Titans activate 2019 first-round pick Jeffery Simmons

Blake SchusterYahoo Sports Contributor
FAYETTEVILLE, AR - NOVEMBER 18: Jeffery Simmons #94 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs walks off the field during a game againstf the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on November 18, 2017 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Bulldogs defeated the Razorbacks 28-21. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, AR - NOVEMBER 18: Jeffery Simmons #94 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs walks off the field during a game againstf the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on November 18, 2017 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Bulldogs defeated the Razorbacks 28-21. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

The Titans offense isn’t the team’s only unit that will have a different look in Week 7. Their defense just picked up a huge boost.

Tennessee (2-4) is activating 2019 first-round pick Jeffery Simmons from the Non-Football Injury list and preparing the defensive end to make his season debut against the Chargers on Sunday.

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Simmons was taken 19th overall despite having torn his ACL last January while preparing for the draft. Before the injury, he was projected as a top-ten pick. Instead, the Titans were able to grab him late in the first round and signed him to a four-year, $12.6 million deal with an option for a fifth year and a signing bonus north of $7 million. That’s despite the uncertainty surrounding Simmons’ ability to recover in time to contribute in 2019.

Now the Titans will take another gamble, trotting out a massive addition to their defense in the midst of a disastrous start in AFC South that’s currently Houston’s to lose.

After benching quarterback Marcus Mariota in Week 6’s shutout loss at Denver, head coach Mike Vrabel is shelving his franchise quarterback against the Chargers in favor of backup Ryan Tannehill.

Despite the offensive struggles, Tennessee’s defense ranks eighth in the NFL through six weeks, allowing just 15.3 points per game with 18 sacks on the year. In Simmons, the Titans add a lineman who recorded 163 tackles, seven sacks and five forced fumbles in 38 games at Mississippi State — though it remains to be seen how, and how much, the Titans will use him.

As Tennessee figures out how to turn around an offense ranked among the worst in the league, a flourishing defense will try to provide them the time and support it needs to find a solution.

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Blake Schuster is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at blakeschuster@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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