It's not every day that you find a player who is happy that his team just drafted his probable successor, but that's apparently the case with Tennessee Titans running back DeMarco Murray. Murray was acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles for a third-round pick earlier this offseason, and then on Friday night the Titans used one of their second-round picks on Heisman Trophy-winning Alabama running back Derrick Henry.
Now 28 years old and coming off the worst season of his career, it's possible you might think Murray would bristle at a highly-drafted running back coming to his team. According to head coach Mike Mularkey, though, that's not what happened.
“First of all, [Murray] loved the pick,’’ Mularkey said, per the Titans' official web site. “And he said, ‘He’s going to make me better and I am going to do the same for him.’ He said, ‘I’m going to do whatever I can to make him a great player‘.”
Perhaps Murray was satisfied by Mularkey calling him immediately after the pick was made and making assurances that Murray will still be the starter, while Henry will be his backup.
“I told DeMarco, ‘Nothing has changed since we made the trade for you. You’re still going to be the guy who is going to carry the load for us and I know when you need to take a break and come off the field there will be no letdown when the next running back comes in, whoever that is’,’’ Mularkey said. “That is our mindset and I told him that directly not long after we made that pick, that he was clear with the direction we were going to go with it.”
Mularkey has stated a desire for the Titans to be an "exotic smashmouth" football team, so in that respect, having two backs that run with North-South power makes sense. How much it makes sense to turn Marcus Mariota into an under-center quarterback that runs a more traditional offense is up for debate, but he should undoubtedly benefit from a better running game and improved protection on the offensive line. In acquiring Murray and drafting both Henry and first-rounder Jack Conklin, the Titans at least devoted resources to giving him that.