Tommie Campbell will be an intriguing prospect to Brett Maxie who has had experience changing corners into safties. This brings up the question, what position gives the 6-3 speedster the best chance to see time on the field? Here are the arguments for both defensive back positions.
CORNERBACK: As a corner Campbell had an interception in the preseason, but he didn’t see much playing time at all even when starting corner Jason McCourty went down. The Titans elected to start Chris Hawkins in his stead. While Hawkins did a decent job, he didn’t make any splash plays like I believe Campbell would.
The best thing to do with a DB with a big frame is put him in press man, and you have to believe with his speed that even if he whiffed on the press, he could recover and get in position to break the pass up. Also, given his college history as a linebacker, he could be used in blitz packages against tight ends and running back protectors.
With Cortland Finnegan likely leaving in free agency, Campbell can take over his CB/NB duties. In this scenario I think Verner can shift to safety and play the ball-hawking free safety that the Titans have been missing. This takes care of the need at FS in this year’s draft and can allow the Titans to focus more on the interior line.
SAFETY: Tommie Campbell offers the complete package at free safety. He has the speed to play at the 12-15 yard range, speed is a necessity so that he can backpedal for deep routes and close on run plays. Also he could walk down and play man to man with most if not all tight ends in the red zone.
Campbell’s shift to safety will allow McCourty and Verner to stay at the positions they have played so well at over the past two years. In addition, Campbell will have a full offseason this year to learn safety, which should be more than enough time for a skilled player like him to pick up a similar position.
Like Finnegan, Griffin will probably leave in free agency and that is not necessarily a bad thing. While Griffin has shown the ability to be a playmaker, he is too inconsistent and consistency is one of a safeties most important attributes. You need to know that when the cornerback or linebacker misses the tackle that the safety can stop the big play. Campbell’s special teams play has been very good and he has made the hard one-on-one tackles when necessary. While I don’t think special team reps alone make a good player (see former Titans Donnie Nickey, Peter Ittersagen) there are some attributes you can gage from those plays.
CONCLUSION: After weighing the pros and cons of both moves I think Brett Maxie will decide to try him at safety. After his success with Allen Ball in Dallas, he will be very excited to mold a young guy with extreme upside into a great ball hawking free safety. Another benefit is that with one safety position filled, the Titans may sign Babineaux to another deal, or find an upgrade in free agency with their 30+ million in cap space. This will leave our draft needs to be, in order of importance in my opinion, RG, DE, WLB, C, LG.
By: Will Lomas