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State of the Tennessee Titans Roster: Inside Linebacker

How does the defense look in the heart of the front seven?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Brown (2015 cap #: $916k)

The Tennessee Titans coaching staff have high hopes for Zach Brown, who was injured and lost for the season in week 1 of the 2014 season. He figures to play a starting role next to last year's rookie standout, Avery Williamson, stepping ahead of should-be situational linebacker Wesley Woodyard. Analysts and team critics have already stated that Brown should be able to be a good piece in Horton's 3-4 defense, now backed up by Dick Lebeau. Ken Whisenhunt shares that line of thinking: Per Rotoworld: "His injury was, needless to say, a big blow for us...But his return is also one of the things we're excited about moving forward."

Wesley Woodyard 2015 cap #: $2.7 million)

Woodyard, as mentioned above, should technically thrive as a situational linebacker in Horton's system. He's not, however; going to play well when asked to play down hill and fit the run. He posted 94 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 2 interceptions while playing most of the snaps at ILB in 2014. His contract is one full of escalators and incentives, so should he not play well the Titans can save their pocket books some. As a third inside rotational backer, he's a great player, especially when you consider that he has leadership qualities as well. He also has unrealistic expectations of what the team will (and should) do this Summer..but that's another story entirely.

Avery Williamson

Williamson was a late round pick who shined for the Titans in 2014, comparatively amongst the rest of the team's defense anyway. Williamson is a balanced interior athlete who can play down hill as well as get to the perimeter when needed. He wasn't as easily duped in over pursuit as the other Tennessee linebackers, either. He was productive too, with 79 tackles, 3 sacks, and 2 fumble recoveries in half a season (or less) of starts. Hopefully another year in Horton's, and now Lebeau's, system as well as pairing him with the athletically gifted Zach Brown could pay big dividends for Williamson in 2015 and beyond.

Zaviar Gooden (2015 cap #: $500k)

Gooden was a head-scratching pick when he was taken 91st overall by the Titans in 2013, and has little to show for his first two seasons at STSP, on full display in his twenty-four 2014 tackles. Gooden has a lot of speed and explosive ability, but production has thus far eluded him, and he cannot be considered a reliable or even fundamentally polished player at this point. Hopefully Horton and LB coach Lou Spanos can coax some solid play out of him in 2015?

Justin Staples

A camp body/depth for a linebacker group that was marred by injury in a terrible 2014 season. It's doubtful that he will be on the 53-man roster next season.