As the season ticks closer and closer, the Tennessee Titans continue to see players ranked among the best at their positions.
Recently, ESPN named their top-10 safeties and it should be no surprise that Kevin Byard was near the top of the list.
The safety position is hard to isolate because when a safety thrives it usually has something to do with how well the defensive front is holding up and how well the cornerbacks are covering. The reason why Byard continues to be ranked among the best safeties in the NFL is that he is consistently one of the most opportunistic players in the NFL when those boxes are checked.
2020 was a down season for everyone on the Tennessee Titans defense, but even when you include that down year he has averaged 5 INTs, 11 PBUs, and 92 tackles as a starter.
In case you glossed over that, an average season for Kevin Byard is a career season for most safeties around the league. People need to do a better job remembering that when they talk about the best in the league.
In Amani Hooker’s first season as a starter he made enough of an impression to be listed as an “honorable mention” and it is fair to assume that he is going to continue to get better and better.
Tennessee Titans are set to be elite on defense
It is mildly frustrating to watch analysts talk about the different stars on the Titans’ defense, and then watch them fail to give the unit credit as a whole. For example, over the last week, Jeffery Simmons and Kevin Byard have been recognized as elite players in these ESPN rankings.
Two “other” guys on that defensive front include Denico Autry who is the most underrated pass rusher in the NFL and Harold Landry who isn’t far behind him. Those two combined for 24 sacks last season in the regular season and postseason.
That is an outstanding group top to bottom, and it doesn’t even include David Long, Bud Dupree, Elijah Molden, and high-upside guys like Rashad Weaver and Caleb Farley who could make an impact if they are healthy this year.
Like always, pay attention to the people who pay attention to the Tennessee Titans, and don’t get too caught up in the rest of the national media landscape. They will all recognize how dominant this defense can be and while they catch up to the rest of us, enjoy the glowing reviews that scouts and coaches give these individual Titans players.