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Titans positional battle: Verner vs Campbell

A quantitative look at who should be the Titans starter a CB.


With Mike Munchak and co. prolonging an easy decision at CB, I decided to take a quantitative look at why the Titans should start...well you will see in a minute. I am going to list five categories and then I will briefly describe which player is better specifically in that category.

Coverage ability.

Both ATV and Tommie Campbell have struggled in man coverage this preseason, and lets face it few CBs actually look good in zone coverage defenses. Campbell possesses the tools to be successful, but always looks uncomfortable and soft.

Verner on the other hand is consistently in the right position, but his smaller frame and inability to look back at the ball make him a liability down the field. This one is really a toss up based on whether you are going for long-term potential or taking them on face value right now. Given that Campbell has had three years to develop and still seems timid, I have to give the nod to Alterraun Verner.

Score: 1-0 ATV


This may be a skill that is developed with experience, but when I see a QB scramble go for 50+ yards because Campbell isn't looking back at the QB I get a little furious. Verner is very good at diagnosing and attacking in a small area. For instance, I can think of several plays where the defense is setting up a WR screen and Verner rips by his blocker and makes a TFL.

Honestly this one isn't close for me, winner Alterraun Verner.

Score 2-0 ATV

Tangible attributes

This category is easy to quantify since all the information is public. According to ESPN Verner is 5'10" and 187 lb. this is compared to Tommie Campbell who is 6'3" 205 lb. While he may have some shortcomings on the field, there is no doubt that Campbell is one of the leagues finest specimens at CB.

Another thing to look at is speed. Verner ran a 4.52 in his fastest 40-time, while Campbell ran a blazing 4.31. As far as tangibles, Tommie Campbell has to get the win.

Score 2-1 ATV

Run support

Don't let the stats fool you, Campbell may have made more tackles this preseason (14 to 11) but he isn't the better run defender. 11 of Campbell's tackles came after a catch from a WR compared to Verner's nine. Now this isn't a dramatic difference, but that is just the stat sheet talking. When you watch the two Verner is willing to get his nose dirty trying to make a tackle, where Campbell will never be a DB that will "stick" a ball carrier.

Score 3-1 ATV

Gut feeling/Eye Test

So maybe this last one isn't so quantitative, but it is important. I for one feel much more comfortable with the experience of Verner. In the preseason he gets a bad reputation because he had some penalties and gave up a deep ball or two, but honestly looked good. The penalties were bad calls that shouldn't have happened, and giving up a deep ball to Julio Jones and Matt Ryan is just the nature of the beast.

Campbell just looked too tentative for the Titans new "aggressive" defense, and he gave up too much cushion to offensive players.

Final Score 4-1 ATV