When the Tennessee Titans released veteran running back DeMarco Murray last week it automatically vaulted Derrick Henry to the top of the depth chart.
But Henry’s ascension up the depth chart might be short lived, at least according to a prominent NFL analyst.
Greg Cosell, a senior producer for NFL Films and analyst for ESPN’s NFL Matchup, thinks recently signed Dion Lewis could be the Titans’ primary ballcarrier in Matt LaFleur’s offense.
As for Henry, Cosell thinks he’ll be a “complimentary” running back.
“I think Dion Lewis will be more of the primary ball carrier in LaFleur’s offense and Derrick Henry will be back in a complimentary role.”- @GregCosell
— The Midday 180 (@Midday180) March 14, 2018
Cosell thinks Lewis is a better fit for what LaFleur likes to do on offense.
— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) March 14, 2018
Cosell could be on to something here.
Todd Gurley had 64 receptions as the Los Angeles Rams’ primary running back last season. It’s hard to imagine Henry having that type of impact next season, considering he’s averaged about one reception a game over his first two seasons in the NFL.
It’s also hard to imagine Lewis having that type of impact if he’s just a change of pace running back. LaFleur isn’t going to just throw the ball to running backs in obvious passing situations. In order to get that type of production from the running back position, it has to be an option at all times. That means Lewis will have to be in the game more often than not.
And let’s be honest, Lewis is making $5 million next season while Henry will make just under $1.5 million. The Titans aren’t paying Lewis to be a third down back.
Lewis proved last season he’s more than capable of running between the tackles. And he also proved he’s a solid pass blocker.
It wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see Cosell’s prediction come to fruition.
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