2010 NFL Preview: Projected Depth Chart of the Tennessee Titans Defense
The Titans defense is going through a "rebuilding" year in the 2010 season. With players such as KVB, The Freak, Keith Bulluck, and others leaving this off-season, the team has some huge holes to fill. The draft helped out by getting Derrick Morgan, Rennie Curran, and Myron Rolle to name a few. Here's what I think the Titans defensive depth chart will look like in 2010.
DE: Derrick Morgan and William Hayes
With both KVB and The Freak gone, the Titans drafted Derrick Morgan in the first round of this year's draft. This guy has "star" written all over him, and hopefully he can carry the load on the defensive line. Expect him to be the starter on the left side of the line from day one and for many more years to come.
William Hayes proved why he should be a starter last year, when he put up 51 tackles and four sacks. Morgan, Hayes, and the rotation of David Ball, Jacob Ford, and Jason Babin give the Titans a good foundation at end to build their defensive line.
Backups: David Ball, Jacob Ford, Jason Babin
DT: Jovan Haye and Tony Brown
Jovan Haye, in my opinion, is a stop-gap until Jeff Fisher and the coaching staff are convinced that Jason Jones can be the starter. Jones, last year, was hampered by injuries but still posted four sacks in just seven games. This could be the year that Jones steps up to take that spot. But until he does, Haye will be the starter.
Tony Brown had a decent season in 2009, posting a career-high five sacks with 38 tackles. Brown is a solid complimentary player, but I expect Sen'Derrick Marks to play much better after injuries kept him off the field as well.
Haye and Brown in the middle for right now, but don't be surprised if sometime during the season one or both of them lose their jobs to younger players.
Backups: Jason Jones, Sen'Derrick Marks (for now)
Linebackers: Will Witherspoon, Stephen Tulloch, David Thornton
Will Witherspoon will get the first crack at replacing All-Pro Keith Bulluck in the Titans linebacking corps. Witherspoon is a proven, but underrated, play-maker and will be a leader on the Titans defense.
Stephen Tulloch had a fantastic year with 121 tackles in the middle, and should improve again this year.
Why David Thornton is still on this team I have no clue. Gerald McRath or Stanford Keglar would both be better options than the washed up Thornton, who is a shell of his former self. He has no leadership skills, and might lose his job this year if he doesn't watch out.
The linebackers may look a little different this year, but the production shouldn't drop off too much. Also, look for third-round pick Rennie Curran to show up sometime during the season. He may be small, but he is a tackling machine and could become a starter in the next couple of years.
Backups: Gerald McRath, Stanford Keglar, Rennie Curran, Colin Allred
Cornerback: Cortland Finnegan and Jason McCourty
Cortland Finnegan is probably the best player on the Titans squad. What he lacks in athletic ability and size, he makes up for with brains, toughness, and trash-talking. He's become one of the best corners in the league in the short time he's been in the league, and will be the Titans number one corner for a few more years at least.
Jason McCourty is going to get his chance to start this after Nick Harper was not brought back. I feel him and Ryan Mouton are interchangeable and either one could be the starter, but McCourty will probably win out. Mouton will be the nickel back, with Rod Hood playing in dime situations.
Backups: Ryan Mouton, Rod Hood
Free Safety: Michael Griffin
Michael Griffin is one of the best young safeties in the league, and should continue his great play in 2010.
Backing him up is a guy the Titans drafted out of Utah, Robert Johnson. He will be a special teamer while he develops and learns from the Pro-Bowler.
Donnie Nickey is a special teams ace, and will once again be out there trying to knock someone's head off. Hey...I wonder if Johnson can play guitar?
Backups: Robert Johnson, Donnie Nickey
Strong Safety: Chris Hope
Chris Hope, along with Michael Griffin, make up one of the best safety tandems in the league. Yeah, maybe he's lost a bit as the years and hits have taken their toll, but he's still a beast and the leader of this defense.
He still commands respect from any receiver coming across the middle. He also has the distinct honor of mentoring a Rhodes Scholar and his eventual replacement, Myron Rolle.
Rolle won't be ready to start for a couple of years, so he doesn't have to worry much about losing his job anytime soon. That means we get to enjoy watching this guy play a little while longer.
Vincent Fuller may see himself out of a job, but I think he has one more year to show what he can do.
Backups: Myron Rolle, Vincent Fuller
This was my opinion of what the Titans D will look like this year. Let me know what you think in the comments section below. Is there a guy you think should be starting over another? Let me know. I'll be doing the offense and special teams next. Hope to see you all at LP Field or in downtown Nashville for the games. WE ARE NASHVILLE!