Versatility is all the rage on defense in today's NFL. Pernell McPhee is the definition of versatility. He can rush the passer with his hand on the ground, and he can rush the passer standing up, but the key there is he can rush the passer. That is the #1 thing the Titans need to add on defense this offseason.
McPhee will be the 4th best edge defender, behind Derrick Morgan at 3 ironically, available in free agency according to Pro Football Focus. They graded him out at +28.4 last year. Here is part of what they had to say:
Productive off the edge, McPhee still sees time on the inside and rushed from a plethora of alignments for the Ravens last season and, much like Graham, his per-snap production (64 pressures on 347 pass rushes) is terrific. The question mark for McPhee is how (and whether) you can slot him in to a full-time role anywhere on the defense or whether he is limited to being a sub-package defender.
A reader at Baltimore Beatdown had this to say about McPhee:
He is a bit of a tweener, but is mostly used rushing from the interior. Extremely versatile player though who they had standing up at times this year and could come off the edge or from the inside. Have seen him rush from about every technique with success and able to beat double teams as well. He has very violent hands with a pretty good burst for an interior rusher. He is best used as chess piece to move around and just let him get after the QB. Was one of our more consistent defenders. He didn’t start at OLB due to suggs and dumervil then on the DL we tend to have bigger guys in the early downs and bring him in during pass situations.
Jury is still out if he can handle starter snaps. Hasn’t really had to although he was pretty good against the run last year, but have to see if that would affect his pass rush if he was starting. Had great rookie year then the next two years he battled some injuries and dropped off a bit, but was healthy last year and had a resurgence again. It will be a gamble giving that kind of money without knowing how he will hold up as a starter, but we love him here and wish there was a way to keep him.
If you want to watch McPhee destroy Andrew Luck, and you shouldn't be reading this site right now if you don't, then bang it here. Here is the conclusion on McPhee from that PFF article:
Pernell McPhee is young and just hitting his prime. He not only provides value as an edge rusher but can also do damage from inside. He could fit with either a 4-3 scheme or a 3-4 scheme. The best fit for him would be with a team that embraces his versatility (like the Ravens did) and that shows the willingness and creativity to move him around and maximize his pass rushing ability.
Will the Titans be willing to do that?