by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
We’ve long had questions regarding Bishop Sankey and his ability to run with the Tennessee Titans running back job. With both David Cobb & Antonio Andrews waiting in the wings, Sankey is going to need to consistently produce in order to both win the starting job and keep it all season long. He made a strong case in the second preseason game:
6 carries for 45 yards (7.5 yards/carry)
According to John Glennon of The Tennessean (click here for the article), there were two potential reasons for improvements of Sankey:
“Whether Bishop Sankey ran with more determination or the re-shuffled offensive line was much better, the “first-team” running game looked much improved. Sankey said that running backs coach Sylvester Croom emphasized hitting the hole quickly this week, and Sankey appeared to run with more purpose against the Rams.”
The former is important, especially after Sankey took 8 carries for 15 yards in the first preseason game and struggled in his rookie campaign averaging just 3.7 yards per carry (with a long of 22). The fact that he broke off runs of 18 and 19 yards shows what he is capable of.
Changes to the offensive line is equally as important, as poor line play was given as a reason for Sankey’s struggles in the first game. According to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN (click here for the article):
“Whisenhunt said some of Bishop Sankey’s issues running the ball against the Falcons were because of line play. Marcus Mariota was sacked on one play and got the ball tapped out of his hand for a fumble on another. That was returned for a touchdown.”
The way the group plays this week will go a long ways in helping us get a gauge on Sankey and his potential to produce. Remember he is the same runner who Walter Football compared to Ray Rice entering the draft last season, showing the type of potential he had.
While we wouldn’t reach for him, you also don’t need to right now (average ADP of 133.2, making him the 41st running back coming off the board). Maybe he starts trending up, but it likely won’t be enough to deter us. At this point consider him well worth the gamble in Round 9 or later.
Sources – ESPN, The Tennessean, Walter Football, Fantasy Pros
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