#11 Overall-Tennessee Titans (7-9)
Team Needs-Last season, the Titans amassed a 7-9 record as the 3rd-year head coach Mike Munchak was fired after the Titan’s 2nd straight losing season. In a 2013 season marred by injuries to Chris Johnson and former 1st round pick Jake Locker, the Titans performed decently in their defensive passing game, however when it came to their run defense they lacked the talent and discipline to really make a difference in the AFC South. 2013 saw the Titans pass defense rank 11th in the league with 225.8 passing yards allowed and 9th in passes defended with 85, however the rest of their defense, especially their running defense could use some improvement. In major defensive categories such as sacks, interceptions and tackles, the Titans ranked 21st (36.0 sacks), 22nd (13 interceptions) and 22nd (1,016 total tackles), respectively. On the passing side of the ball, while the Titans weren’t totally shut-down status, they were still able to be a presence and relatively stop opposing passing offenses. In 2013, the Titans pass defense allowed only 1 passer to pass for over 300 yards in a game (Peyton Manning threw for 397 yards along with 4 touchdowns) and allowed only 15 passing touchdowns all season, less than one touchdown allowed per game to QBs.However, on the flip side of that, the Titans running game this season left something to be desired.
In 2013, the Titans run defense allowed 112.2 yards per game (ranked 20th in the NFL), which doesn’t seem all too bad, however the Titans had 7 games where their rush defense allowed over 100+ yards including 4 games of over 138 yards on the ground to opposing backs. But in fact it was not the pure yardage that doomed the Titans defense this season but rather the amount of rushing touchdowns allowed. This season, Tennessee allowed 19 rushing touchdowns to opposing backs, 14 of those came in 7 games where the Titans allowed 2 rushing touchdowns in the game alone. Their worst streak was from weeks 6 to 11 when the Titans allowed not only 2 touchdowns in every single game, but also 94.8 rushing yards per game on 133 carries (3.56 yards per carry). The entire season the Titans were able to hold an opponent to under 55 yards once. Once (and that was against the injury-ridden Steelers in week 1). If the Titans are going to even think about making a run at the AFC South title next season, they are going to need to get some major help on the defensive end, especially their front 4 defensive lineman. At the left defensive tackle position, Sammie Lee Hill and Antonio Johnson combined for only 47 tackles and 3 sacks.
Look for the Titans to improve their defensive line especially on the left side this draft seeing as that right defensive tackle Jurrell Casey (10.5 sacks, 55 total tackles) and defensive end Ropati Pitoitua (4 sacks, 4 tackles for loss) played decently last season. Allowing opposing running backs to rush the way they did will not get them to the playoffs. The Titans need to hanker down this draft, address lingering left side defensive problems, some offensive line concerns and exactly what to do about running back Chris Johnson.Translation=Timmy Jernigan
Defensive Tackle, Florida State University
As a part of the Seminoles National Championship winning defense, the 6’2″, 292-pound Jernigan comes highly recruited out of Tallahassee. Although Jernigan’s career as a Seminole has been limited, in his Junior season he proved that he was able to handle the workload of a full-time starter. Throughout his career at Florida State, Jernigan recorded 25 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and 138 total tackles including 14 games started as a Junior for FSU’s National Championship season. It just goes to show you that even though Jernigan plays a position such as defensive tackle that doesn’t see as much defensive production, he was still able to record 63 total tackles and 11.0 tackles for loss in his Junior season. Where Jernigan is really advanced compared to other defensive tackles is his ability to use hands and his body fluidly and effectively. According to Pro Scouts, Jernigan’s hand and foot work is unmatched in terms of defensive tackles as he is able to spin away from blocks and get to the ball carrier. I believe that if the Titans draft Jernigan, he could start making a difference in the run game right away starting at the left defensive tackle position. He has the skills to be a formidable run-stopper, the key is to pick him up before someone else does.
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