Tennessee Titans: elite group in 2015?


The NFL draft is now under a week away, and rumors continue to swirl round the Tennessee Titans…and their second overall pick. Pundits local and abroad have speculated on what Tennessee should do with the pick, and it’s becoming abundantly clear that we won’t know for sure until draft night.

As such…the speculation continues.

The Titans were aggressive on defense this offseason, first luring soon to be hall of fame defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau into the camp to help Tennessee with their transition to a 3-4 scheme.

They re-signed lb/de Derrick Morgan, and brought in free agent lb Brian Orakpo. Conerback Perrish Cox was brought in from San Francisco, and safety Da’Norris Searcy was brought in from Buffalo.

With those moves in the fold, it’s natural to gravitate to offense at the top of this year’s draft. After all, Tennessee needs to come out of this draft with a qb…by hook or by crook.

One of the best two college qb prospects in the draft will be there for the taking, along with a plethora of projected day one impact players.

While grabbing a potential qb of the future at number two remains tempting for the Titans, a case could also be made for going defense with their top two picks…upgrading a rebuilding defense to a possible elite one.

Tennessee last made the playoffs in 2007 and 2008. They also ranked 5th and 7th in total defense those respective years. The qb’s during that playoff run?

2007: Second year qb Vince Young, who was still unable to read defenses at the professional level.

2008: 36 year old journeyman qb Kerry Collins.

In fact, Tennessee finished 21st in total offense both seasons. And coincidentally, the Titans have finished 26th or worse in total defense four of the last six playoff drought years.

Hence, loading up on d may be the quickest way back to respectability.

Building on a solid offseason thus far on defense, the Titans could then take Florida lb Dante Fowler, Jr second overall. Tennessee desperately needs an outside pass rusher, and Fowler Jr brings ten-plus sack talent to the roster. A talent that must be accounted for on every play.

A Jevon Kearse type of athleticism. A day one impact player.

Nov 29, 2014; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook (4) runs the ball past Florida Gators defensive lineman Dante Fowler Jr. (6) and linebacker Antonio Morrison (3) during the game at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

An effective pass rusher comes with an inherent domino effect. The attention he requires from opposing offenses opens things up for your other playmakers. He also collapses the pocket more times than not, disrupting plays even if he doesn’t get the sack.

The less time the qb has to throw, the better your secondary suddenly becomes.

Tennessee was 15th in the league against the pass without an effective edge rusher last season. With a talent like Fowler Jr, the Titans could easily catapult to top 10 in that area this year.

With their second round pick (#33), the Titans should select Florida St defensive tackle Eddie Goldman. Tennessee’s run defense was an embarrassment last season. It also was a major factor in the gross disparity in time of possession in 2014.

While at Florida St, Goldman excelled in a 3-4 defensive scheme that showed multiple looks. At 6’4, 336, Goldman gives Dick Lebeau a 3-4 literate space eating tackle.

Paired with pro bowler Jurrell Casey, a talented space eating tackle himself, Tennessee would now have the foundation for an imposing…run stopping front.

With rookie lb Fowler Jr wreaking havoc on the outside, veterans Morgan and Orakpo can be freed up to run schemes and exploit matchups.

An effective front seven can make opposing offenses one dimensional, which gives your secondary a competitive advantage.

All of the necessary components for an elite defense. But is it a realistic expectation?

In 2006, Tennessee ranked dead last in the league in total defense. The following year they finished 5th, and earned a wild card spot.

So it is possible.

As if the Titans don’t already have enough scenarios to ponder. Four days and counting.

Next: Tennessee Titans: First Down And Tenn - 4/26 Edition

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