It’s been a long time since the Tennessee Titans had a massive mauler in the middle of their defensive line. Enter recent free agent acquisition Sammie Lee Hill, a 6’4’’, 329-pound defensive tackle who thrives at collapsing pockets and bulldozing running lanes.
Heading into the offseason, the Titans made it a priority to add some size at defensive tackle. Hence the addition of Hill, who signed a three-year, $11.4-million deal shortly after the start of free agency.
While 2012 starters Jurrell Casey, Mike Martin and Karl Klug all bring their own unique skill set to the Titans’ defensive line, Hill is expected to provide that mammoth on the inside that they’ve been missing since the departure of Albert Haynesworth.
“I’ve been given this wonderful opportunity to come in here,” Hill told Nashville’s 104.5 The Zone. “They needed a bigger guy. The way they want to utilize me, I can’t complain. I’m overwhelmed with joy. Everything they want me to do, I’m going to do my best to give it to them, too.”
The Titans had the ninth-worst run defense in the league in 2012, allowing 127.2 yards per game throughout the season. They lacked a dominant interior presence, which Hill could provide if put in the right role in 2013.
“My biggest thing is to help them stop the run,” Hill said. “That’s what they brought me in for – to be the power guy that can stop the run on first and second down. And like Coach Munchak said, if I can stay in on third down and cause some pocket pressure, you get taller as you get closer to the quarterback. For me with my power, I think I can cause havoc in the middle by stopping the run and bringing the power side of the pass rush.”
There is, however, some concern regarding whether or not Hill can be the type of impact player they were hoping for. Despite his impressive size and pass-rushing abilities (17 quarterback hurries in 2012), Hill has spent the majority of his career as a rotational player. Even on a defensive line full of young, raw talent, Hill might become a full-time enforcer down in Tennessee.
If he can live up to his respectable contract and bigger role, Hill could prove to be a strong signing for the Titans. Let’s just hope for the franchise’s sake that playing behind Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and Corey Williams in Detroit didn’t stunt his growth as an NFL talent.