Tennessee Titans needs: Linebackers

One of the Tennessee Titans underrated is a rangy linebacker in this pass heavy NFL.

While there are a lot of flashy positions that may be drafted ahead of linebacker, when it comes down to it a lot of pressure is put on linebackers in the NFL.

Think about last night’s Super Bowl where the New England Patriots set a record for receptions by a single player. Was that player their slot receiver? Their WR1? A mismatch with their WR2? No, it was their running back James White who has the new record for receptions in a Super Bowl.

A lot of that all comes down to what a linebacker can or can’t do in coverage. Clearly the New England Patriots really wanted to get their running backs and tight ends involved and it was only thanks to a great effort by the Atlanta Falcons linebackers that there was no huge bust in coverage.

Now, the outcome of that game may not have gone the way of the Falcons, but their defense was ready to neutralize that gameplan and it stalled out the New England Patriots for roughly 3 quarters.

Linebacker is very important in the NFL and it is an area where the Tennessee Titans really lacked a playmaker last year. Let’s look at what exactly they have there now.

Current Linebackers

Wesley Woodyard- Potential starting linebacker

Woodyard actually had a really good year last year including an impressive series of games down the stretch. He is going to be a starter on this team next year and he has earned the right to be the incumbent.

Avery Williamson-1st and 2nd down linebacker

In 2015 Williamson showed that he can be a 3-down linebacker, but whether it was an injury or just a lack of experience in the scheme he had a lot of hiccups this year. Based on last year’s film I have no issue with his as a rotational linebacker for the Tennessee Titans but they may want to find someone for clear pass downs.

And that is it. There are no more inside linebackers under contract for the Tennessee Titans next year. That is a big issue and it makes me think that even if they re-sign one of the guys leaving this year, they will be special teams players more than anything.

Potential Free Agents:

Dont’a Hightower

Hightower is a team leader and someone that I am sure Jon Robinson really loves as a player and a locker room guy. If for some reason he isn’t retained by the New England Patriots I would expect him to be a Tennessee Titan.

Gerald Hodges

Not an exceptionally deep class, but Hodges is coming off of a very good year doing well as both a pass rusher and someone who can make plays forcing a fumble and picking off two passes.

Potential Draft Targets:

This is a good class for linebackers, especially if you are drafting high and aren’t afraid to pull the trigger on a stud like Reuben Foster.

Guys like Jarrad Davis from Florida, Zach Cunningham from Vanderbilt, Hasson Reddick from Temple, and (someone I believe could make the conversion to sub-package) Jabrill Peppers could all be in the conversation if the Tennessee Titans want to trade down to late in the first round or maybe if they want to grab a 2nd round pick.

Later round guys like Duke Riley and Kendall Beckwith from LSU, Jaylen Reeves-Maybin from Tennessee, and Hardy Nickerson from Illinois are all potential targets on Days 2/3.

This article originally appeared on