Tennessee Titans sign linebacker Sean Spence

Jan 3, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Sean Spence (51) celebrates his team
Jan 3, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Sean Spence (51) celebrates his team /

With everyone waiting on Rashad Johnson and Louis Vasquez, the Tennessee Titans made some unexpected news today with the visit and signing of linebacker Sean Spence.

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The Titans signed Spence on a one year, $2.5 million contract which likely means that he will be a depth player in this defense.

For those that don’t know Spence’s history here is a quick rundown from a player who was one was of the more explosive prospects from the University of Miami in the past five years.

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  • -Spence was a defensive standout on a Miami team that also featured former Titans linebacker Colin McCarthy on it. He won accolades in his freshman year (ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year) and in his senior year (1st team All-ACC).

    -Despite being undersized for a linebacker (5’11” 231 lb.), his ability to be a “run and hit” linebacker in a 4-3 defense made him tempting to NFL teams. Spence was the 8th off the ball linebacker in the 2012 class, going in the 3rd round to the Pittsburgh Steelers, where current Titans DC Dick LeBeau was coaching.

    -Spence had a big knee injury during his rookie year, and ultimately it prevented him from playing in either 2012 or 2013. Unfortunately for Spence, with his future an unknown the Steelers they had to take advantage of the draft and grab a falling Ryan Shazier out of Ohio State in the 2014 NFL Draft.

    -After that, Spence played as a backup and rotational player until his contract was up with the team.

    -Following some visits to the Miami Dolphins and the Jacksonville Jaguars, he made a trip to Nashville where the Titans didn’t let him leave.

    Now, that you are caught up on the player, here is how I believe he will be used.

    I think that this is the part of free agency where new Titans GM Jon Robinson is sitting down and really breaking down exactly what his coordinators and position coaches want their players to look like.

    In the first wave of free agency I am sure there were talks on 50+ players, but now they have had time to look at potentially every free agent with a real chance to help this team now and in the future.

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    In Sean Spence, they saw a 25 year old linebacker who really has only played two years as a backup and who is finally coming into his own from a health standpoint. It is also a player that has a connection with Dick LeBeau, and someone that obviously made a good impression likely because of a strong work ethic.

    When healthy, Spence is a run and hit linebacker who is rangy enough to play in either a 3-4 or a 4-3. His 4.71 40-yard dash would have made him the 10th fastest linebacker in the class (I don’t count Leonard Floyd because he weighs about as much as a defensive back).

    While I don’t know if he pushes for a starting job on all three downs, with Wesley Woodyard about to turn 30 there is a chance that you could see him come in and help limit some of his reps so that he is healthy down the stretch.

    You will also probably see Spence as a special teams player, and on a team that lost Michael Griffin, that is something that they need to address.

    All in all, this addresses a need with a high upside player who is athletic and has connections to the current defensive coordinator of the Titans. While $2.5 million might sound like a little much, the Titans have money to spend and this will save them from forcing a late round pick down the road if they have two players tied on their draft board.