The Tennessee Titans finally ended the record wait for the first running back selected in the NFL draft grabbing former Gonzaga Prep and Washington star Bishop Sankey with the 54th pick overall.
It’s the latest in any draft for the first running back to be taken, and the Titans made the move Friday night after releasing Chris Johnson in April after six seasons to avoid paying him $8 million. They already had Shonn Greene and signed Dexter McCluster in March, but Sankey brings versatility and the ability to play all three downs in new coach Ken Whisenhunt’s offense.
“I think this guy is solid and will handle that really well and just be completely different as a back,” general manager Ruston Webster said. “Their skill set is not the same, so when you see them on the field, it’s not going to look anything like Chris and he’ll make his own mark.”
Tennessee originally was slotted to draft at No. 42 overall but traded with Philadelphia, sliding down 12 spots swapping positions. The Titans also picked up the Eagles’ fourth-round pick, giving them seven in this draft and helping make up for the third-round pick traded last year to draft receiver Justin Hunter.
Asked about Johnson, Sankey called the man called CJ2K a tough act to follow.
“We’ll see,” Sankey said. “Only time will tell. No one really knows what tomorrow is going to bring. It’s up to us to prepare the day for whatever situation we’re put in. that’s something that I’m going to do. Just worry about myself and control that I can control and be the best football player that I can be.”
The 5-foot-9, 203-pound Sankey did most of his work in his past two seasons at Washington with 3,309 of his 3,496 yards rushing coming in that time. He scored 37 touchdowns and averaged 5.43 yards per carry overall.