The Tennessee Titans recently signed DE Claude Pelon, formerly of the New York Jets, to add depth to a line that has lost a lot of rotational talent this offseason.
One of the more under-the-radar storylines of the 2018 offseason for the Tennessee Titans is the loss of key depth pieces along the defensive line. The Titans have several quality starters in place with the newly re-signed DaQuan Jones, perennial standout Jurrell Casey, third-year Austin Johnson, and veteran DT Bennie Logan. However, the Titans have already cut key rotational players, such as Karl Klug and Sylvester Williams earlier in the offseason, as well as former second round pick Kevin Dodd just this past week.
The team clearly was looking to get stronger at the position by signing Logan and attempting to sign Ndamukong Suh, but now desperately needs to add injury insurance and depth along the defensive line with the loss of the aforementioned talents. With 202 games worth of experience along the defensive line lost, the Titans need to add more experience behind the starters.
Currently, Tennessee’s depth along the line consists of five UDFAs, David King, and Julius Warmsley. With all of the rookies still adjusting to life in the NFL, Tennessee could stand to add another affordable veteran to the group to bring experience and talent, while competing for a roster spot in training camp. This is exactly what the Titans accomplished by signing DE Claude Pelon.
Pelon signed as a free agent with the New York Jets following the 2016 NFL Draft and spent two seasons with the team, appearing in one game for the team before being waived in early 2018. Before his stint with the Jets, Pelon played a complementary role to Leonard Williams at USC, racking up four sacks and 8.5 TFL in two seasons at DT for the Trojans.
Pelon might not be a world-beater at DE for Tennessee. He might not even make the final roster, but GM Jon Robinson has correctly surmised that the team needs more experience and competition in training camp to find reliable backups along the defensive line. The loss of Dodd, Klug, and Williams creates a void of experience and reliability that cannot be filled by UDFAs. Hopefully, Pelon takes this chance and runs with it to give this team the rotational depth it needs, or at the very least brings some experience and know-how for training camp, as the team’s five UDFAs try to find their footing. The defensive line should be one group to watch over the next few weeks as the preseason draws near in what should be one of Tennessee’s biggest positional battles.