Yesterday's matchup was a complete blowout, but that was expected. When looking at this week's matchups, I knew that we would all have to power through some blowouts in the middle of the week, but we would have a really exciting and interesting matchup on our hands to close out the week. Today's matchup is one of my personal favorites for all of round 1:
(4) Jurrell Casey: In some dark years for the Titans, Jurrell Casey has been a consistent bright spot. Drafted in the 3rd round in 2011, Casey made an immediate impact. He fell down draft boards because of his lack of size. However, he makes up for it with his quickness, hands, and surprising athletic ability. Since joining the team, he has always been the most consistent pass rusher, and the most consistent player on the defense in general. In recent years, he has also taken more of a leadership role on the team. When he signed a contract extension with the Titans, he took a very team-friendly deal, making him a bargain even past his rookie deal. While Casey has not been involved in any kind of success from an overall team perspective, you cannot doubt his production. He has played at a pro-bowl level every year as a Titan, and could still have his best years ahead of him.
(5) Albert Haynesworth: Fans' votes for Hanyesworth will likely break in two different ways--those who remember his dominant seasons, and those who remember the other infamous years. He will be a controversial player in this tournament. When the Titans drafted Albert Haynesworth, there were always whispers about his effort. Before 2007, his career was less than memorable, outside of a face stomp in 2006. In 2007, Haynesworth was tagged by the team, essentially giving him a 1 year deal, providing more incentive. Coincidentally, he had a career year after that. His play was all-pro caliber, and he brought the entire defense up, making it a top unit in the league. He constantly took on double and triple teams, either freeing things up for others along the defensive line, or still making plays. Simply put, he was a game changer. After receiving another franchise tag in 2008, we saw more of the same. When Haynesworth was on, he was on. He was one of the most dominant players in the NFL during that stretch. While there are certainly character questions, no one can question his dominant seasons.
My vote: This one is very tough. On one hand, Jurrell Casey has the character and consistent production over the years. In some ways, he is the antithesis of Albert Haynesworth. On the other hand, Haynesworth has the dominant, transcendent seasons under his belt that brought the Titans some amazing defensive units. For this reason, I have to vote for Haynesworth. The Titans have only had 2 playoff seasons since 2003, and they have both been in huge part thanks to the dominant play of Albert Haynesworth. When he was motivated and playing well, he was one of the best defensive players that we've seen.