A Postdraft Ranking of Tennessee Titans' Top Offseason Moves in 2014
There have been plenty of big offseason moves to go around for the Tennessee Titans since the conclusion of a disappointing 2013 season.
The additions and subtractions the Titans have made will make for a very different team than we've seen over the last several years.
The Titans are not that far from making a leap to playoff-contender status, so it will be interesting to see if these moves will be enough to end a postseason drought that extends back to 2008.
These are the offseason moves that will have the biggest impact heading into a season that presently has a lot of unknowns.
6. Losing Alterraun Verner in Free Agency
Alterraun Verner couldn't have played his cards any better than he did last season by posting career-best numbers. It remains to be seen if Verner's 2013 season was a sign of things to come in his career or more of an aberration.
This loss will force the Titans to go with some minor inexperience to start alongside Jason McCourty. It will make for a fun battle in training camp between the likes of Coty Sensabaugh, Blidi Wreh-Wilson and a few others.
The Titans also drafted Marqueston Huff in the fourth round to add more depth to the position.
There was a solid backup plan in place in the event that Verner was lost, but the Titans are still entering a season with a big question mark in the secondary. We'll find out if the Titans have drafted well at this position in recent years.
5. Signing Shaun Phillips
Adding Shaun Phillips was arguably the biggest free agent signing of the offseason. He gives the Titans veteran leadership and some needed experience in the 3-4 defense.
Phillips joins a very crowded position on the depth chart, and Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com has linebacker as one of the more competitive positions on the team.
The Titans had to go out and get a guy who could help mentor inexperienced 3-4 players like Derrick Morgan and Akeem Ayers. Phillips will be just as valuable as a leader of this group as he will be with actual production.
Anytime you can add a veteran who has nearly 80 career sacks to a defense that wants to be aggressive in rushing the passer, then you did something right.
Realistically, Phillips is probably on the back end of his career, but he is coming off a 10-sack season with the Denver Broncos in 2013. If the Titans get that out of him, then this will be a home run addition for this defense.
4. Drafting Zach Mettenberger
It was virtually a foregone conclusion that the Titans would draft a quarterback, but they made sure all Tennessee fans would have to wait patiently until the third and final day of the draft to get their guy.
The Titans may have gotten an absolute steal by getting Zach Mettenberger in the sixth round of the draft. This pick carries very little risk but a high reward if he pans out as an option to Jake Locker.
Mettenberger is currently working at Titans' rookie minicamp to get back to 100 percent from a knee injury suffered in his last season with LSU, per Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.
You can't help but wonder how the arrival Mettenberger will affect Locker's confidence heading into what is a make-or-break season. His starting job is secure for now, but who knows how long his leash will be in the regular season.
Had Titans not drafted a quarterback, it would be completely Locker's show in 2014. Things are drastically different now that Mettenberger is in the mix.
3. Drafting Bishop Sankey
Rookie Bishop Sankey has instantly become the leading candidate from a running back committee that includes Shonn Greene, Dexter McCluster and Jackie Battle.
It's safe to say that the Titans running game will be nothing like what we've come to know it as over the last several years.
Sankey is a complete back who has the ability to handle a heavy workload and be a three-down back. It was exactly what the Titans needed to complement the other running backs on their roster.
The Titans would've been heading into a lot of uncertainty if Greene and McCluster were going to be the primary running backs. This pick was a smart one that will make an impact right away when the Titans open up on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs.
2. Releasing Chris Johnson
We all knew the end was near for Chris Johnson in a Titans uniform with the way 2013 ended. Johnson put up average numbers that didn't warrant the kind of money to which he felt entitle. That was really the bottom line.
This loss is a major one as Johnson was the focal point of the Tennessee offense since he burst onto the scene his rookie season. His production gradually decreased after his 2,000-yard season, and it seemed like the NFL has him largely figured out.
That's not to say that Johnson isn't capable of breaking loose at any moment, because we all know that's simply not true. However, the Titans couldn't afford to have Johnson muddy up the waters in an offense that will be much different with Ken Whisenhunt as head coach.
It will be very odd to not see Johnson in the backfield in Week 1 and especially odd to see him lining up on the other side when the Titans take on the New York Jets in Week 15.
1. Hiring Ken Whisenhunt
This is a no-brainer. Easily the biggest offseason move for the Titans was hiring head coach Ken Whisenhunt to replace Mike Munchak.
A head coach can make so many sweeping changes, and we've already seen some of that with Whisenhunt this offseason.
As much of a class act as Munchak is, he was not the answer for this organization. He brought very little change after Jeff Fisher.
A lot of excitement has surrounded the arrival of Whisenhunt, despite a career losing record as a head coach of 45-51. He's going to bring a sense of freshness to an organization that has become stale and irrelevant.
Whisenhunt did take the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl in 2008, but Titans fans would probably settle for an end to a playoff drought that's going on six years.
It will be very intriguing to see how different this team looks when it takes the field for the first time under Whisenhunt and his new coaching staff.