If the Atlanta Hawks are attempting to become the bootleg Warriors than no one had a hold my beer moment more than the Tennessee Titans. If the Titans were playing Simon Says with the Patriots, they would definitely win. In one offseason, Tennessee added head coach Mike Vrabel, Malcolm Butler, and Dion Lewis. Hell, they even traded in front of the Patriots virtually every round of the draft just to make sure they copied them to the best of their ability. Replicating the Patriots on the field, however, may be too difficult of a task. Especially when your quarterback is Marcus Mariota… What should we be watching for when camp opens up for the Tennessee Titans?
3 Position Battles To Watch:
1. Running Back: Derrick Henry, Dion Lewis
Is Derrick Henry finally ready to prove that he’s the guy? Well, he better because DeMarco Murray finally decided to hang up the cleats. Henry largely has looked like a bust over his first two seasons. However, Henry broke the door of the hinges in the playoffs. He rushed for 5.3 yards per carry on 35 attempts. If Henry really gets going, he brings a new dimension to the offense with a true bruising back. If Henry can’t get it done, Dion Lewis has proven he’s capable but is ideally suited for a third down change of pace back.
2. Middle Linebacker: Wesley Woodyard, Rashaan Evans, Jayon Brown
I get that this isn’t much of a battle but I think it’s interesting. Wesley Woodyard and Rashaan Evans should get the starting nod but don’t look past Jayon Brown. Brown really excels in coverage and will prove to be an interesting chess piece in nickel formations.
3. Pass Rusher: Derrick Morgan, Brian Orakpo, Harold Landry
Here’s an example of vets vs. young guys. Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo are nearing the end of the road. Kevin Dodd really didn’t produce as a rookie and was cut yesterday for not showing up to camp. Harold Landry comes to town as a second-round pick from Boston College. Talk about a boom or bust prospect. 2016 -16 sacks. 2017 – 5 sacks.
Ready To Breakout: Kevin Byard
Kevin Byard hasn’t gotten the recognition that he deserves. The Titans found this guy in their backyard at Middle Tennessee State and have really been worth their extensive scouting. Byard burst onto the scene and has proven to be quite the ballhawk. Byard reeled in 8 interceptions in 2017 and really plays the ball at an excellent level. Was this just a one-year wonder or can Byard continue to improve and become one of the best safeties in the NFL?
Rookie To Watch: Rashaan Evans
I think ideally the Titans are hoping that Rashaan Evans becomes their version of Dont’a Hightower. Evans can serve as the middle linebacker on first and second down and then come rush the passer on third down. By the way, Evans can do that at a high level. Anything short of a 100 tackle season will probably be a disappointment.
Fantasy Sleeper: Corey Davis
You had a better chance at seeing a zombie rising from the ground then you did watch Corey Davis catch a touchdown last year. He did get a meaningless one in the playoffs but by all accounts, Davis has been a flop after being selected in the top 10 a year ago. Shaky hands and injuries really hampered his play in 2017. With his stock at an all-time low, maybe Davis rebounds in year two and proves worthy of the hype.