COMMENTARY| The Tennessee Titans have four clear needs this offseason: pass rusher, running back, offensive tackle, and inside linebacker. It would be great if the Titans could fill all their needs in free agency so that they could focus on drafting the best player available in the 2014 NFL Draft. However, if they are going to do that on a limited budget then they will have to make wise moves.
This is the biggest question mark of the offseason for the Titans. The DE pool is deep, with the flashy name being Greg Hardy. "Kraken" finished the season with seven sacks in his last two games, and seems to be putting it all together. However, his price tag will be much to large for the Titans and I'm not sure he is a fit for what this defense will try to do.
While the DE/OLB market could get bigger if these two get cut, the obvious best fit for the Titans is Brian Orakpo. The former Texas standout was outstanding as both a 4-3 DE and a stand-up rush linebacker in the 3-4 scheme. If the Titans make the cuts mentioned in that previous link, then they will have enough money to make a big push and still have some left over for the other positions on this list.
If the Titans don't make those cuts though, a player like Jason Worilds could be perfect. Worilds has experience in the 3-4 Steelers defense that could be a model for how Ray Horton wants to build the Tennessee defense, and the only reason he will be pushed out is because they have so many resources dedicated to the other OLBs.
Sign this: Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers
Knowshon Moreno is a very good fit in Denver, but every running back looks better with Peyton Manning. Defense are often forced into playing on their heels against Manning's up-tempo offense and they show nickel and dime looks making it easier for running backs to get yards after contact.
Speaking of YAC, Jonathan Dwyer would be great in Tennessee. More than half of Dwyers yards came after contact, and he has a steady 4.0 yards per attempt number. He is the type of back that can come in and give the Titans that "three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust" style of runner which is what Whisenhunt will want to do.
Sign this: Gabe Carimi, Tampa Bay Bucaneers
Oakland Raiders offensive tackle Jared Veldheer is getting a lot of publicity as this year's top OT candidate which crazy to me. Not only is he coming off of an injury, but even when he is healthy I am not sure that he is a top-10 tackle. With Veldheer rumored to be looking for an even bigger contract that the one the Titans are paying David Stewart (over $6 million in 2014) I doubt they make the commitment to go after another middling right tackle.
Here is the article I previously published on Gabe Carimi and his fit with the Titans.
That article describes why Carimi would be such a great, cheap fit with Tennessee.
Don't sign this: Vincent Rey, Cincinnati Bengals
Sign this: Brandon Spikes, New England Patriots
Rey isn't a name that is highly publicized, but during the three games that he started this year for the Bengals he posted 32 tackles, four passes deflected, three sacks and one INT. As a backup/role player, he also tallied another INT and a sack. While Rey has all the potential to be a starter, I think the scheme change and the bidding war it would take to get him would just make him to much of a risk for the Titans.
On the other hand I think Spikes is exactly what the doctor ordered for Tennessee, which I wrote more on here. Spikes is mean, physical, intimidating, and he will have a chip on his shoulder as I expect he won't get quite the attention he feels like he deserves on the free agent market.
More from this contributor:
Will Lomas is a lead blogger for draftseason.com and a staff writer for SBNation's Tennessee Titans website Music City Miracles. Will is also the sports editor for the Tennessee Journalist, the University of Tennessee's online news source.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Tennessee Titans
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Brian Orakpo
- Jason Worilds