3 names to watch
There are three names that come to mind for me when I look at the DB depth on this roster.
-The former 2018 NFL Draft pick has had his moments with Tennessee and he is someone that you can tell the coaching staff really likes. He plays special teams at a high level and he has the athleticism to move around and play in coverage, while also being an aggressive tackler.
They wouldn’t give Cruikshank up, but right now there is a logjam at the safety position behind Kevin Byard and Kenny Vaccaro, and that tandem keeps getting better and better. It may be in everyone’s best interest if Cruikshank is traded to a team that can use him on defense more.
Tye Smith, CB
-Smith doesn’t get talked about enough, but he is someone that this coaching staff and front office really like. He is a very good backup and special teams player who has seen 200+ snaps in two of the last three years, with the only exception being in 2018 when he was placed on I.R. before the season.
He is a good, physical tackler who finds ways to stay competitive with receivers in phase, but he just isn’t quite up to the task of being a starter with the Titans behind highly paid veterans and 1st and 2nd round draft picks.
Amani Hooker, CB/S
-This is a really interesting one for me. I think the Titans are quietly distancing themselves from the idea of Hooker ever becoming a real player for this team. Last season he played nearly 400 snaps and 359 of them were in coverage.
He had 10 tackles, 0 PBUs and 0 INTs. That isn’t quite what the Titans were hoping for when they drafted him.
I think they wanted to draft him to play him in the slot and allow him to be another version of Logan Ryan, meaning someone physical and willing to blitz and tackle, but who could also hold up well in coverage when asked to. For whatever reason, that didn’t happen and they even resorted to signing a free agent cornerback off the street in the midst of their playoff run instead of giving him a chance.
Since the Titans found their heir apparent at corner in Kristian Fulton and they have three safeties that they like (if they keep Cruikshank in this scenario), how valuable is Hooker going to be for Tennessee? Would the Panthers be a team that could take a shot on the versatile DB with upside?