 2022 season, and the Tennessee Titans unit landed in the top 10.
According to PFF’s Ben Linsey, the Titans’ running backs group ranks sixth in the NFL, which puts them in the “good backfield” category.
When ranking individual running backs, I pointed out that there is evidence to suggest that running backs begin to step back after logging 1,500 NFL runs. At nearly 250 pounds and with around 4,500 rushing yards over the past two and a half seasons, Derrick Henry isn’t your typical running back. Still, his workload is worth noting as he returns from injury.
The Titans would still have landed in Tier 1 with more proven depth behind Henry. Fourth-round rookie Hassan Haskins will have a good shot at earning the No. 2 role behind Henry after posting a 91.2 PFF rating in his final season at Michigan last year.
The five teams ranked ahead of the Titans are as follows, from one to five: Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints.
The one who carries the Titans in this ranking is undoubtedly Derrick Henry, who has just finished a season in which he missed nine games due to a serious foot injury, the first of The King’s career.
Following Henry’s injury last year, combined with his age approaching 30 (he turned 28 in January), there are doubts whether Henry will return to the form we have. seen the previous two years.
You won’t find that doubt on this site, however. We believe Henry will regain his form and remain the same dominant player he was, making him a great bet to win Returning Player of the Year.
You also won’t see us jump ship and hand the crown of NFL’s Best Fullback to Jonathan Taylor of the Colts. He’s undoubtedly a great player, but let’s see Taylor dominate like Henry did for several years and outplay a healthy Henry for an entire season first.
Behind Henry, however, there is some uncertainty.
The Titans drafted Michigan running back Hassan Haskins in the fourth round, no doubt hoping he can help relieve Henry and perhaps become the long-term solution to the upcoming position.
If Haskins proves he can hang in there in the NFL, the Titans will have an impressive, tough duo to lead their heavy offense.
Along with Haskins, we think Dontrell Hilliard is a near-lock to make the roster. Hilliard was effective in tandem with D’Onta Foreman when the two helped replace Henry when he was injured in 2021.
Trenton Cannon, Jordan Wilkins and Julius Chestnut are battling for a spot behind Hilliard and Haskins (assuming the Titans carry a fourth running back). Cannon’s ability to play on special teams puts him ahead of Wilkins and Chestnut.
Despite some issues in the backfield, the Titans’ running game will always be elite as long as Henry is healthy and still at the top of his game. We expect this to be the case in 2022.