Welcome to Music City Miracles’ Tennessee Titans 2023 Roster Profile! Between now and August, MCM will feature more than two dozen talents. The main goal is to highlight underrated contributors and key rotational players. We’ll throw in the odd superstar or roster-bubble player, but we’re mainly focused on spotlighting the middle of the roster. That’s where key depth helps define a roster’s ceiling.
Today, we’re analyzing inside linebacker Monty Rice.
Entered League: No. 92 overall selection (third round) of the Titans in the 2021 NFL Draft
Years with team: 3
“Monty Rice signed a 4 year, $4,848,860 contract with the Tennessee Titans, including a $886,444 signing bonus, $886,444 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $1,212,215. In 2023, Rice will earn a base salary of $1,100,805, while carrying a cap hit of $1,322,416 and a dead cap value of $443,222.” Spotrac
Monty Rice appeared in 13 regular-season contests with six starts as a sophomore in 2022. Rice often played in relief of David Long Jr. and Zach Cunningham, who were both sidelined by injury. Rice was very productive, having recorded career-highs in tackles (66) and tackles for loss (4).
Rice was excellent when defending the run. The former Georgia standout earned a run-stopping grade of 73.8 from Pro Football Focus. PFF also awarded Rice with a coverage grade of 53.6, combining for an overall score of 63.3. Rice showcased growth in a number of areas as a second-year contributor.
Rice is still growing as a coverage defender. PFF claims Rice allowed 25 receptions on 29 targets, good for a target-to-reception conversion rate of 86.2 percent. Above all, Rice must prove he’s capable of staying healthy and taking on a larger workload.
Rice suffered a serious-ending Achilles injury as a rookie. Developing into a three-down linebacker that can handle 700-plus snaps is currently a projection Rice.
The Titans made sweeping changes at inside linebacker this offseason. Long Jr. signed with the Miami Dolphins, and Cunningham was released from his contract. Tennessee’s No. 3 linebacker was Dylan Cole, who signed with the Chicago Bears earlier this offseason. Between the departures of Cunningham, Long Jr. and Cole, the Titans are now tasked with replacing 1,383 defensive snaps, and 175 tackles from last season.
Rice is the in-house favorite to help replace that workload and production. Rice is expected to start next to first-year Titan Azeez Al-Shaair. Second-year undrafted free agent Jack Gibbens is also in the mix. Gibbens may pose the biggest threat to Rice’s pathway to becoming a full-time starter. Chance Campbell, Luke Gifford and Ben Niemann are also on the roster.
Rice flashed consistent growth throughout the 2022 campaign. He’s an underrated candidate to enjoy a breakout season in 2023. The Titans are relying on Rice.