5. Tennessee Titans LB Monty Rice (3rd round)
Rookie linebacker Monty Rice is probably not someone that many people expected to see on these power rankings, but he did a lot of things on Friday that deserves praise.
Last year the Tennessee Titans linebackers were painfully slow in analyzing and attacking, and that was one of the big flaws that kept this team from winning 13+ games. Rice doesn’t seem to fit that mold and you could see him adapt and evolve as the game went on.
Rice had a sack waived off because of a defensive holding call, but in reality, the pressure was so quick that there was no way that the hold actually had any impact on the play. Fans will take any big play they can get on defense after last year, but what really stood out was an adjustment he made on the fly.
The Atlanta Falcons sent Feleipe Franks out at quarterback after they had seen enough of A.J. McCarron and this put some stress on the defense. That pressure was mainly because he would roll out of the pocket and tuck it and run instead of looking to pass.
After a big run, Rice visibly changed the way he was going to play against the naked bootleg that the Falcons were running and instead of the safe play covering the flat, he started to attack the quarterback to prevent Franks from piling up easy rushing yards.
His plan worked and it snuffed out the only spark of offense that the Falcons had all night.