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Biggest misconception about the Tennessee Titans draft needs

Which "hole" in the roster is being overstated.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

For a long time I was worried about the interior of the Titans defense. There were some question marks at linebacker that made me nervous, especially before Wesley Woodyard was brought in. More concerning however was the idea that the Titans didn't have the personnel to line up one or two true nose tackles (rotationally not at once).

I saw the number of big defensive lineman mocked to the Titans increase over the last month or two as they slowly filled the other issues on the depth chart and decided to check it out to see if it was a top-three need. After a look deeper into the depth chart and a study of the 2013 game film, I found out pretty quickly that it shouldn't be a concern.

The Prototype

Most people think, because Ray Horton spent so much time as a Pittsburgh Steeler coach under Dick Lebeau, that he is going to try to be an exact copy of the legendary coach. After watching Clevland Browns film from the 2013 season, I can tell you that he is not building an exact copy.

In Cleveland, he may have had some anchors in the middle of the defensive line, but they were asked to push the pocket and penetrate. This is contrary to the Steelers ideology of getting a guy like Casey Hampton, whose job is to eat up space and keep people off of the linebackers.

Now a guy will be asked to do that in certain situations, this is still a 3-4 defense (mostly) but Horton is going to get the most out of his people.

The Candidates

Jurrell Casey is great. Yes I discussed the idea of trading him because I thought of how rare it is for a defensive tackle to have back-to-back elite years and with an expiring contract the Titans have a strong chance to lose him in 2015 anyway. However I won't argue that he isn't one of the best defensive tackles the Titans have had since their inception. So, with that said I think he is obviously going to start at NT/DT for the Titans in week one next year.

Al Woods is someone that the Steelers wanted to keep on there roster and for good reason. He is the closes thing the Titans have to that old school prototype. He is big, stands up, occupies space, and engages linemen enough to create discomfort which forces them to respect him as a threat.

The other guy (Mookie Johnson, Karl Klug, Sammie Lee HIll, Marcus Dixon, and Chigo Anunoby) are all listed at 6'3" or taller and are all more penetrating tackles.


I believe in the end teams will see a steady diet of Casey on passing downs and most base downs, and then Al Woods will be the guy they want in the red zone and short yardage situations. The others will spend their time rotating in with Casey and giving him a breather on long drives.

With the sort of depth at this position I would be shocked if they used a pick in the first two days on an interior defensive player. If they do, he will have some heavy competition for a job, and likely won't see more than a few hundred snaps in year one (unless its Aaron Donald, that guy can play for any team tomorrow).