5 Tennessee Titans Who Need to Be Replaced
The Titans have lost some notable players already in free agency, and brought in a couple of new ones. Additions such as guard Steve Hutchinson to replace Jake Scott, and Kamerion Wimbley to fill in as a pass rusher are a good start.
The Titans will need to continue making moves if they want to compete in 2012. The loss of Cortland Finnegan needs to be mended. Additionally, there are still players on the Titans' roster that they should consider replacing with backups.
Here are the five players Tennessee must find adequate replacements for to improve on a 9-7 season which kept them out of the playoffs.
Starting Tight End Craig Stevens
Craig Stevens was the starter at tight end for the Titans this season, mainly for his blocking ability. I don't think that his blocking is enough to keep him on the field more than his backup Jared Cook.
Cook should replace Stevens as the starting tight end because it would make the Titans offense much more explosive. They can still use Stevens in running situations, but Cook should be on the field for most of their offensive plays.
Last season as a backup, Cook caught 49 balls for 759 yards and three touchdowns. More plays should equal more production out of Cook, who could be a huge threat to a defense that will already have to worry about Kenny Britt and Chris Johnson.
Finnegan has been a feisty figure in the NFL since being drafted by Tennessee in 2006. His departure to St. Louis to reunite with former head coach Jeff Fisher has left a big hole in the Titans' secondary.
Finnegan played at a Pro Bowl level for years, so the Titans will be looking to get another player on that same level. It's rumored that the Titans are working on a deal to trade for Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel.
Samuel might even be an improvement for the Titans, who now desperately need a No.1 corner on their team.
Derrick Morgan/Jason Jones
The defensive end combo of Jason Jones and Derrick Morgan did an awful job at getting to the quarterback as they combined for 10.5 sacks over the past two seasons. Thankfully the duo is no longer as Jones left Tennessee to sign with the Seattle Seahawks.
The Titans signed Kamerion Wimbley to replace Jones, and Wimbley should turn into a great pickup for Tennessee. I'm still not sold on Derrick Morgan and think he's who the Titans really need to replace.
This year's NFL draft has plenty of talent along the defensive line, and the Titans should use their first-round pick at No. 20 to get one of these guys.
Expect Illinois' Whitney Mercilus to be taken, but don't forget about Alabama's Courtney Upshaw when it comes time for the Titans to make their pick.
Ruud accumulated 57 tackles in nine games during his sole season with Tennessee. If he hadn't been injured, the Titans would probably be more interested in bringing him back.
The Titans can do what they did when they picked up Ruud and find their new starting middle linebacker in the free-agent market. The Vikings' E.J. Henderson is available and could play alongside Will Witherspoon as the starter next season.
Hope has been the Titans' starting safety for the past six seasons and has totaled 455 tackles and 16 interceptions, but he is a free agent and the Titans will look to replace the 31-year old.
Alabama's safety Mark Barron would be an excellent replacement if the Titans can get him in the first round. Getting him would mean adding a young starter to your team who can be there for the next decade.
If the Titans look to the free-agent market to replace Hope, they should consider bringing in Jim Leonhard. The former Jet could become a valuable commodity.