A quick look at a cornerback that the Tennessee Titans are rumored to like.
There are not a lot of people I trust around draft time to know anything about the Tennessee Titans, but one of those people is undoubtedly Tony Pauline.
If you don’t know who he is, check him out all year to get all the inside information on what scouts, agents, schools, etc. are all saying about prospects as well as his own rankings.
The reason I bring him up is that the Tennessee Titans have been rumored to like Chidobe Awuzie CB, Colorado. So much so that according to Pauline, the Titans could take him at 18.
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With that in mind I thought I would give a quick run down of what I think about Awuzie and why he may or may not be a fit for the Tennessee Titans.
One of the things that defines why I think the Tennessee Titans would like Awuzie is because of how aggressive at the catch point. With 27 pass breakups over the last two years, it isn’t to see why a team that has had trouble giving up easy passes would want someone who doesn’t wait on the receiver to make a play on the ball before acting.
Another issue the Titans have had is finding players who can bump receivers off of their routes. Awuzie is tough in phase and plays physical in all the right ways, which would help the team especially if they try to take a free safety at 5.
Awuzie had some clear blindside shots on college QBs, but even when they saw him he did a good job timing blitzes and working his way back to the quarterback. Not many cornerbacks end their careers with nearly 10 sacks (9).
The Titans don’t have to worry about where to put him because at Colorado he played both boundary positions, slot cornerback and even at the linebacker level. That sort of versatility is something that has intrigued the Tennessee Titans this offseason.
While it is no longer a premium need, Awuzie was a very active special teams player which was a huge need for the Titans last year.
You will hear about how physical he is and think he is a great tackler. That really isn’t correct because he really only makes tackles when they are right in front of him, or he waits and makes tackles from behind. Its not that he isn’t willing, but he isn’t very aggressive here and he just doesn’t finish.
He also struggles carrying guys across the field in man coverage, which is a big issue for this team. If they can’t generate a more even pass rush then that is something that is going to get him killed by guys like T.Y. Hilton.
This is going to hurt, but I sort of get Blidi Wreh-Wilson vibes with him. He does a good job locating passes, but he really can’t get a turnover (less than one interception per year). That is something that this regime needs to change, because getting close won’t get it done.
It isn’t that I hate Awuzie, but can anyone honestly sit here and tell me that he is an impact player on this team from Day 1? You know who the 18th overall pick was two years ago? Marcus Peters. The year before him, Jason Verrett was taken at 25 and the year before that both Desmond Trufant and Xavier Rhodes were drafted in the 20s.
My point is, all of these guys are Pro Bowlers or better. I don’t see that sort of immediate value with Awuzie and I think to take a guy who may have a higher floor (I stress may) than some other players is a cop out.
I would rather take a swing on someone like Kevin King or a Jourdan Lewis in a trade down, or wait until the 3rd to get a guy like Cam Sutton instead of using a “playmaker pick” on Awuzie.