Tennessee Titans: Top 10 players
By P. L. Colter
The Tennessee Titans’ 2015 season is less than three weeks away, and as we draw closer to the annual event, we’ll begin to take a closer look at this year’s roster.
Today, we discuss the top ten Titans heading into training camp.
10. Taylor Lewan: LT
Tennessee drafted Lewan 11th overall last year to be this year’s starter, and he heads into training camp firmly entrenched as the left tackle of the future. More impressive than his athletic skills is his nastiness on the field. Marcus Mariota has a mean young enforcer protecting his blind side for the foreseeable future.
9. Brett Kern: P
You know your offense is bad when your punter makes the list. Kern was called upon nearly 100 times last season, and delivered far more often than not. Kern was top ten in the league in average per punt, yards returned, and fair catches last year. A valuable asset for an offense starting a rookie qb.
8. Avery Williamson: LB
Williamson turned out to be a fifth round steal for Tennessee last season, posting 79 tackles, 3 sacks, and 2 fumble recoveries in his rookie campaign. He also finished second on the team in tackles for loss. With an upgrade in talent around him, look for an even bigger year from Williamson in 2015.
7. Zach Brown: LB
One of the reasons for Williamson’s rookie success was the absence of Zach Brown, who was lost for the season in last year’s opener. Prior to his injury, Brown was one of the most productive players on defense…posting 90+ tackles and a host of big plays his first two seasons. A healthy Brown, paired with up and coming Williamson, makes for a solid young duo at middle linebacker.
6. Derrick Morgan: LB
Derrick Morgan transitioned from a 4-3 defensive end in 2013, to a 3-4 outside linebacker last season. And did it effectively…to the tune of a team high six and a half sacks and two forced fumbles last season. More impressive was Morgan’s development as a pass defender, recording seven pass deflections while covering in space. A double digit sack season is not out of the question this year.
5. Kendall Wright: WR
Kendall Wright enters his fourth season as the Titans number 1 receiver. While his catches were down last year, Wright posted career highs in yards per reception (12.5) and tds (6). Armed with an array of big physical receivers, Tennessee can now turn Wright back into a volume receiver. Working out of the slot and underneath routes, mixed with an ability to get yards after the catch, bodes well for Wright this season.
4. Jason McCourty: CB
Jason McCourty was one of the few bright spots on defense last season, finishing third on the team in tackles (85), first in pass deflections (11), and first in forced turnovers (5)…taking one to the house. Free agent cb acquisition Perrish Cox had five interceptions last year, and is having a great offseason so far. Giving McCourty some much needed help on the other side makes him even more dangerous.
3. Michael Griffin: S
Longtime Titans safety Michael Griffin continues to get it done, leading the team in tackles last season with 112. He also posted three sacks and two interceptions. Griffin, a la Jason McCourty, also gets some much needed help with the signing of free agent safety Da’Norris Searcy this offseason. As Tennessee continues their transition to the 3-4 scheme, look for Griffin to continue to top the tackles list.
2. Jurrell Casey: DT
A year removed from his 10 sack Pro Bowl season, Jurrell Casey enters this year’s training camp as one of the best young defensive tackles in the entire league…the only Titans player to make the NFL Network’s Top 100 players for 2015. Like most of his counterparts, Casey’s numbers dipped last year during “the transition”, but he still put up five sacks…and led the team in tackles for loss (8). But Casey’s impact can not be measured solely by numbers, his presence causes mismatches for his teammates. He’s worth every penny.
1. Delanie Walker: TE
Tight end Delanie Walker enters training camp as the number 1 Titans player for on the field, and off the field reasons. Last season Walker led the team in receptions (63), yards (890), and first downs (33). He gives everything on every play, he fought to the finish last season. Off the field, Walker is the team spokesman. Whether it is calling out cancers on the team in 2013, or calling out anyone trying to start a qb controversy this year, Walker always speaks his mind. And what he says carries weight, because he backs it up on the field each and every Sunday.
Next: Tennessee Titans: How much protecting does Marcus Mariota need?