Five final thoughts on the Tennessee Titans defense before camp
By Will Lomas
2. The Tennessee Titans defense is one of the best in the NFL and definitely tops in the AFC South.
This isn’t being talked about enough, but the Tennessee Titans defense is the best in the AFC South and they essentially lap the rest of the division when healthy.
Now, you may bristle at that as a hot take but at the very least you can’t argue that the Titans are the most complete defense in the division. Look at how they stack up:
Defensive line starters:
-Tennessee Titans: Jurrell Casey, Jeffery Simmons, DaQuan Jones
-Indianapolis Colts: Denico Autry, Tyquan Lewis
-Houston Texans: J.J. Watt, D.J. Reader, Brandon Dunn
-Jacksonville Jaguars: Marcell Dareus, Taven Bryan?
The Texans have the best player, but the Titans probably have the second and third best players on that list when everyone is healthy.
-Titans: Harold Landry, Cameron Wake
-Colts: Jabal Sheard, Justin Houston
-Texans: Jadeveon Clowney (if he plays), Whitney Mercilus
-Jaguars: Yannick Ngakoue, Calais Campbell
The Jaguars have this group for sure, but the Titans are in the conversation as the second best group. Justin Houston has had one 16-game season since 2013 and Clowney is holding out right now based on his franchise tag status.
Harold Landry should flirt with 10 sacks and be a very good run defender while Cameron Wake is almost penciled in at 6+ sacks per season. Huge upgrade over last year.
Linebacker (three player included for sub packages)
-Titans: Jayon Brown, Rashaan Evans, Wesley Woodyard
-Colts: Darius Leonard, Anthony Walker, Bobby Okereke
-Texans: Zach Cunningham, Benardrick McKinney, Brenna Scarlett
-Jaguars: Myles Jack, Leon Jacobs, D.J. Alexander
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The Titans take this by a country mile. Darius Leonard and Jayon Brown are virtually equals (check the stats and the snaps if you incorrectly disagree), besides Evans and Woodyard alone would probably be the best 1-2 punch on this list even without Brown.
Jaguars turned a strength to a weakness this year and we are about to really see how good Myles Jack is (cut to 30 minute cut up of him running away from OL contact).
-Titans: Adoree Jackson, Logan Ryan, Malcolm Butler, Kevin Byard, Kenny Vaccaro
-Colts: Pierre Desir, Quincy Wilson, Kenny Moore, Malik Hooker, Clayton Geathers
-Texans: Jonathan Joseph, Aaron Colvin, Bradley Roby, Justin Reid, Tashaun Gipson
-Jaguars: Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, D.J. Haden, Jarrod Wilson, Ronnie Harrison
I mean. Even an all-star list of the rest of the AFC South isn’t better than what the Titans are fielding. Jalen Ramsey is outstanding, but Bouye had a massive drop off last year.
Adoree Jackson is developing into a great cornerback and gets better every year while Logan Ryan is a model of consistency, especially in the slot. Butler is one of the hottest and coldest players in the NFL, but when he is on he is very good.
As for safeties, the Titans have the #1 and #2 in the division with the league’s leader in interceptions over the last two years in Byard and one of the most physical safeties in the NFL in Kenny Vaccaro.
TL;DR: When healthy the Tennessee Titans have the best collection of defensive linemen, linebackers, safeties and corners in the AFC South while having massive upside at EDGE even though they aren’t there yet.