The Tennessee Titans are looking for a pass rusher, and it looks like it will come down to either Brian Orakpo in free agency or a player like Khalil Mack or Anthony Barr in the 2014 NFL Draft. However, while the big ticket position is waiting to be filled, the Titans also need to figure out exactly who is playing where on the defensive line next season. Currently the team does not have a classic 3-4 defensive end (5-tech) on the roster.
If the Titans wanted to force square pegs into round holes they surely could. For example, if the Titans wanted someone who fits the bill they could move Sammie Lee Hill over to the outside. While his measurements indicate that he would be a good fit, he has never played the position and his skill-set makes him more of a pass rusher than a real edge-setter.
Then again the Titans could put Jurrell Casey out on the edge. Casey has the strength and the leverage to make that work, but that is really a waste of his talent. I believe that Casey is destined to play the nose tackle like Earl Mitchell did for the Houston Texans last year. This will allow him to continue disrupting the passer without only being a situational player.
So if Casey is the solution at nose tackle, then who will play edge? Well I think Derrick Morgan will be in a hybrid situation where he plays some edge and some 5-technique but primarily just as a depth player. If the Titans sign Ropati Pitoitua then he will lock down one of the 5-tech spots and give the Titans the anchor they need. However, there are rumors swirling that the Seattle Seahawks may be looking to release defensive lineman Red Byant.
Bryant would be the perfect defensive lineman for the Titans to add to their new hybrid 3-4/4-3 defense. Bryant is 6-foot-4, 323-pounds and is an absolute space eater in the run game. Bryant’s blend of motor, strength, size and leverage make him one of the best defensive linemen in the league, and he would make an excellent 5-tech on 3-4 downs. On 4-3 downs he could slide inside to 1-tech while Casey moves to the 3-tech. That interior would be tough sledding for any running game, and they have enough push and penetration to stay out on all four downs.
If the Titans made a move for Bryant, they could clear some cap space by cutting the aforementioned Hill which would give them an additional $3 million. Bryant was scheduled to make $8 million in 2014, and if the Titans could get him on the roster for $5 million then they absolutely should.