Defensive end a need for Titans

Posted March 26, 2010 @ 1:13 p.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

The Titans did not select a defensive end in the 2009 draft, and they have taken just two ends in the last five drafts. But with nine picks in the 2010 draft, Tennessee figures to strongly consider taking an end this year.

Tennessee hasn't taken a defensive end in Round One since selecting Jevon Kearse with the No. 16 overall pick in 1999. He quickly developed into a star and was a key part of some top-caliber Titans defenses; since then, the Titans have preferred to wait until after Round One to address the position, a strategy that has worked well in large part thanks to the teaching of respected DL coach Jim Washburn. Antwan Odom (Round Two, 2004), Travis LaBoy (Round Two, 2004) and Carlos Hall (Round Seven, 2002) were all effective players for Tennessee before moving on to other clubs, and William Hayes (Round Four, 2008) and Jacob Ford (Round Six, 2007) are both current contributors for Tennessee. Ford notched a team-high 5½ sacks last season as a situational pass-rusher, while Hayes stepped into the starting lineup and recorded 51 tackles and four sacks.

In addition to the No. 16 in Round One in the 2010 draft, the Titans have eight other selections, including untradable compensatory picks in Rounds Three (No. 97), Six (No. 207) and Seven (No. 241). The Titans have two third-round picks but no second-round selection after trading that last year to move up and take athletic TE Jared Cook in Round Three.

The Titans have a definite need at defensive end after Kyle Vanden Bosch signed a four-year, $26 million contract with Detroit at the outset of free agency. Though Vanden Bosch notched just three sacks last season, he is still well-regarded in league circles and is widely praised for his work ethic. The Titans signed Jason Babin, a restricted free agent from the Eagles, to a one-year contract, but he will primarily contribute on passing downs.

Finding a full-time defensive end, a la Vanden Bosch, will be best accomplished via the draft. This DE class is regarded as deep, with Georgia Tech's Derrick Morgan, Michigan's Brandon Graham and South Florida's Jason Pierre-Paul among the top prospects.


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