Tennessee Titans Should Make a Run at Nigel Bradham in Free Agency

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19: Jay Cutler /

We take a look at a potential add for the Tennessee Titans: Philadelphia Eagles stud linebacker Nigel Bradham.

Front multiplicity, coverage consistency. Arguably the most noticeable words that new Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel uttered at his introductory press conference. While most fans are concerned with what the new offense will look like, I’m personally intrigued by the new defense that comes with that, as well.

In order to accomplish what Vrabel has laid out, the Titans will need to get more versatile in the middle of their defense. They will need linebackers who can not only fill gaps and tackle but can also hold up their end in pass coverage as well. That may very well spell the end of Avery Williamson’s tenure in a two-tone blue uniform (unless he comes back on an ultra team-friendly deal).

Williamson has been a liability in coverage since entering the league in 2014. While Wesley Woodyard had a Pro Bowl caliber season in 2017, he is on the wrong side of 30. Rookie Jayon Brown did flash in spots, but he wasn’t as consistent a player as the Titans would have hoped. Hopefully, as his career progresses, Brown will be able to improve in that category. But with the Titans looking to win now, they may not have the faith to thrust Brown into an every-down role just yet.

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That’s where you look to add to the position this offseason. Look no further than current Philadelphia Eagles playmaker, Nigel Bradham. Bradham, 28, isn’t the youngest linebacker set to hit the open market, but he is the most versatile and consistent, and would likely come on a more affordable contract number than Williamson would.

Over his two-year stint in Philadelphia, he has helped turn that defense into an elite unit that just so happens to be playing next Sunday in the Super Bowl. I expect the former Florida State Seminole to show off his talents on the biggest stage, even against the vaunted New England Patriots and Tom Brady.

From 2016-2017, Nigel Bradham has accumulated 190 tackles, three sacks and15 passes defensed, to go with a single interception. In that same time span, Woodyard has tallied 181 tackles and 10 passes defensed, as well as a single interception, while Williamson brought down the ball carrier 194 times but only accounted for three pass deflections and one interception off a tipped pass.

This isn’t a piece dedicated to bringing down Williamson. The Kentucky product has been a solid piece to this defense ever since joining the team. But if this team is to ascend into the upper echelon of defenses in the NFL, they need to get better and more consistent at covering the middle of the field. Not to mention the outrageous cap number that Williamson is probably going to demand that just won’t match his production. It’s just hard for me to see a situation where Williamson is back with this team in 2018.

Bradham is a player fans should get excited about. He’s an outstanding three-down backer who can do it all, but he makes his money with his coverage skills. As a fan, I’m personally tired of seeing team’s opposing tight ends and running backs kill us in the passing game. It’s been going on for far too long, and it will have to be addressed if this team is going to go to the places that Amy Adams Strunk and Jon Robinson envision.

On a lighter note, who doesn’t remember Kevin Byard’s three interception game against DeShone Kizer and the Browns? Ask yourself if this play by Bradham on Monday Night Football last season reminds you of any of those plays.

It should remind you of the second interception the All-Pro/Pro Bowl safety had that day. The one where he acted as if he was going to cover the flat, baiting Kizer to try and fit a ball over his head. We all remember how that ended up. Even though Bradham reacted to the play action, he was still able to disguise his coverage and sit under the route, putting himself in position to make the play.

Pulling off a play like that takes a combination of a lot of things: Confidence, film study, and just sheer athletic ability. But most of all, it shows a serious degree of coverage savvy that only a certain number of players possess in the NFL. Nigel Bradham could wind up being the answer to a lot of the areas the Titans have struggled with defensively in the past.

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