AFC South Preseason RB Power Rankings: Where does Jaguars formidable tandem land?

• The Jaguars have a pretty talented dynamic duo at RB

• But do the Texans and Titans

• Where do Travis Etienne and Tank Bigsby rank among his peers?

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. (1) stretches during training camp Monday, Aug.
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. (1) stretches during training camp Monday, Aug. / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA
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No. 1 AFC South RB 2023 Preseason Rankings: Tennesee Titans

RB1: Derrick Henry
RB2: Tyjae Spears

The Jaguars could have the best running back tandem by the end of the year but that title currently goes to Derrick Henry and Tyjae Spears. Those that have dismissed the King and expect him to lose his crown the last two seasons — guilty as charged — have been left disappointed. And that's the team, Henry continues to churn out yards and a high rate and seems to get stronger as he gets older.

Of course, that's not how things work and Henry will eventually run out of gas. His decline could be sudden or progressive but to ensure his shelf life expands a couple years, the Titans brought in Tyjae Spears, who's already showed in the preseason the skills that made him a playmaker for the Green Way in college.

At 5'11" and 195 pounds, Spears doesn't have size to be three-down back. However, he can thrive in the pros if Tennessee limits his touches and finds the way to integrate him in the passing game. This in turn could help Henry, who isn't great in pass protection and not much of a receiver out of the backfield.

Simply, Henry's and Spears' respective skill sets complement each other well. And by building their offense around their ground attack, whoever's behind center — Ryan Tannehill, Will Levis, or Malik Willis — won't have to carry the team on their shoulders. Also, teams won't be able to drop many defenders in coverage because using lighter boxes would leave them expose to the Titans' running game.

Maybe this is the year Henry loses his kingdom, maybe but until further notice, he and his heir apparent still reign supreme in the AFC South.

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