Tennessee Titans need to put this combine star higher on their board

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 16: Quarterback Brett Rypien
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 16: Quarterback Brett Rypien /

The Tennessee Titans may have a new target at 25.

The Tennessee Titans are a team that believes in tangible measurements of players. From on the field production to athletic testing, Jon Robinson is a man who really has a good idea for what works in the NFL.

The combine is a great opportunity to first and foremost see which players are healthy, but it also allows you to put a group of high caliber players that you have watched all year in the same place and compare them head to head.

While there were many stars this weekend, the player that didn’t get enough attention for me was Leighton Vander Esch a linebacker from Boise State.

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At the combine he measured in at 6’4, 256 lb. which is great size for a linebacker in the NFL. Here is what he ended up with in his tests:


Bench-20 reps

Vert- 39.5 inches

Broad Jump- 10 feet 4 inches

3-cone- 6.88 seconds

Short Shuttle- 4.15 seconds

60 yard Shuttle-11.57 seconds

His 40 wasn’t fantastic, but those other numbers are outstanding, especially including his size. In fact, if you go to Mockdraftable, his three closest comparisons in terms of athletic testing are:

-Connor Barwin (pretty solid player, 55 sacks as a rotational player)

-Khalil Mack

-Javon Kearse

That is an impressive list of players to be matched up with: A Hall of Fame caliber player, someone well on his way, and a Pro Bowl pass rusher.

It isn’t just athletic testing that sets him apart, he showed it on the field this year too. In fact, he is the third most productive linebacker in the NCAA in the stats that mattered according to Jim Cobern.

On tape he looks good too, sorting through traffic and being an effective linebacker from sideline to sideline. He rushes the passer well when asked too (which is rare) and he understands situational football very well.

All of those things are great, but there are two things that I think will really click with Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel.

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First of all, he was a walk on who earned his starting time by being a very good special teams player. Right off the bat he has some similarities between himself and Vrabel in terms of their starts.

The second thing is that the guy can play anywhere. You want to talk about versatile, I believe with his skill set he could play off the ball or at EDGE and on special teams. You are going to get a guy who is the perfect example front multiplicity in LVE.

He is a high floor, high ceiling guy that is going to be a special teams star in year 1 for sure and should also be a team’s better defenders if he is used correctly. The more I look at it the more confident I am that he is going to be on the Titans shortlist at 25 if he is available.

(As I was writing this I got an alert that Matt Miller posted a mock draft and sure enough LVE was the Titans pick. He nailed the analysis, go check it out here)