ESPN names pass rusher as Tennessee Titans most underrated player

Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

Football Outsiders wrote an article for ESPN where they broke down the most underrated player for each team, and Denico Autry won that honor for the Tennessee Titans.

It is the early part of July, which means that you are going to see some sites pandering a lot to teams with bigger fan bases because they have to pay the bills. Don’t get too wrapped up in where some site ranks the Tennessee Titans defense because the person writing it probably saw a handful of Titans games last year (at best).

However, if you are in an arguing move you could argue that the entire Titans defense is underrated at this point.

If you include the playoffs (which you absolutely should because why wouldn’t you count the most important games of the year against the best competition), then the Titans have 3 players with 10+ sacks returning next year.

Denico Autry is one of those players.

The Tennessee Titans unicorn on defense

There are a lot of great players on the Titans’ defense like Jeffery Simmons, Harold Landry, Kevin Byard, and Kristian Fulton just to name a few. However, the most unique player is probably Denico Autry who manages to blur the line between defensive tackle and EDGE better than most people in the NFL.

His quickness and flexibility make him a mismatch for the interior linemen that he often faces while his instant power and size make life hard for the tackles he beats as well.

He has some similarities to Bud Dupree in that even when he isn’t loading up the box score, he makes a big impact on the field. The way that this defensive front stunts and works in unison to layer pressure is like watching offensive linemen get pummeled by wave after wave of pressure.

While I think that there is a good argument to be made for Amani Hooker, Kristian Fulton, David Long, Ben Jones, Austin Hooper, and even Ryan Tannehill, it is hard to say that anyone has made Autry’s level of impact without getting the credit for it.

I’m not saying that Jeffery Simmons and Harold Landry wouldn’t be very good without Autry, but they all work together so well that each one makes the next player look better.

The Tennessee Titans are going to bring back 10 of the same 11 starters from the playoff game last season where the defense looked like the best unit in the NFL. The other position is going to feature an open battle between a first-round pick/physical freak in Caleb Farley and a second-round pick who fits exactly what this coaching staff loves in Roger McCreary.

It is safe to assume that the defense is going to be outstanding this season. If you are one of the people that don’t spend time watching the defensive line, don’t make the same mistake you did last year and overlook just how dominant Autry is.