Tennessee Titans fans should pay more attention to Wesley Woodyard.
The Tennessee Titans are set at linebacker for the next decade if they want to be.
Jayon Brown is heading into his second year and he is easily one of the best young linebackers in the NFL. That isn’t hyperbole or me being a homer, look at what I dug up when researching top, young players in the NFL. Here is how he stacked up with big names like Darius Leonard, Jarrad Davis, Roquan Smith, and Leighton Vander Esch:
"“-TFLs: Leonard (12), Davis (10), Brown (8), Smith (8), LVE (2)-Sacks: Leonard (7), Brown (6), Davis (6), Smith(5), LVE (0)-Pass deflections: Leonard (8), LVE (7), Brown (6), Davis (5), Smith (5)-Interceptions: LVE (2), Leonard (2), Brown (1), Smith (1), Davis (0)So if you convert those to a point system you end up with this ranking, also note the total snaps they played in parenthesis:1st: Leonard (1,108 snaps)2nd: Brown (852 snaps)T-3rd: LVE (893)T-3rd: Davis (976)5th: Smith (946)Brown was behind Leonard by one interception and one sack in those two major categories despite playing 77% as many snaps as Leonard did.”"
Beside him is 2018 rookie Rashaan Evans. It isn’t a secret that Evans struggled early in the season, but that wasn’t because he lacked talent or athleticism. Evans missed a long stretch of camp with a hamstring injury, and obviously missing that much time in camp when you are trying to learn a new defense is going to put you behind.
After about four weeks he was back up to speed and was making an impact on a weekly basis despite being a rotational player.
When you look at that, it is interesting to think that neither of those players led the Titans in tackles last year. That was the “other” linebacker of the group, Wesley Woodyard.
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Despite having a phenomenal 2017 campaign, Woodyard didn’t have the same impact in 2018 thanks to injuries and a rotational role. Still, that didn’t stop him from being one of the Titans best tacklers and someone who constantly helped other players get in position on defense.
Woodyard is one of the best leaders on the Titans roster as evidenced by him being elected as a captain for his entire NFL career. Just to reiterate how impressive that is, Woodyard came into the NFL as an UDFA from Kentucky 11 years ago.
While he isn’t a flashy name to hype up any more, the Titans will still need to depend heavily on Woodyard at times this year. With youth and inexperience at EDGE, having a set of eyes out there to help identify looks and align those guys correctly is huge.
As Brown and Evans develop from play makers into veteran stars, they are lucky to have an example of what they should strive to be in front of them. He should get more praise, and going into this season watch what he does when he is on the field before the snap and look at how successful plays are with him directing traffic.