Since Andrew recently filled us in on the state of affairs at outside linebacker, we'll continue our annual offseason positional analyses by taking a look at how the Tennessee Titans stack up at middle linebacker.
Since replacing former Titan Ryan Fowler as the team's starting MLB in the beginning of 2008, Stephen Tulloch has been a tackling machine. Despite being undersized, "Tully" has been more than adequate stopping the run. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about his ability to play the pass.
The Titans will have an interesting decision to make whenever free agency begins. Despite Tulloch being a home-grown product who's emerged as a leader and stellar performer, considering his limitations defending the pass, there's a chance the Titans could decide to go in another direction at MLB.
What direction, you ask? We'll address that later.
The rest of the bunch
The remainder of the team's options at MLB consist of players who have played the position in the past but are listed on the team's depth chart as outside linebackers.
Veteran Will Witherspoon has the most experience, considering he's played several games at MLB over the course of his 10-year NFL career. Colin Allred has been listed on the team's depth chart at MLB in the past and has some experience playing the position but by no means is he anything close to a starting option if Tulloch departs via free agency.
Gerald McRath has spent time at MLB during his college days and Rennie Curran, who's measurables resemble Tulloch's, could also emerge as an option at MLB down the road if things don't pan out on the outside.
Rounding out the team's depth at MLB is long snapper Ken Amato and I think it's safe to say that we'd all have our faces in our palms if he was ever forced into significant regular season action at the position.
Potential free agency/draft options if Tulloch departs
Barrett Ruud and Kirk Morrison are two veteran MLB options who could be on the Titans' radar if Tulloch leaves. Of the two, I'd prefer Ruud, who's younger and at this point in their careers, probably the better player.
With more pressing needs at other positions, I'm not expecting the Titans to select a MLB with their 8th overall pick. However, possibly a 2nd or 3rd rounder could be spent towards a potential future starter at middle linebacker.
If the Titans draft a MLB, guys such as Quan Sturdivant, Greg Jones and Kelvin Sheppard could be available as options from rounds 2-4.
Any thoughts on the MLB position? Should the Titans keep Tulloch, or is the team better off replacing him via free agency or the draft? Feel free to provide your always welcomed input below.