By: Brendan Smart (@bsmart21)
When the 2016 Tennessee Titans training camp began, talent and depth were on the rise, but were still lacking in certain areas. Now, in 2017, the Titans will have a ton of fun position battles to watch for, and this is music to Titan fans ears.
Last season, the Titans defense was horribly inconsistent, but General Manager Jon Robinson added a few pieces to beef up the competition in the secondary. The addition of Johnathan Cyprian to the safety position. The safety position is already full of potential with second year Kevin Byard out of MTSU, and seven year pro Da’Norris Searcy. It seems that Searcy would be the loose end in this position battle, with a young stud in Byard, and a fresh contract in Cyprian, this is going to make things interesting when training camp begins.
Next, staying on the defensive secondary, the cornerback position battle will be one of the best at camp this year. The Titans released a veteran cornerback in Jason McCourty, and picked up a veteran Super Bowl champion in Logan Ryan during free agency. Ryan, likely the number one cornerback has his position guaranteed heading into camp. Then, the Titans drafted Adoore’ Jackson out of USC, to play numerous positions including special teams, and offense. With that being said, I doubt Jackson is the number two cornerback come the first preseason game. A guy that I am eyeing is second year cornerback LeShaun Sims. Sims, who played in several games as the second corner played very well, and showed that he has the tools to be a very good corner in the NFL. Also, Brice McCain seems to have the third string spot locked up, McCain has played Nickel corner when called upon, but I just see Sims having the bigger upside at this point.
Lastly, the wide receiver position is going to be the one that everyone talks about. Could Rishard Matthews really get demoted? I just don’t see how you demote a guy that caught majority of the ball thrown his way, and the receiving core in yards last season. Also, demoting Matthews to a rookie? This is no knock on Titans first round pick Corey Davis, but I would like to see Davis eased into the offense with intentions that one day he will be the number one. I do, however like Davis playing number two or three. I don’t like putting a ton of pressure on a rookie, especially a rooking from a division two college. Davis has the goods to be great, but doesn’t need to be rushed into a situation he is not ready for. The addition of Eric Decker was a blessing due to the fact that Decker will not take a lot of snaps throughout every game, but will get a lot of attention from the defense in those snaps he is out there. It just seems that Mathews will be the number one, and from number two down seems really grey at this point.