2011 NFL Draft Recap: Tennessee Titans Get Fantastic Value with Akeem Ayers

Eli NachmanyCorrespondent IIIMay 5, 2011

After picking a passer in the first round, the Titans selected someone to get after the other team’s passer in the second round.

The Titans got fantastic value in the second round, drafting a game-changing pass-rusher in Akeem Ayers.

The outside linebacker is a former UCLA Bruin, and he posted good numbers at the collegiate level.

Ayers finished with 68 tackles, 4 sacks, and 2 interceptions.

Surprisingly, Ayers’ draft stock slipped out of the first round, and he was an obvious choice for the Titans early in the second round.

Ayers has more experience than Robert Quinn and a cleaner bill of health than Cameron Heyward and Adrian Clayborn.

The Titans made a fantastic pick by nabbing pass-rusher Akeem Ayers in the second round and as such, will have a better pass-rush in 2011.

Tennessee had a good, not great, defensive line in 2010.

Led by Jason Jones and Jason Babin, the line got into the backfield with relative frequency and put pressure on the quarterback.

Now that the two linemen have had their breakout seasons, offensive coordinators know to scheme their blocking assignments around the Titan defensive line.

The Titans were smart to add Ayers and as such, are now more prepared to have a much stouter pass-rush than the team did in 2010.

Moreover, the Titans were able to nab Ayers before pass-rushers like Da’Quan Bowers and Brooks Reed went off the board.

The Titans set the very precedent for when the 2011 rookie pass-rusher should be drafted.

Titan brass was able to acquire, in the first two rounds, two players whom the team can rely on for a number of years.

Ayers can immediately find himself in the playing time rotation, and in the front of the Titans run, Ayers’ versatility will pay dividends.

Despite his good technique, Ayers is still a bit raw and clearly needs to be coached up a bit so that he can be a truly serviceable outside linebacker.

Ayers comes from a good football school and should have success here and there in his first year.

Ayers will have no immediate pressure to succeed in Tennessee.

Being around talented linebackers like Will Witherspoon and David Thornton (depending on the CBA situation) will do wonders for the former Bruin’s confidence and will help him become a truly effective linebacker in the Tennessee system.

Furthermore, the Titans need a pass-rusher to build around in the linebacking corps.

Ayers certainly isn’t there yet, but he is in the perfect situation to mature into a pick the Titans can be proud of.

Titan fans should be excited for Ayers to set foot on LP Field and begin his career with Tennessee.

After all, someone needs to get after the passer on defense. That someone is Ayers.