As NFL Draft weekend has wrapped up, the Tennessee Titans are ready to welcome another group of young players (including Taylor Lewan). So I thought I would take the time to introduce the newest Titans, via free agency.
The first off-season signing for the Titans, McCluster joins the team after playing his first four seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. McCluster, the 36th overall pick in 2010 out of Ole Miss, is a dual threat on the ground, and in the air. New coach Ken Whisenhunt sees him as more of a receiver than a running back, so look for him to spend more time in the slot than in the backfield this upcoming season with the Titans.
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, the offensive tackle comes back home. He was one of 12 children, and attended 11 different schools in his first 9 years as a student. His rough childhood is well documented, as his life story resulted in the hit movie “The Blind Side”. Also from Ole Miss, the Ravens drafted him with the 23rd overall pick in 2009. Despite contributing to the Ravens Super Bowl run in 2013, he lost ground as a consistent member of the Baltimore o-line. With the release of David Stewart, Oher is more than capable of rounding out the offensive line, filling the hole at right tackle, with Pro Bowler Michael Roos at left tackle. However, the Titans drafting OT Taylor Lewan, a 6-foot-7, 305-pound monster, puts Oher’s role in question.
After backing up Phillip Rivers in San Diego, Whitehurst opts to follow Ken Whisenhunt, his former Chargers offensive coordinator, to Tennessee. The 6-foot-5 quarterback out of Clemson will take over for the departed Ryan Fitzpatrick as backup quarterback. With Locker’s reliability and durability in question, Whitehurst was a needed pick-up for the Titans. Nicknamed “Clipboard Jesus,” he knows his role, and is prepared to help mentor and tutor Locker to help the team win games. If Locker gets hurt, we will find out if Whitehurst can step in when called upon and get the job done.
The Philly native gives the Titans something they have needed since the days of Jevon Kearse: an edge-pass rusher. Phillips was a fourth-round pick out of Purdue back in 2004 by the San Diego Chargers. He spent nine years in San Diego before spending last season with the Denver Broncos. The 32-year-old veteran brings leadership and intelligence to the defense. Ray Horton’s new 3-4 defensive scheme is a perfect situation for Phillips, as he can flourish at the outside linebacker spot, and do what he does best: put his head down and get after the quarterback.
The Georgia native, nicknamed “The Lumberjack,” signed with the Broncos as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Kentucky. Despite being smaller than your typical linebacker, at 6 foot, 230 pounds, Woodyard had a breakout year in 2012, finishing with 117 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and 3 interceptions. After suffering a neck injury in 2013, he never returned to form, as the Broncos benched him during their Super Bowl run. Woodyard brings versatility and intensity to Horton’s defense in Tennessee, rounding out the linebacker group to go with Shaun Phillips, Zach Brown, and Akeem Ayers.
Coming off his best season as a pro, the former fourth-round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of LSU joins the Titans after spending the last three seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 6-foot-4, 307-pound defensive end provides the Titans with some extra beef up front on the defensive line. He will definitely see action, as another member of the constantly rotating defensive front for the Titans.