- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Titans will be drafting a running back. Once they part ways with Chris Johnson, the position will qualify as their biggest need as they seek a draft pick to put into a committee with Shonn Greene and Dexter McCluster.
One element of that draft need we haven’t covered yet is how few teams need a back.
I was part of a conversation with Mel Kiper Thursday and he could only cite three teams he felt have a strong need: the Giants, Dolphins and Titans. Most teams looking for a back are looking for depth more than for a No. 1.
In his Grade A mock draft, Kiper lists three, four or five “top needs” for each team in the league. It’s 130 needs in total, and he lists running back once -- for Tennessee.
“Every year we say this, every year there are third- to sixth-round running backs that are outstanding,” Kiper said. “And this year more than any other, because there is not going to be a first-round running back. There are not many teams now that need a running back. What, three to five, maybe, that could take a running back within the first four rounds? So you’re going to get some really good ones available on Day 3.”
I asked Kiper if the Titans don’t take someone like Tre Mason or Carlos Hyde in the second round and wait until the fourth or fifth round to grab a back, who he viewed as a good fit with Greene and McCluster. (The Titans do not have a third-round pick.)
“I would say Andre Williams, Boston College," Kiper said. "He doesn’t catch the ball well, but he’s an outstanding runner and he’s got a lot of talent and had a tremendous year. As a pure runner, Jeremy Hill from LSU. If you want a kid who’s a tremendously talented runner, he obviously played quarterback in that running offense at Georgia Southern, Jerick McKinnon.
A skilled runner who doesn't catch well sounds like a guy who could work for Tennessee. Since that's McCluster's forte, the Titans could be patient in that department with Williams.