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Can Vanden Bosch remain an impact player?

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Posted March 04, 2010 @ 1:47 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

This is the last in a series of scouting reports on 15 key players who are slated to become free agents — restricted or unrestricted — March 5, unless they are re-signed before then.

News: The Titans and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch could not reach agreement on a new contract in the days leading up to the start of the free-agent signing period, which led to Lions head coach Jim Schwartz showing up at Vanden Bosch's home just after midnight on March 5. Schwartz must have made a positive impression on his former Titans pupil, as the veteran defensive end agreed to a deal with Detroit on Friday morning.

Notes: A second-round pick of the Cardinals in 2001, Vanden Bosch had a four-year career in Arizona that was marked by injuries. He missed most of his rookie season after tearing the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee. In the '03 preseason, he tore the ACL in his left knee, landing him on injured reserve. Vanden Bosch signed with the Titans in the '05 offseason with little fanfare, but he quickly developed into one of the more important players on their defense. He's made the Pro Bowl three times (2005, 2007, 2009) and has twice notched double-digit sacks.

Positives: Vanden Bosch's motor is lauded leaguewide and is his greatest asset, and pure effort has allowed him to be successful beyond the Titans' wildest expectations. What's more, he sets an excellent example for younger teammates. He is strong and plays with good technique, and he is relatively quick off the ball. That he's been named to three Pro Bowls in five seasons with the Titans signals that he's still regarded as a tough matchup around the league. 

Negatives: Vanden Bosch's productivity plummeted last season, as he notched just 44 tackles and three sacks despite starting all 16 games. His age (he'll be 32 in November) and injury history are causes for concern, though it should be noted he's had only one significant injury since joining the Titans: a groin ailment that kept him out of six games in '08.

Risk factor: Moderate. Vanden Bosch hasn't posted double-digit sacks since 2007, and though he made the Pro Bowl, his '09 season was a disappointment. His work ethic and leadership are assets, though, and he is hard to count out, considering how he revived his career with Tennessee. With so many teams craving pass-rush help, Vanden Bosch could find himself in demand this offseason, but interested suitors have to ask themselves why he wasn't especially disruptive in '09.


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