Nov 15, 2014; Madison, WI, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive end Randy Gregory (4) during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin won 59-24. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
The last time the Tennessee Titans had an outside linebacker that teams had to game-plan for, and account for at all times on the field, was their first-round pick in 1999, Jevon Kearse. In fact, Kearse was the chairman of the board at The Hurt Locker.
We all know that rookie pass rushers are hard to find, and the Titans should be planning to make a run at one of the top free-agents out there, but a home-grown kid out of the 2015 Draft could make a nice project for the future, especially if you can a top 15 pick.
As the NFL Combine gets underway, there are some nice possibilities out there that includes Defnsive Ends in college who could line-up on the outside in a 3-4 scheme, and cause some disruption from the edge.
If newly hired Assistant Head Coach/Defense, Dick LeBeau, and his staff do their due diligence during Combine Week, there are three players they need to take a look at.
Randy Gregory (DE) Nebraska
Gets engulfed at the point but doesn’t back down from challenges and aggressively responds when linemen try to bury him.
The 6 foot 6, 245 pound Junior out of the University of Nebraska had 50 tackles, seven sacks, and one interception in 2014, but would probably need to add some weight when he comes to the NFL.
His frame will support some weight gain, but he has been identified as a picky eater.
Gregory originally signed with Purdue, but didn’t qualify academically, and transferred to Lincoln in 2013. He sat out the 2012 season with a broken leg.
Randy Gregory plays with an attitude(Something the Titans could use), and is somewhat of an agitator that can get under the opponent’s skin.
He picked off a pass against South Dakota, and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown.
Shane Ray (DE) Missouri
He is quick to sniff out screens, and pursue them like a “Wild Dog”
This 6 foot 2 1/2 inch 240 pound Junior is out of the University of Missouri and is described as a “tweener”. Ray had 61 tackles in 2014, to go along with 14 sacks for the Tigers.
He’s a little small, and like Gregory, from Nebraska, needs to add some weight when he transitions to the NFL. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in speed, he supposedly ran in the 4.4’s during 2014 off-season workouts.
Ray is said to be a hard worker who doesn’t mind spending time in the film room, and on the field. He’s also said to have a relentless motor that continues to run, and has zero issues with toughness, and energy.
Dante Fowler (DE/OLB) Florida
Head Coach, Ken Whisenhunt loves versatility, and this 6 foot 3 261 pound Junior from the University of Florida has proven himself at Defensive Tackle, Defensive End, and Outside Linebacker.
Fowler is not as quick, and explosive as Gregory, or Ray, but he makes up for it in size, and football instincts. Fowler has drawn some comparisons to Terrell Suggs.
Fowler picked up 60 tackles in 2014, and produced nine sacks playing in the SEC. His career stats at Florida are pretty impressive, with 140 tackles, and 15 sacks. Over half of his tackles at Florida were solo.
All three of these players are top 15 picks in the 2015 NFL Draft, and give the Titans some options in the first round, should they decide to make a trade with their number two pick.