The Tennessee Titans limped to a 6-10 mark in 2012, so changes had to be made. Then comes the Free Agency period. The Titans were one of the most proactive teams in the league, aggressively trying to fill their needs. Unlike last season, all the eggs were not in one fruitless basket, and things got done.
Tennessee added depth signing former Bills starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to backup and tutor Jake Locker. They signed former Jets starting RB Shonn Greene to help spell Chris Johnson, hopefully keeping him fresh late in the season. The Titans raided the Bills twice more for proven safety George Wilson and guard Andy Levitre. They brought in players with championship pedigrees in safety Bernard Pollard from Baltimore and TE Delanie Walker from San Francisco. Tennessee signed veteran WR Kevin Walter, a dependable intermediate receiver with very sure hands, and Sammie Hill from Stillman College, to strengthen the defensive line.
But the heart of any rebuild comes through the draft and the Titans certainly seem to have made strides there also. With the 10th overall pick, Tennessee selected guard Chance Warmack from Alabama. Warmack, who was a key part of three national championship teams, was considered the top guard in a bumper offensive line crop which saw left tackles Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel go first and second overall. Warmack at 6’2”, 317 lbs., started his final 40 games for the Tide, and was integral in the success of fellow all-Americans, RBs Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy. Warmack figures to team with Levitre giving the Titans a formidable tandem of guards to help protect Locker and block for CJ and Shonn Greene.
In the second round, the Titans traded up to #34 overall to grab UT receiver Justin Hunter. Certainly a popular pick in these parts, Hunter comes with dynamic ability equal to Kenny Britt, and more consistency when healthy. But like Britt, Hunter has undergone knee reconstruction in the past. But that was two years ago. Last year Justin caught 73 for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns in one of the greatest seasons ever for a Vols receiver. Though he went five spots behind fellow UT WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Hunter was graded higher by most teams.
The Titans went defense with their pair of third round picks in CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson from Connecticut and OLB Zaviar Gooden from Missouri. Wreh-Wilson was seen by most clubs as an intriguing athlete and strong leader, though perhaps raw in technique. Gooden has the mix of speed and physicality you need in today’s NFL. He ran a 4.47 in the 40 at the Combine and really came on last season as a tackler.
After adding C Brian Schwenke from California in Round 4, the Titans rounded out Saturday with three more defensive picks: LSU DE Lavar Edwards, Nevada CB Khalid Wooten, and Nebraska safety Daimion Stafford. A name to remember from this group is Edwards. Constantly behind all-Americans, LSU had eight defensive players drafted this year. Edwards did not get the reps some others did so stamina is a question. But when he got to play he made an impact, given the team’s Unsung Hero Award on defense for the 2012 season.