2. Defensive Tackle
Whew. Alright, I am prepared for a lot of push back on this one but let me explain why I think that the Titans are actually going to be better at DT this year.
But this isn’t a shock right? I mean the compensation was, but at the same time this was always what you expected to happen when Casey was getting paid like a top-10 DT and the Titans turned around and drafted another DT in the 1st round.
Let’s look at some defensive tackles around the league and you tell me which ones you would rather have (minimum 100 pass rushes):
Player A: 1.5% sack rate on pass rushes, 1.4% TFL rate on run plays
Player B: 0.2% sack rate on pass rushes, no TFLs
Player C: 0.9% sack rate on pass rushes, 2.2% TFL rate on run plays
Player D: 0.9% sack rate on pass rushes, 1.7% TFL rate on run plays
I said around the league just to try and throw you off the scent, but those players were actually all Tennessee Titans last year and they are, in order: Isaiah Mack, DaQuan Jones, Jeffery Simmons, and Jurrell Casey.
Now, numbers don’t tell the full story but I would argue that in this case it all washes out because there are more than a few times where Casey lucks into a play.
Going off the only quantitative data we have that isn’t biased, it looks like the best 2019 DTs on pass downs were Mack and either Simmons or Casey, while the best run defenders were Simmons and Casey by a wide margin.
We can argue about whether or not the Titans should have sent DaQuan Jones or Jurrell Casey, but I have to assume that age and contract made the decision a little bit easier for Tennessee.
If Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel made this move with the intention of adding another key piece in free agency, using Isaiah Mack more on pass downs, and making Jeffery Simmons the starter in place of Casey then I think this is an upgrade.