A lot of NFL teams try to borrow from the Patriots, the league’s most successful franchise of the past two decades, but the Titans have taken it to new extremes, borrowing two of the cornerbacks who contributed mightily to New England’s defensive success in recent years. Tennessee signed Logan Ryan as a free agent in 2017, then signed Malcolm Butler earlier this year. With Butler, Ryan and Adoree’ Jackson, who impressed as a rookie last season, the Titans have a deep, talented group of corners. They’re also strong at safety with Kevin Byard, whose eight interceptions tied for the NFL lead last year, and veteran Johnathan Cyprien. Up front, DEs Jurrell Casey and DaQuan Jones key a run defense that ranked fourth in the NFL last season, yielding 3.6 yards per carry and allowing only three runs of 20 or more yards. Tennessee had 43 sacks last year, tied for fifth in the league.
Although Tennessee got its fair share of sacks in 2017, no single Titan had more than 7.5, and the team’s two leading sack men from last year, OLBs Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo, are both getting long in the tooth. The Titans are shaky at inside linebacker.
If you’re looking for a sleeper defense for 2018, here’s a good candidate. The Titans can stop the run and get after the quarterback. They ranked 18th in defensive fantasy scoring last season, but that was because they scored only one defensive touchdown and didn’t force a lot of turnovers. With some progress in those categories, the Titans could have a top-10 fantasy defense.