With training camp only 31 days away, Titans’ General Manager Jon Robinson is starting to get a head count of who will be on his 53-man roster for Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders.
Since our “Projecting The Titans: Offense” article, the Titans signed former Jets’ wide receiver and Nashville native, Eric Decker, to a 1-year deal. Decker will make the roster, but the wide receiver battles now will be interesting in camp. That puts our roster count at 26.
The leader of this defense is 2-time Pro Bowler Jurrell Casey. He also leads this line. Casey, who has started in 92 of 94 games since being drafted in 2011, has been a havoc for opposing offenses. Constantly stopping the run, batting balls and pressuring quarterbacks, Casey has proven to be one of the elite defensive lineman in the league. He was also a major reason why the Titans were 2nd in the league in rush defense. One of the best Jon Robinson signings of the offseason was nose tackle, Sylvester Williams. Williams comes from Denver where he started all 16 games. He instantly becomes a starter beside Casey. DaQuan Jones, Angelo Blackson, Austin Johnson and Karl Klug will rotate.
Jurrell Casey, Sylvester Williams, Daquan Jones, Angelo Blackson, Austin Johnson, Karl Klug
The Titans ranked 8th in the NFL last season in sacks with 40.0 as a team. 19.5 of those sacks came from Pro Bowler Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan. The two pass rushers are a quarterbacks’ nightmare as they blitz from every gap that Dick LeBeau draws up. Kevin Dodd missed most of the season with a lingering foot injury, but says he will be 100% by camp. Aaron Wallace and Josh Carraway (R) will be the backup options for LeBeau.
On the inside, Avery Williamson led the team in tackles a season ago with 103 and the Titans will rely heavily on him. The captain, Wesley Woodyard will be back for year 10. When Jon Robinson missed out on signing Dont’a Hightower in free agency, an inside linebacker hole remained. In the 5th Round, Jon Robinson drafted 1st-Team All Pac-12 linebacker, Jayon Brown from UCLA. Brown will see a lot of playing time in his first year as the Titans haven’t had a solid linebacking core for some time.
Brian Orakpo, Derrick Morgan, Avery Williamson, Wesley Woodyard, Kevin Dodd, Jayon Brown, Aaron Wallace, Josh Carraway, Nate Palmer, Darren Bates
The weakest spot on the Titans is by far the secondary, and has been for years. Never drafting well and not being being able to sign a top defensive back poses the main reason why the secondary has been statistically in the bottom tier of the league. The 30th worst passing defense if you want to get technical.
Jon Robinson addressed that when he signed a familiar face from his New England days in Logan Ryan. Ryan, who mainly plays the nickel, has 13 interceptions in 64 games. He will have to transition to playing against guys like DeAndre Hopkins, Allen Robinson and TY Hilton as he will be the top cornerback. Long-time Titan Jason McCourty was cut due to salary cap reasons and his declining play on the field. With their first round pick, the Titans drafted one of the most dynamic playmakers and cornerbacks in Adoree’ Jackson. Jackson will be a day one starter.
Now, who is in between? Not a lot of household names are in this secondary, but that is how Jon Robinson operates. He finds the diamonds in the rough. Second year player LeShaun Sims and newly signed Demontre Hurst will be relied upon to make plays and cover the field. Brice McCain had two interceptions a year ago and will play the nickel this season.
Behind the cornerbacks, there is some stability. Even though many analysts had the Titans taking LSU phenom Jamal Adams due to a need at safety, Robinson decided to test free agency and it paid off. Johnathan Cyprien is coming over from Jacksonville where Pro Football Focus rated him the number one safety against the run. He’ll start along side Kevin Byard who started 7 games in his rookie season. Da’Norris Searcy and free agent pick up Brynden Trawick both give the Titans depth.
Logan Ryan, Johnathan Cyprien, Kevin Byard, Adoree’ Jackson, Brice McCain, Da’Norris Searcy, LeShaun Sims, Demontre Hurst, Brynden Trawick