Nobody seems to be talking much about the Tennessee Titan’s offseason. The analysts that do reflect on the Titan’s offseason eloquently discuss the departure of CB Alterraun Verner and the eventual departure of RB Chris Johnson. 2014 Pro Bowl CB Alterraun Verner had an excellent season in 2013. He cashed in on that excellent season by signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 4 years $26 million. With New Head Coach Lovie Smith and his implementation of the Tampa-2 Defense back in Tampa, Darelle Revis became expendable as he is a man corner more so than a zone corner. This meant the Bucs had a need at CB; enter Verner who will be a natural fit in their Tampa-2 defense. When it comes to RB Chris Johnson, the trade market for him was very dull initially because he was refusing to take a pay cut in any fashion. However, he has sense seen the light and is open to reducing his salary in order to make a trade happen. Right now the Titans are asking for a 3rd round pick in exchange for Chris Johnson’s services. The suitors for Johnson are speculated to be the Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, and the Atlanta Falcons. It’s only a matter of time before the Titans agree to the highest bidder and trade Chris Johnson.
Conversely, with every departure comes in a new face, or in this case new faces. The Titans two big moves were signing former Denver Broncos LB Wesley Woodyard and former Baltimore Ravens RT Michael Oher. Woodyard signed with the Titans for 4 years $16 million whereas Oher signed with the Titans for $20 million over 4 years. Wesley Woodyard is a Swiss army knife kind of linebacker. He will not do anything the absolute best, but he can do a lot pretty good. He has played in both the 4-3 and 3-4 defensive schemes producing in both, evidence of his knowledge and dedication to his craft. He can tackle, blitz, and play in coverage which is a rarity for any LB to be able to do all three of these things. Woodyard helps establish a veteran presence and brings leadership to a defense that will be in transition. While he is a good signing, expect the Titans to go after a heavy, thumper type MLB to compete with Zavier Gooden, and Zack Brown for the other MLB spot so it allows Woodyard to play in space and operate.
Michael Oher was the 23rd pick in the 2008 Draft class and was a staple of the raven’s offensive line every sense. He is able to play both Left and Right Tackle with Right Tackle being his best position. Oher is known for the movie, “Blind Side” which was based on his real life childhood. The movie shows his struggles as a child from being homeless and bouncing between foster homes, to finally being adopted by loving parents (the Tuohys). It was after being adopted by the Tuohy’s that he focused his talents on football and became a gridiron star. The Signing of Michael Oher not only offsets the loss of long term RT David Stewart, but helps them keep the offensive line young and built for the long haul.
When Chris Johnson finally does get traded to a different team, the team will be in need of a RB; that RB need can be filled from a lot of different players. If they wanted to address the need via free agency before the draft, they could target former Denver Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno. Last year, with Peyton Manning he put up career numbers with over 1,000 yards rushing, 10 rushing TDs, 548 receiving yards and 3 Receiving TDs. He does come with an injury history but if he is paired with Shonne Greene in the backfield, it has low risk high reward potential. The more likely solution will be finding the RB of the future in this year’s draft class. These candidates include West Virginia’s (WVU) Charles Sims, Boston College’s (BC) Andre Williams, and Louisiana State University’s (LSU) Jeremy Hill. If the Titans do get that 3rd round pick for Chris Johnson, 2 if not all 3 of these RBs should be available for them to snag. Charles Sims is a versatile RB that excels at catching the ball and running in open space. Andre Williams is a Heisman finalist that racked up over 2,000 yards rushing at BC with his physical brand of football that is reminiscent of former Baltimore raven Jamal Lewis. Jeremy Hill could be one of the best RBs in this draft but off the field concerns will lower his draft stock. He is a nice blend of power and deceptive open field speed that will move the chains constantly.
When it comes to filling the void left by Alterraun Verner, the Titans may have already been preparing for this last year when they drafted CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson out of UConn in the 3rd round. Wreh-Wilson has some skills mixed with solid athleticism. Due to the phenomenal season that Verner had, he did not see the field as much as expected but with another offseason to prepare for the upcoming season, Blidi should be in ready to fill the spot left by Verner. However if a CB prospect falls from the 1st round into the 2nd round, such as Virginia Tech’s (VT) Kyle Fuller, Texas Christian University’s (TCU) Jason Verrett, or Ohio State’s (OSU) Bradley Roby, the Titans should grab one of them immediately.