The Titans had a great season this year, and are the only team with a 9-7 record that missed the playoffs. This team is young, and looks like it has the chance to become a strong contender for years to come with a quality offseason this year. Having said that, there are some key needs the team needs to address, and these are my opinions on what and who the team should be looking for in the next 4 months.
INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINE: Roos and Stewart are a top 5 tandem on the OL, however even their excellent play is overshadowed by the dismal interior of the Titans once-great line. The three interior lineman Eugene Amano, Leroy Harris, and (the biggest culprit of all) Jake Scott should not be starters in this league, and the refusal to change this line-up makes me seriously question the quality of coaching that Bruce Matthews is bringing to the table. However, there may be a silver lining to this situation, now that Munch has seen just how bad these three are he can start to make changes, and there is one name to keep in mind as an upgrade this offseason: Chris Myers. The standout center has been great this year, opening holes that make Arian Foster look like a hero, and providing time for 3 different QBs to throw. Myers is a free agent this year, and the Texans may let him slip into free agency because he will likely ask for more money than any other center. Myers is a former player of Bruce Mathews and Mathews may know just the things to say to get Myers in white and blue this year.
In the draft there is a man by the name of David DeCastro, who is the right guard for the Stanford Cardinals. He has the build, mind, technique, and instincts to be a probowler his rookie year, he is a must draft if he is available. However, if he is not there and the Titans have a first round grade on another guy it would be Peter Konz, who is the center for the Wisconsin Badgers. Konz has the versatility to play either guard or center, and at 6-5 he definitely has the size to any interior position. In the later rounds guys like Kevin Zeitler, David Molk, or Brandon Washington could also be available to help solve the problem inside.
DEFENSIVE ENDThe need at defensive end is almost as great as the need at G/C this year, because with an improved DE group, the front seven could be very impressive next year. This years draft has an unheralded group of DEs that could be around when the Titans are on the clock with the 20th pick. Some names that stick out are Melvin Ingram, Whitney Mercilus, or even Nick Perry if they are lucky. Another idea is that the Titans could wait until day 2 and get underrated rush specialists like Andre Branch, Jake Bequette, or Cordarro Law. Before the draft however, the Titans could look to free agency to big names guys like John Abraham, Calais Campbell, or even another former Texan Mario Williams. While some of those guys may be perfect fits in the current defensive scheme, it is not the “Titan Way” to go after big name players in FA. Some guys with less buzz and similar productivity could also be on the radar like Michael Bennett, Jeremy Mincey, or Matt Roth.
Safety: The Titans safety issue may be a bit overrated due to the lack of a pass rush. Griffin was so inconsistent in his time with the Titans, and Chris Hope is just not a very complete safety. The best thing to do in my opinion is let every free agent go if new DB coach Brett Maxie isn’t in love with them, and let him go grocery shopping around free agency. He has previously had success converting CBs to safety and with Verner, McCourty, and Campbell on the roster, one of them has the potential to turn into a safety (most likely Campbell due to his speed). In my opinion, the only name in the draft that should be talked about early is Mark Barron, the safety from Alabama, however later in the draft names like Asa Jackson, Antonio Allen, Tysyn Hartman, and Casey Hayward are all guys who could be targets.
The Titans are not far off from a division title, and with a draft comparable to last year’s, paired with two or three solid free agent pick ups, next year could be the dawn of a new era of Titans football.
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