Tennessee Titans: Free Agent class just as important


The Tennessee Titans’ 2015 draft class is arguably their most heralded since relocating to Nashville in 1999. Forgoing their usual conservative, and dare I say…boring approach the last decade, Tennessee made splash picks this year with qb Marcus Mariota and wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham.

Both will be looked upon to play early and often.

Running back David Cobb, full back Jalston Fowler, and defensive tackle Angelo Blackson will also see immediate action. And rookie Jeremiah Poutasi enters training camp with a legitimate chance to earn the starting right tackle job.

The influx of new young talent is cause for optimism, but if the Titans are to snap their ten game losing streak, then this year’s “other” class must have an even bigger impact.

The free agents.

Tennessee’s offseason of change started long before the arrival of Marcus Mariota, when defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau was brought on board. I consider this a free agent signing because LeBeau, a highly respected Hall of Fame player and coach, would be welcomed at any organization that utilizes the 3-4 defense.

He chose Tennessee more than Tennessee chose him.

Wasting no time in getting LeBeau players, Tennessee brought in free agent linebacker Brian Orakpo…and brought back unrestricted free agent linebacker / de Derrick Morgan. The duo will be counted on to flank the young and talented middle linebacker duo of Zach Brown and Avery Williamson.

Dec 20, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers cornerback Perrish Cox (20) intercepts a pass intended for San Diego Chargers receiver Seyi Ajirotutu (16) at Levi

Cornerback Perish Cox recorded five interceptions last year in San Francisco, eclipsing the combined total of Titans’ cb’s Coty Sensabaugh and Blidi Wreh-Wilson last season.

Cox has gotten off to a great start in mini-camp by all accounts, and has the early lead in being this year’s starter. Tennessee desperately needs quality help at the 2nd corner slot.

Da’Norris Searcy, free agent safety acquisition from Buffalo, provides an immediate upgrade over Bernard Pollard. He is durable (only 2 games missed in 5 seasons), and likes contact. Searcy will be counted on to start opposite Michael Griffin.

On offense, rookie DGB will steal the headlines, but free agent wide receiver acquisitions Harry Douglas and Hakeem Nicks will be heavily counted on to revamp a unit that underachieved last season.

Former Carolina Panthers right tackle Byron Bell was brought in to shore up that position. Bell will be in a dog fight with Poutasi this summer for the starting job, but if he can beat the rookie outright, then he would give the Titans some flexibility. Poutasi also has value and upside at the guard position.

The acquisition of veteran free agent tight end Anthony Fasano flew under the radar, but his presence this season will be vital. Fasano is a physical run blocker…a much needed asset to a rebuilding offensive line.

But he is also a viable threat in the passing game, hauling in 21 td’s the last five seasons. Fasano will spell Delanie Walker, who showed signs of wearing down toward the end of last season…and will provide a safety net and huge red zone target to the offense.

With Mariota falling in the draft class category, they will naturally draw the attention this fall. But the “other” class is just as important, and will need to hold down the fort until the youngsters find their way.

Next: Will Marcus Mariota Be the First To Test Offset Language?

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