The Tennessee Titans are not making big splashes in free agency, but they are quietly filling positions of need.
With the Al Woods re-signing in Tennessee, they now at least have an experienced body at nose tackle. While I believe that Angelo Blackson will also play some snaps at nose tackle this year, I don't think that this is really a settled position.
While positions like right tackle, safety, cornerback, and possibly wide receiver will be looked at hard in the early part of the draft for the Titans, nose tackle makes a lot of sense later in the draft. Outside of round one, the most Pro Bowl defensive linemen since 2005 have been selected in the fourth round.
Players like Geno Atkins, Henry Melton, Red Bryant, Paul Soliai, and Barry Cofield have all been taken in the fourth round in the past 10 years. There is no reason why a GM like Jon Robinson wouldn't know this if I could look it up and for a man all about value and strategy rather than impulse buying, taking a defensive tackle in the middle of the draft makes sense.
While there are no names left in free agency that really jump out to me as upgrades over Al Woods who is a solid player, so looking to the middle rounds of the draft here are some names you might want to get to know.
Willie Henry, Michigan
A fifth year senior who is 6'3" and just over 300 lb. Had a very nice senior season for someone with his size ending up with 6.5 sacks including multi-sack games against Michigan State and Northwestern. Michigan State is particularly impressive given that they have two offensive linemen that will likely go in the top 75 picks in the draft. He is scheme versatile and could be very similar to Angelo Blackson as a high upside guy that can play all over the line.
D.J. Reader, Clemson
Slightly bigger than Henry but less agile, Reader is 6'3" and 325 lb. and could be more of the traditional run stuffing nose tackle that Damon Harrison is in the NFL now. He is another senior on a winning team that had a very talented defensive line, and I could see him filling a need as a pure run stuffing NT.
Vincent Valentine, Nebraska
Valentine is the "other" defensive tackle in Nebraska and he is the biggest of these defensive tackles at 6'4" 330. Again, he is another run stuffing nose tackle that this team doesn't have and he could fill a need for this team. However, he does show questionable decision making by leaving early despite not really having a great last season, but in the late rounds you are never going to find a perfect prospect.