The Tennessee Titans open are through their first two days of training camp and have quite a few positions up for grabs. This can mean one of two things: there is an immense amount of competition on the roster or they can’t find legitimate plus players to put in a starting role. I believe the Titans fall somewhere in the middle. With a good mix of young and old talent, a new coaching staff, which brings new schemes, the Titans should look much different once the season starts this fall.
Taylor Lewan vs. Michael Oher
The Titans put themselves in an interesting situation this off-season after they drafted OT Taylor Lewan with their first round draft pick, even after having signed OT Michael Oher during the free agency period. They signed Oher to be their starting RT, opposite of LT Michael Roos. They drafted Lewan to be their LT of the future. After drafting Lewan Titans brass said there wasn’t a player of his caliber left on their board, so they went ahead and took him even though it wasn’t a pressing need. In the NFL usually the highest paid players play and the best players play, obviously. But what happens if Lewan is already better than Oher at the RT position? Does he take his spot or do the Titans wait a year, let LT Michael Roos walk and plug Lewan in at the position. Camp will be the early season deciding factor.
Akeem Ayers vs. Kamerion Wimbley
Both Ayers and Wimbley have been forced to play out of their natural positions since their arrivals to Nashville; Ayers at 4-3 OLB and Wimbley at 4-3 DE. Now that the Titans have moved to a 3-4 defensive scheme they will both be able to play at their natural positions, 3-4 OLB. Ayers has flashed the pass rushing ability and physicality the Titans were looking for when they drafted him with a second round draft pick, but an injury plagued season last year and a lack of big plays have him in hot water. Wimbley enters his third season with the team and produced adequately his first season, but barely played last year. Both should be more productive this season, but the question is which one will start? The OLB position this season is one that is very deep and I believe one that will have a healthy rotation. On the opposite side of the field you have Derrick Morgan, most likely being your starter, with free agent acquisition Shaun Phillips spelling both OLB spots for added pass rush.
Zach Brown vs. Zavier Gooden, Avery Williamson, Colin McCarthy
Third year LB Zach Brown had a solid rookie year, serving mainly as a situational player, and an up and down second year beginning the season as a starter and highly productive playmaker for the Titans defense, but as the season continued on his productivity went down and he earned a spot in the coaches dog house after apparently not being the easiest player to deal with in the locker room. Apparently Brown is a new man, he is getting high praise from new teammate and fellow ILB Wesley Woodyard, who will start at the other ILB spot, and has apparently swooned the new coaching staff. He is a player that oozes talent, especially with his rare speed at the position and as long as he doesn’t mess up, he should be the winner. His competition includes Gooden, a second year player with good speed, but was injured for most of last season, so he is somewhat of an unknown, Williamson, a rookie who was highly productive during his college tenure at Kentucky, but lacks elite speed, and McCarthy, a player who is highly productive when healthy, but has been consistently injured. The job is Brown’s to lose in my opinion.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson vs Coty Sensabaugh
Wreh-Wilson enters his second season with Tennessee. His rookie season he spent most of the year contributing on special teams, while marginally seeing time on the defensive side of the ball. Coty Sensabaugh enters his third year with the team, Sensabaugh was a forth round draft pick and has developed nicely into a dependable CB for the Titans. After the departure of Alteraun Verner in free agency, one of the two, Wreh-Wilson/Sensabaugh, will have to step into a starting role on the outside of the Titans defense, while the other will play Nickel. Wreh-Wilson has impressive size and coverage skills, but his knack has always been a lack of physicality in run support. Sensabaugh has decent size and can do a little bit of everything on the field. This will probably be the most heated battle, as in, the most up for grabs. Wreh-Wilson seems better suited for an outside role, while Sensabaugh fits nicely on the inside, but new defensive coordinator loves his corners to be physical. Tennessee has always developed their DB’s nicely, look for both to be decent players this upcoming season.
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