It's hard to make get an accurate read on the Tennessee Titans ahead of the 2023 season. Their projected win total currently sits at 7.5 but nobody would bat an eye if they manage to win six games or fewer. Simply, general manager Ran Carthon was dealt a bad hand and had limited resources to replenish the roster in the offseason.
Conversely, Tennessee could exceed expectations. Their roster isn't fully devoid of talent and still has lots of talent at key spots. In particular, these five position groups figure to be strengths in 2023.
No. 5 strength on the Titans roster in 2023: Linebacker corps
The Titans linebacker corps doesn't have any players that fit the big star category but they routinely got the job done in 2022 and that's what counts, right? Would you rather have name recognition or get gassed by opposing teams?
Letting David Long and Dylan Cole in free agency stings but Monty Rice is ready to step into a bigger role. Similarly, Azeez Al-Shaair, who inked a two-year deal worth $6 million in free agency, should have an immediate impact.
Head coach Mike Vrabel recognizes that Monty Rice, a third-round pick in the 2021 draft, needs to be consistent but also acknowledged that factors beyond his control held him back last year. The former Georgia Bulldog appeared in 13 games with six starts last year and barring injury, he should have no trouble filling the void left by Long.
On the other hand, Al-Shaair flashed potential during his four-year stint with the San Francisco 49ers. An undrafted free agent in 2019, the former Florida Atlantic Owl played 56 games with 31 starts for the Niner and showed potential in 2022, when he tallied 102 total tackles, two sacks, five passes defended, and one interception.
Add the return of edge rusher Harold Landry III, who missed the 2022 season with a torn ACL, and the Titans' linebacker group is in better shape than they were one year ago. And the best part is that the team's brass didn't have to make a huge investment to upgrade the unit.