With training camp finally underway, the 2010 NFL season is officially around the corner. After suffering through the seemingly eternal dog daze of the NFL offseason, it's nice to finally have the presence of some actual football lurking on the horizon.
As the Tennessee Titans prepare for the regular season, we're doing likewise at Total Titans. Whether it's roster predictions, positional analyses or training camp reports, we're headed full speed ahead in the direction of providing our valuable readers with plenty of content surrounding the team as they march towards their Week 1 battle against the Raiders.
Today, we're going to put on our speculative caps and have some fun as I reveal my list of five bold predictions for the Tennessee Titans in 2010.
Jason Babin will lead the team in sacks
As first-round DE Derrick Morgan struggles in his adjustment to the pros due to some nagging injuries, journeyman Jason Babin is waiting in the wings just ready to pounce on his opportunity to step up.
Babin has always had the talent, but he's bounced around a bit since being selected in the first round by the Texans in 2004.
With a motor reminiscent of the energizer bunny himself, (Kyle Vanden Bosch) and the tutelage of defensive line guru Jim Washburn, I don't think anyone will be surprised to see Babin finally put it together and experience his best season as a pro in 2010.
Sen'Derrick Marks will be a starting DT by the end of the season
As I mentioned in my recent defensive tackle positional analysis, second-year DT Sen'Derrick Marks has turned some heads this offseason. He's increased his strength tremendously and is poised to emerge as a factor in the Titans' DT rotation in 2010.
By the end of the year, don't be shocked if Marks emerges as more than just a rotational guy. With Jovan Haye's struggles and Jason Jones' inability to avoid the injury bug, it's not hard to envision Marks as a starter sooner rather than later at defensive tackle.
Marc Mariani will earn a spot on the Titans' 53-man roster
Mariani is quickly becoming one of this year's Tennessee Titan training camp's players to watch. Despite his humble beginnings entering the league as a 7th round draft selection, through OTA's and the beginning of camp, Mariani is making people notice his abilities.
Adept at catching the football as well as having the potential to contribute on returns, Mariani is a hard-working guy who will certainly have a chance to compete for a roster spot.
Alterraun Verner= This year's Gerald McRath
In 2009, 4th round LB Gerald McRath emerged as an unlikely contributor on the Titans' defense. In 2010, I won't be surprised to say the least if fellow fourth-rounder Alterraun Verner travels a similar path.
Verner has already turned heads due to his nose for the football and playmaking abilities. He's a darkhorse candidate to emerge as the guy who will start opposite of Cortland Finnegan at CB. Even our readers are beginning to believe the hype as indicated by a response in the comments' section of Tom's 53-man roster predictions.
Justin Gage: Surprise cut?
Of course, I had to save my boldest prediction for last. It's sheer speculation on my part and if I'm wrong, I'll have no problem eating crow in a month or so.
Gage is a veteran who has seen his production decline over the course of the last few seasons. Combined with the presence of some talented youngsters such as the aforementioned Mariani, Dominique Edison, Damian Williams and the enigmatic Lavelle Hawkins, I could envision a scenario where if the young guys continue to step up, Gage could find himself on the outside looking in.
At the very least, if Gage holds onto his roster spot, I could see one of the young guys pushing Gage for some playing time in 2010.
Agree or disagree with my predictions? Have some bold/wacky predictions of your own? Feel free to contribute your thoughts, folks!