Rafael Little: RB wildcard for the Tennessee Titans

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Running back is undoubtedly one of the positions to watch as we prepare for the Tennessee Titans’ 2009 season.

Outside of Chris Johnson and LenDale White, the remainder of the RB spots on the roster should be up for grabs. Chris Henry a.k.a. Mr. Invisible, unheralded Quinton Ganther and rookie Javon Ringer will fight for Smash and Dash’s leftover carries in the running game.

In addition to those guys, there’s also former undrafted FA Rafael Little, a versatile back who missed his entire rookie season due to a severe knee injury.

Could the talented but untested Little emerge as a factor in the Titans’ rushing attack in 2009?

Little was a triple-threat during his college days in Lexington. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in two of his four seasons at UK, while also contributing in the receiving game with 131 receptions. Little was also a return threat on special teams, scoring on both a punt return and a kick return at Kentucky.

A knee injury suffered at the 2008 Senior Bowl didn’t scare away the Titans, who signed Little as an undrafted free agent in ’08. After a year of serving as the NFL equivalent of a medical redshirt, Little is finally ready to begin his journey as a professional football player.

Apparently, Jeff Fisher is high on Little’s chances to compete for a roster spot this year:

“You have to take into consideration that we are not in pads, but from a commitment and work ethic and the things he has done, it looks like he has the knee behind him and he will be competing for a spot,” Fisher said “He is a very talented, young back and actually is just starting his rookie year.”

Little’s versatility should give him an edge in his quest to make the team in ’09. In addition to possibly contributing in the running game, his receiving skills and ability to play special teams should also assist his chances of sticking around.

I’ll admit it: I didn’t pay too much attention to Little during his Kentucky days, so my experience watching him play consists entirely of highlight videos such as this one.

Judging by the clips, Little appears to be a shifty guy who unlike Chris Henry, displays good patience and vision when he has the football. He’s not very physical, but does possess the speed to get to the outside of opposing defenses.

Little is an intriguing talent, and I’ll be keeping my eye on him in his bid to make the squad this year.  

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One Response to “Rafael Little: RB wildcard for the Tennessee Titans”

  1. Scott Says:

    I don’t know too much about Little either. His great college stats/production, my fleeting memories of watching a few Kentucky games on TV during his college days and the fact that Fisher seems to like him all indicate to me that he has a very good chance to unseat Ganther as the fourth RB. Also, the lack of pro success of his Kenucky QB, Andre Woodson, suggests to me that maybe Little had more to do with the team’s success in 2007 than its QB. The knocks against Little are his fumbling and his health, which are huge, but I suspect with proper coaching at least his fumbling woes could be fixed.
    I see Ringer as a potential replacement for White, if he bulks up a bit and comes in at around 215 lbs. Little, on the other hand, could be more of an all-purpose guy than either Ganther or Henry. He could be a kick-off and punt returner, a third down back, as well as a potential replacement for CJ, if he were to go down with an injury some time during the season. He is not as explosive a runner as Johnson, but I believe he has more straight line speed and wiggle than Ringer and certainly more that White. If Ringer and Little both play special teams, then the Titans might even be able to keep all four on the active roster some weeks (at least when they play the Ravens).
    This season, with the four-headed monster of Johnson, White, Ringer and Little, this team could be unstoppable on the ground.

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