Tennessee Titans: Top 10 players of 2016

Oct 25, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans outside linebacker Brian Orakpo (98) reacts to his team stopping the Atlanta Falcons touchdown on fourth down during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Atlanta won 10-7. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 25, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans outside linebacker Brian Orakpo (98) reacts to his team stopping the Atlanta Falcons touchdown on fourth down during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Atlanta won 10-7. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tennessee Titans wasted no time in turning the page on the 2015 season. A new front office, a new coaching staff, and a plethora of new players were brought in this offseason.

As the Titans prepare for the upcoming draft, which is now just two weeks away, we take a look at the top ten players on the current roster.

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10: Dorial Green-Beckham (WR)

The 2015 second round pick missed most of training camp while recovering from an injury that he suffered during rookie mini-camp, and had a slow and unimpressive start to the season. DGB came on strong to finish the year, however, giving the Titans a glimpse of what he can do when healthy. The mammoth 6’5, 237 pound receiver led the team in yards per catch last season (17.2), while finishing second in receptions and touchdowns catches. Look for DGB’s role to expand this season.

9: Dexter McCluster (RB)

While leading a morbid group of Titans running backs in yards per carry last season isn’t impressive to the naked eye, his 4.5 yards per carry was….matching NFL rushing leader Adrian Peterson. McCluster is also a receiving weapon out of the backfield, and his 9.0 yards per punt return was good for 13th in the league. With the addition of bell cow running back DeMarco Murray, look for Tennessee to use McCluster in more creative ways this season, the same way that he was used in Kansas City when Jamaal Charles was the feature back.

8: Wesley Woodyard (LB)

The 29 year old veteran linebacker out of Kentucky quietly finished the 2015 season as the team’s third leading tackler. He also finished third in sacks, and returned a pivotal fumble recovery for a touchdown to help break the Titans’ infamous home losing streak against Jacksonville. With fellow middle linebacker Zach Brown now in Buffalo, look for Woodyard to continue put up solid numbers this season.

7: Derrick Morgan (LB)

Tennessee re-signed Morgan last offseason, and he repaid the team with 4.5 sacks in ten games…before finishing the season on injured reserve. What makes Morgan so important to the team? His versatility. Remember, he was originally drafted 16th overall by the Titans in 2010 to play defensive end in a 4-3 scheme. Now he plays outside linebacker in Dick LeBeau‘s 3-4 scheme, and he didn’t seem to miss a beat with the transition. A healthy Morgan in 2016 is a welcomed sight to a team that finished 12th overall in total defense last year.

6: Brian Orakpo (LB)

Orakpo restored his career, and his image after signing with Tennessee last year as a free agent. Once considered “injury prone” his last few years in Washington, Orakpo started all 16 games for the Titans last season, and finished the year tied for the team lead in sacks with 7. Most importantly, his knowledge of the 3-4 scheme and aggressive pass rush caused teams to pay him more attention, freeing up Morgan to do damage on the other side at outside linebacker. He also blocked a kick last season for good measure.

Next: Trading with the Chiefs is a possibility for Titans

5: DeMarco Murray (RB) 

The 2014 Offensive Player of the Year (Dallas) was acquired from the Eagles after one uneventful season in Philadelphia. Murray’s arrival gives the Titans a much needed feature back, as well as instant credibility given his pedigree and willingness to tote the rock 20-25 times a game. The offense will be centered around him this season, something that he and the Titans mutually want.

4: Avery Williamson (LB)

The unknown 5th round pick in the 2014 draft got thrown right into the fire, after then-starting middle linebacker Zach Brown was lost for the season in the first quarter of that year’s season opener. Williamson never looked back, and today, he is the defensive signal caller, and reigning leading tackler on the team (102). Williamson has superstar written all over him, and will get his well deserved notoriety if the team continues to improve.

3. Marcus Mariota (QB)

Mariota had a record setting rookie campaign for Tennessee last season, throwing for more touchdowns than any other rookie qb in franchise history. He also became the first Titans’ qb to run for 100 yards in a game, the first rookie qb in the league to have a perfect qb rating in his first career start, and the first rookie qb in NFL history to throw for 4 tds with no interceptions twice in one season. If not for the four missed games because of injury, then Mariota could have finished higher on this list.

2: Jurrell Casey (DE)

Casey has not only been the Titans’ best defensive player the last few years, but he has also been one of the best defensive frontline players in the entire league during that span. The two time Pro Bowler (most recently last season) co-led the team in sacks with 7, and remains the emotional leader and catalyst for that unit. His quickness and athleticism is rarely seen out of player his size (6’1, 305 lbs), and if healthy, I fully expect more trips to Hawaii in his future.

1: Delanie Walker (TE)

Walker had a historic 2015 season in Tennessee, with little to no help from his skill position counterparts. He hauled in 94 catches for 1,088 yards, a franchise record for a tight end…breaking the legendary Frank Wycheck‘s record. Walker was an All Pro snub, and took it out on his colleagues with a spectacular performance in last season’s Pro Bowl. Walker was not only the Titans’ best player last season, but he was also the vocal leader, and team spokesman. The true definition of leading by example, on and off the field.

Let the debate begin.