Tennessee has a roster full of nice young talent and players that were on the cusp of being Pro Bowl worthy last season. With a little more seasoning and must win conditions these five players could have great seasons.
1. Michael Roos, LT
Let's just come out and admit this, Roos is the best player on either side of the ball for the Titans. The 6'7" 320 lb. Estonia native has been a stalwart on the left side of the Titans line and he has shut down some of the best pass rushers in the game. According to ProFootballFocus.com Roos has allowed just 16 QB hurries in 2013, which was 6th best among offensive tackles that played more than 75% of the snaps and as a run blocker he was ranked the 13th best left tackle.
Combining Jake Locker's elusiveness and the increased workload that Tennessee's running backs should see, Roos could have less hurries and more productive run blocking numbers in 2013.
2. Derrick Morgan, DE
The start of Morgan's career was underwhelming to say the least, and it didn't help that he was sandwiched in between four pro-bowlers (Earl Thomas, JPP, Mike Iupati, and Maurkice Pouncey). Lately however, Morgan has regained his shine by using a wonderful blend of hand placement and leverage to keep offensive tackles on their heels. Morgan had his best season by far tallying 42 quarterback hurries and 37 run stops.
Giving the Titans pass rush more time to rest and better coverage behind them is key, but if all goes well Morgan may turn some of his 21 QB hits into a few more sacks.
3. Akeem Ayers, LB
Spoiler alert: Akeem Ayers isn't the last Titans linebacker you will see on this list. The Titans finally made good on their continuous promise to use Ayers more as a pass rusher, and it was a tremendous success. The six sacks Ayers produced at very limited reps as a nickel defensive end should be a preview of what is to come in the 2013 season, and adding an aggressive defensive mind like Gregg Williams could yield big results here.
If (and this is a big if) MLB Colin McCarthy can stay healthy and Ayers doesn't have to play any MLB this season the Titans should feel comfortable blitzing Ayers more and utilizing his combination of size and athleticism.
4. Zach Brown, LB
Labeled as a "soft linebacker" on draft day, Brown showed that he was about as soft as a pillow case filled with bricks. Brown was an enforcer on the second level of the defense last year and with a more stable defense around him he may really step into his own in year two.
Brown is one of the few LBs in the league that has the pure athletic ability to cover any tight end in the league and he also has the downhill mentality to make him an every linebacker if he can keep his head on straight. If the second Jaguars game was any indication of what Brown could become, then Titans fans can rejoice in another second round steal at OLB.
5. Chris Johnson, RB
The Titans have made their offensive intentions clear through their offensive additions during this offseason. Signing the best guard in free agency, a power back, a versatile blocking tight end, and several solid, back-up quality offensive linemen all point to one conclusion: the Titans will run the ball in 2013. Chris Johnson will have every opportunity to show that he has earned his big contract behind a retooled offensive line that will likely include a top RG prospect whether that is Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper.
Confidence is key for a RB and if CJ can regain his behind a stacked offensive line then this team will have an offensive identity for the first time in the Mike Munchak era. If not, it may be the end of the Munchak era.
Bonus: Chance Warmack/Jonathan Cooper
These two guys are great prospect that are coming into the league with a lot of hype. If either of these guys can earn the RG spot on a Titans offensive line that has everything else figured out, they may be walking into a dream situation.