Alterraun Verner‘s place on the depth chart seems rather tenuous this offseason, as the Tennessee Titans‘ camp practices have featured him playing a lot of backup safety in Bernard Pollard‘s time out. The safety area is already a bit crowded with Pollard and fellow free-agent George Wilson joining incumbent Michael Griffin, while rookie third-rounder Blidi Wreh-Wilson joins the team presumably as a starting cornerback fo the future.
However, word from Titans camp is that Verner expects to stay at cornerback despite the work at safety.
“It’s been cool to experience and I think it’s going to give me a different perspective … but all in all, I’m still a corner,” said Verner, via The Tennessean. “From what I know, it’s nothing permanent or anything like that.”
Verner has started 31 games at cornerback since being drafted in the fourth round back in 2010. His skills and 5-10, sub-200 frame seem less fit for an outside corner than the more physical imposing 6-1, 195-pound rookie in Wreh-Wilson. Whether this means Verner will move to nickel corner or backup safety can be worked out during the summer.
This Titans secondary as a whole needs a shot in the arm after last year. The 2012 campaign actually started off quite nicely for Verner, with his highlight coming in a Week 3 win over the Detroit Lions where he recorded four stops, blanketed receivers in coverage and scored a critical touchdown in the final two minutes off a heady fumble recovery. Verner would struggle down the season’s stretch as he did in 2011, finishing 24th in Pro Football Focus’ cornerback grading after ranking 14th the year prior.
Regardless, this secondary can benefit greatly from heavily working in both Verner and Wreh-Wilson along with No. 1 CB Jason McCourty.
“We always thought Vern was very athletic, which allows us to be more versatile with him,” Titans Coach Mike Munchak said, via The Tennessean. “I think you’re going to see us continue to move that (secondary) group around and find depth. When you start thinking about the roster and how many guys you keep and who helps you on special teams if so-and-so gets hurt. … So, yeah, I think we’ll be doing that with (Verner) and other guys.”