A bargain bin player that Jon Robinson may want to add to the Tennessee Titans.
Nose tackle and EDGE may be the biggest needs for the Tennessee Titans that no one is really talking about.
Jon Robinson comes from franchises with prime Vince Wilfork and Gerald McCoy, two of the top-10 defensive tackle of the last decade. I am a huge fan of Jurrell Casey, but unless Dick LeBeau is going to shift his base defense to a 4-3 and move him to 3-tech, then the focal point of his defensive line will be the nose tackle.
So, naturally I have been watching names like Brandon William, Dan Williams and Dontari Poe closely trying to see if there are any threads connecting those names to the Tennessee Titans.
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While those three are all a possibility, Jon Robinson loves to go bargain shopping. Last year, names like Marvin Jones, Mike Wallace, Anquan Boldin, and even Rueben Randle were being mentioned as contemporaries or upgrades over Rishard Matthews.
Instead of going after the name, he went after the player and beat out the New England Patriots for the talented wide receiver.
When Justis Mosqueda put up his list of potential best bargains in free agency for 2017, I was astonished to see Johnathan Hankins on the list. I was a big fan of his when he came out of the draft, but I didn’t think he would be a free agent so soon for some reason.
He may be one of the few players that checks off almost every box on Jon Robinson’s list. First of all he is a talented player that gets better every year.
Secondly, he isn’t going to break the bank in free agency. Despite being an ascending player at his position, nose tackles generally don’t exactly put teams in bad cap situations.
Thirdly, he is a young player. At the start of the season he will only be 25 years old and change, which means that the Tennessee Titans could give him a nice 3-year deal and then get a chance to extend him before he turns 28.
Finally, he is sort of a lunch pail kind of guy. He was a 3-star going into college and he earned his way into the starting spot by doing a lot of dirty work to let others thrive. He does his job without making noise, and when he was displaced by Damon Harrison he still found a way to get on the field amassing over 800 snaps this year.
Here is a snippet of what Mosqueda had to say about Hankins in his article:
“Every scheme in the NFL can utilize him. He’s a proven professional and very young. That player should get a lot of money on the open market, but a combination of playing a bit out of position in 2016 and the other names on the market will keep his price lower than his true value.”
That’s pretty high praise from someone who probably spends more time watching and analyzing defensive line prospects than anyone else.
If Robinson likes him, expect the Tennessee Titans to quietly go after him while other teams needing a nose tackle fight for the big three. It would be a classic Robinson move to go in and get in first with the guy he likes, but who may not be the biggest/most expensive guy out in free agency.
It would also be good considering this isn’t a great year for defensive tackle prospects in the draft.