Titans’ front 7 criminally underrated in analyst’s rankings

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The Tennessee Titans had one of the best front sevens in the NFL in 2021, and it played a key role in not only the team’s defensive revival, but Tennessee’s 12-5 season overall.

While the offense was a mess, the defense carried the load. Tennessee’s front seven was responsible for a lot of that thanks to elite play in both the pass-rush and against the run.

Tennessee tallied 43 sacks in 2021, tied for the ninth-most in the league, and its run defense finished as the No. 2 unit. Looking ahead to 2022, that entire front seven is returning and stands to be among the league’s best again.

However, all of that must have gotten lost in the sauce with NFL analyst Warren Sharp, who ranked Tennessee’s front seven as the No. 20 group entering the 2022 campaign. Here’s why:

A front seven anchored by Jeffery Simmons and Harold Landry has potential, but the unit lacked consistent production. Tennessee ranked 25th in pressure rate, and 28th in pressure rate on non-blitzes.

We usually don’t get worked up about rankings, but this desperately needs mentioning. Tennessee’s front seven should be a top-10 group at worst.

Sure, those rankings in pressure rate and pressure rate on non-blitzes aren’t good, but surely Tennessee’s raw sack totals and elite run defense should garner a better position where Sharp placed them.

Jeffery Simmons, Denico Autry, Bud Dupree and Harold Landry were one of the best front fours in the NFL last season, full stop, and Simmons has emerged as one of the best players in the entire league at his position.

And there’s room for improvement with this group, as Dupree wasn’t even himself until late in the season during his first year back from a torn ACL.

But Tennessee’s front seven isn’t just about those four. The Titans sport a very good inside linebacker duo in David Long and Zach Cunningham, both of whom are excellent tacklers and run-stoppers, and Long has improved in coverage, also.

Nose tackles Teair Tart and Naquan Jones shouldn’t be overlooked, either, as both are ascending as they enter their third and second seasons, respectively.

The Titans being overlooked in any capacity is nothing new, but this one is just egregious. Good thing games aren’t decided based on rankings.

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