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Could Titans be Intrigued by Dual Role RBs Kamara, McCaffrey?


INDIANAPOLIS — Chess pieces. Playmakers.

Every team wants them, players who can add a spark in a number of areas.

University of Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara qualifies as one. So does Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey. Both guys were dynamic playmakers in college, and potential NFL stars.

So, would the Titans consider either in the 2017 NFL Draft? Well, the team has talked to both players here at the NFL Combine.

This week, Kamara and McCaffrey plan to show their value to NFL teams after displaying some pretty impressive versatility in college.

"I think that is one thing that teams are really interested in with me, my versatility,'' Kamara said on Thursday. "Being able to catch the ball out of the backfield, the special teams value I bring to a team, I think that will help me."

"I don't think there's anybody else that can do all the things I can as far as run between the tackles, outside, pass protect, play X, Z, slot and do a lot of different stuff in the return game as well,'' McCaffrey said of his value on Thursday. "I think that's what sets me apart."

The Titans have a pair of talented running backs, of course. DeMarco Murray is coming off a Pro Bowl season when he rushed for an AFC-best 1,287 yards. Derrick Henry added 490 yards and five touchdowns to one of the NFL's best rushing offenses.

But Kamara's skill-set is different. The same goes for McCaffrey.

"He's a good football player,'' Robinson said of the 5-10, 214-pound Kamara, who finished last year with team-high 1,188 all-purpose yards (596 rushing, 392 receiving, 184 punt return, 16 kickoff return) and 13 total touchdowns.

"He's a dual role guy, he did some punt return stuff with those guys. They hand him the ball and he runs with it. They throw him the ball and he catches it and runs with it. So he is pretty good in pass protection. It looks like he has a pretty good skill set."

McCaffrey, projected as a late first round or early second-round selection by draft analysts, is projected by most to be the third running back off the board. He racked up 2,019 yards as a sophomore in 2015, and another 1,603 last year.

"From my perspective, McCaffrey's a match-up guy. He's a chess piece," NFL Network's draft expert Mike Mayock said. "He averaged — just like Dalvin Cook and (Leonard) Fournette and Kamara — he averaged between 6 and 6.5 yards a carry. He's an outstanding pass-catcher. He's bigger and tougher than people think he is. And he's also a return guy."

There's been a lot of buzz surrounding Kamara in recent weeks. Here at the NFL Combine, he's already talked to the 49ers, Vikings and Broncos, among others.

Kamara said he's also met with the Titans.

"It went well. I enjoyed their meeting," Kamara said of the Titans. "They were different. They pressed a little bit harder than some of the other teams. ''

McCaffrey has been a popular guy here this week as well. He said he's talked to Titans coaches this week, about his ability as a return game. He views himself as an "every down back and a specialist."

"Everything is going great,'' McCaffrey said of the NFL Combine experience. "This is what you dream of as a kid."

Titans GM Jon Robinson, head coach Mike Mularkey make their media rounds at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. (Photos: Gary Glenn)

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