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You can expect the Tennessee Titans to look like a different team in 2014, as some familiar faces will likely be gone and a new coach will be manning the sidelines. Ken Whisenhunt comes to Nashville after helping to revitalize the San Diego Chargers’ offense last season, and now will look to do the same in Tennessee.
Chris Johnson is expected to be released by the team in the coming weeks, while former first-round pick wideout Kenny Britt is expected to be on his way out of town. One debate — whether Jake Locker is the future under center — perhaps has been resolved, as Titans CEO has stated his support for the injury-riddled former first-round pick.
#Titans CEO Tommy Smith on Jake Locker: “He’s the quarterback.” Said he’s “absolutely” in support of Locker.
— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) February 18, 2014
Even though Smith has backed Locker, we can’t confirm that Whisenhunt has. And perhaps Whis adds another prospect somewhere in the middle of the coming draft. The team will have to do the same at running back to help replace former 2,000-yard back Johnson, as well as restock the offensive line.
In a draft rich with offensive tackles, the Titans could find a future anchor with the No. 11 pick. The top-rated prospect Jake Matthews may already be off the board, but the team will be just fine picking between Taylor Lewan and Greg Robinson. Lewan started four years in Ann Arbor where he earned a reputation as a stout pass-protector. He can further improve his draft stock with a strong combine outing. Robinson drew a lot of attention this past year at Auburn after helping to pave the way for Tre Mason. Scouts believe he has all of the physical tools to be a premier pass-blocker.
Last year the team added Shonn Greene in free agency to complement Johnson, and this offseason they made add another shifty runner to do the same for Greene. Not many backs are expected to come off the board in Round 1, so the Titans can address the position in the middle rounds. Robinson’s teammate, the aforementioned Mason, has the dynamic ability to make big plays. He ended his season with six consecutive 100-yard performances, including 304 yards in the BCS National Championship game.
Ray Horton is inheriting the defense and will flip it into a 3-4 scheme, and the Titans are fortunately settled with their options up front. The team may lose its top corner Alterraun Verner and safety Bernard Pollard to free agency, and there’s definitely a need at safety. Tennessee would be lucky if Jimmie Ward fell to them in the second round, but could welcome Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner. He has played both corner and safety, and despite being 5-foot-8, plays very physical and instinctive against the run and pass.
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