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Thursday, 8 January 2015

Tennessee Titans: 5 Top Off-season Needs

The Tennessee Titans are a franchise without a face. Jake Locker attracted the 8th overall selection of the 2010 NFL draft, his inability to stay on the field inevitably elevated LSU rookie QB Zach Mettenberger into the starting position during the 2014 season. Locker may not be re-signed (although he could be a serviceable back-up) and Mettenberger is being touted as the 2015 starter.

The Tennessee Titans have seen the appearance of fans at home games diminish as the quality of the talent pool shrank. The quarterback is a big question mark for this franchise, but whilst holding the second overall pick of the 2015 NFL draft, they would be unwise to draft a QB first. This franchise needs a hard focus on defense.

The defensive line outside of Jurrell Casey was sub-par and generated a low intensity rush to get to the quarterback. With the inevitable split between Detroit and 'bad boy' Ndamukong Suh, the Titans' would be wise to target this player. He will demand multiple blockers and that will leave defensive end Casey with more opportunities to wreak havoc. Having a pass rush, something the Titans' have failed to provide since the 2008 season when Albert Haynesworth had his career season; could help change the face of this defense.

The safety position also needs to be addressed. Michael Griffin has proved inept and George Wilson will be off-contract. Daimion Stafford showed playmaking ability last season, but not enough to hold a starting position. With Jason McCourty being the undisputed CB1 in Nashville, CB2 is under question. Blidi Wreh-Wilson has shown enough to be a solid option, but competition has shown that Coty Sensabaugh may usurp that position after a stellar showing before injury.

Outside linebacker is also in need of attention, former 1st round draft pick Derrick Morgan does not have the pepper in his step anymore to keep up with slot receivers or even bulky tight-ends. Avery Williamson will hold down the ILB1 position in 2015, if Colin McCarthy can get back to 2012 form, this duo could be disruptive, provided McCarthy wins his position battle with veteran Wesley Woodyard. Zach Brown was lost with shoulder injury in 2014, and lacking a sideline to sideline tackler hurt this defense. The draft will be a good time to focus on adding depth and talent at this position.

Former Buffalo Bills guard Andy Levitre has failed to impress since joining in 2013. Levitre has struggled with footwork and run blocking. During free agency, they could cut ties with Levitre and target, 49ers guard Mike Iupati will be a free agent, as well as Seattle Seahawks James Carpenter, both are young and provide considerable upgrades at the position. The right tackle position was a major weakspot during 2014 and will be improved this offseason. Michael Oher was underwhelming and if Michael Roos does not fit in 2015, the Titans' could target Doug Free or Bryan Bulaga in free agency.

Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota would be a wasteful pick for the Titans'. With such a high value pick, the smartest play is trading down two or three spots and banking extra picks. The talent on the defensive side of the ball this draft is deep, which is a bit of luck for a franchise with a defensive struggle.


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