2012 Draft Profile: Outside Linebackers

The future looks bright for our linebacker corps and the addition of a stud outside linebacker to replace Will Witherspoon in a couple years would really solidify the defense for years to come. I do not think Gerald McRath is anything more than a backup unless you like losing, then sub him in Thorchak! It is evident to me that part of why our run defense has been so poor this year is because of the lack of quickness to make the tackle on the outside. Here's where the cavalry comes in.

As usual, four prospects will be looked at, but no honorable mentions for this one. My early Christmas present was last week. The draft class for this position appears to be slightly weaker than it has been in recent years, but there are still a few solid guys the Titans could take a look at. If we do not want to address the position early on in the draft, I'm sure the FO could add a guy through FA or depending on how Witherspoon does next year, resigning him for another year or two.

Zach Brown - North Carolina

6-2, 230 lbs

4.41 40 yd dash

Projected: 1st round pick

Highlight video: here

Pros: good in pass coverage, good awareness on the field, can quickly recognize the screen

Cons: misses some easy tackles, out of position on some plays

Notes: Zach Brown is a future 1st round pick, but if the draft class was a little bit better, he would be a 2nd round pick. He has good awareness on the field and can sniff out a screen, but he often gets lost in the commotion and misses easy tackles. Brown plays very upright and although his projected 40 yard dash time is 4.41 seconds, it does not appear that he is that quick on the field, at least from what I saw on the highlight video.

Lavonte David - Nebraska

6-1, 225 lbs

4.55 40 yd dash

Projected: 2nd round pick

Highlight video: here

Pros: good speed, can get in the backfield in a hurry, plays great pass coverage

Cons: has difficulty shedding blockers, undersized

Notes: David is a great pass coverage outside linebacker who has good speed but he lacks ideal size. He weighs about 225 lbs, adding 10 lbs from last year but he could still put on a little more muscle. When I was watching the Iowa/Nebraska game, I swear Lavonte David's name was being called on every play, so you know he is always around the ball. If he can put on some weight and remain just as fast, he would be a great selection for the Titans, especially in the 2nd round.

Ronnell Lewis - Oklahoma

6-2, 244 lbs

4.55 40 yd dash

Projected: 1st or 2nd round pick

Highlight video: here

Pros: hard hitter, plays on special teams too, good pass rusher, good speed

Cons: might fit better in a 3-4 defense

Notes: Lewis is an extremely hard hitter and it shows on the highlight reel for his spectacular special teams play. Now do not think that is all he is. He is excellent at stopping the run, a solid pass rusher, and has quick speed for his size. I feel he would fit better in a 3-4 defense where he can effectively get pressure on the quarterback, but some say he would excel at inside linebacker as well. In addition to playing OLB, he has also done well as a defensive end.

Chase Thomas - Stanford

6-4, 239 lbs

4.61 40 yd dash

Projected: 2nd round pick

Highlight video: here

Pros: good pass rush, good awareness on the field, high motor

Cons: would do better in Pro 3-4 defense, not the quickest

Notes: I was not too impressed with Chase Thomas' highlight film. He does get solid pressure on the quarterback, but he also lined up in the defense end position quite often. He seems to play a lot of zone coverage instead of man to man which results in making tackles after the ball carrier has already gained 8-10 yards.

There you have it. If the Titans were to select an outside linebacker fairly early in the draft, I would prefer either Ronnell Lewis or Lavonte David. Thanks for reading guys!

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