Tonight Tennessee Titans rookie running back Bishop Sankey will make his NFL debut against the Green Bay Packers. It will be the first time that fans get to see how he can handle pro competition.
Adjusting to the NFL level is hard enough for any first-year player, but Sankey had a slow start due to academic commitments at the University of Washington.
But according to John Glennon of the Tennessean, the coaching staff says that Sankey is a quick learner and appears to be picking up the nuances of how to play running back at the highest level. Running backs coach Sylvester Croom had this to say about his pass protection:
“He’s doing well, and it is hard, not only from the number of protections and the assignments, but also the technique and the sheer physical size of the linebackers… He’s going to be a good pass protector. I’m not concerned about that. He just needs repetitions.”
At the NFL combine Sankey flashed some of his speed, recording a 4.49 40 yard dash. But speed isn’t enough to succeed rushing the ball in the NFL. Sankey still needs to work on waiting for holes to open up:
“There is a little tendency when the college guys get in this league, they think they are going to hit a home run in every little crack of daylight. He’s at that stage right now, but he’s learning and if he keeps working hard it’ll come, in time.”
— Swish Analytics (@swishanalytics) August 4, 2014
You can read the whole piece on Sankey here, it’s worth a read.
Titans fans have plenty of reasons to believe that Sankey will become a solid NFL running back. He has prototypical size for the position “5’9”, 209 pounds and also has an exceptional vertical leap at 35.5 inches. At the University of Washington Sankey packaged all that potential together and had a very memorable run: in both 2012 and 2013 he had over 1400 receiving yards and scored a total of 36 rushing touchdowns. He was also a reliable receiving option.
What do you think? Can Sankey make the adjustments he needs to or will he be another draft bust for the Titans?