We continue this series of prospect profiles with a look at defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
Aside from the Tye Hill signing, there was one other item of actual legitimate news from the Titans this week, the release of the 2010 preseason schedule. For those who haven't seen it yet, or just for the record, here it is:
Week 1 (Aug. 12-15), @Seattle
Week 2 (Aug. 23), v. Arizona
Week 3 (Aug. 26-29), @Carolina
Week 4 (Sept. 2-3), v. New Orleans
I confess my primary interests in the preseason schedule are selfish ones. From my perch in the Chicago area, seeing the Titans play in person is a rare treat, so I hope for games in driving distance. A trip to Green Bay two years ago was a lot of fun, and every NFL fan should see a game at Lambeau, especially if it doesn't entail getting home at 2 A.M. and going to work the next morning. Alas, Seattle and Carolina are a little too far for me.
The other thing I look for is national TV games. As an out of market fan, I'm now very happy to have the NFL Network to re-air every preseason game, but for years you only got the rare treasured moments of watching the Titans in their gestation phase. Last year, we were a little spoiled with two national TV games between the Hall of Fame game and the Dallas game, but that felt a little like overdoing it. Still, I'm happy to see the home game against the Cardinals be chosen for an ESPN Monday Night Football telecast and plan to boot up the liveblog software for that little exercise.
We're all familiar with the rags-to-riches story of the game manager himself, Kerry Collins. While many thought his days of being an NFL starting quarterback were over, in 2008, KC stepped up and delivered a stellar performance while helping lead the Tennessee Titans to a sparkling 13-3 record.
Of course, it was back to bench for Collins in 2009, as he was jettisoned to the sidelines in favor of a rejuvenated Vince Young as a result of the team's collective struggles and his own passing inefficiencies.
Fast-forward to 2010 and suddenly, mostly due to his $5.5 million salary despite being a backup, Collins could be facing an ultimatum: Take a pay-cut, or take a hike.
One of the reasons put forth the Titans should take a cornerback, and specifically Boise State CB Kyle Wilson, with the #16 overall pick in next month's NFL draft is Wilson's experience as a return man provides added value at another area where the Titans ranked among the league's worst.
This makes a certain kind of sense. After all, the last first round cornerback the Titans selected was both a quality cornerback and an excellent return man before all his off the field stuff ended his time with the Titans. There are, I believe, two major problems with this argument. First, while Wilson does have return experience, it has been as a punt returner, and he only returned a couple kickoffs at Boise State. As Jeff Fisher would gladly tell you, returning punts is the more difficult challenge, but we learned last season that being bad at returning kickoffs also can cost you a game. Second, well, I present to you the following chart:
As Drexel noted a couple days ago, the Titans had visits from a couple veteran defensive backs, seemingly looking to bolster their depth at the position. Today, they did just that, signing one of the visitors, Tye Hill. Per Adam Schefter, it's a one year deal.
Hill was a first round draft pick of the Rams out of Clemson in 2006, and spent the first three years of his career with the Rams before being traded to the Falcons at the start of the 2009 season for a late round draft pick. He played in 8 games for Atlanta, starting three, and had his fifth career interception. One downside of Hill is an extensive injury history, as he spent 20 games on the shelf between 2007 and 2008. As I mentioned in the comments, the reviews I heard of Hill's play last year from Falcons fans were not positive, but will note in his defense that the Falcons' pass defense last year looked a lot like the Titans' did, with minimal pressure and poor safety support.
The worst case scenario is Hill ends up like DeMarcus Faggins did last year and doesn't make the roster. It's not a signing I'll get too excited about, but another veteran cornerback was something the Titans needed last year and didn't really address until the Rod Hood signing after the year already began. Even if Hill is merely veteran depth, going through OTAs and training camp will make him a better fit if called upon to play.
With draft-day rapidly approaching, it's pretty obvious where the Tennessee Titans' most pressing needs lie: Cornerback and Defensive End.
Tom's most recent article is centered upon the belief that the defensive end position is the direction the Titans should venture towards with their first round selection. Without a doubt, there's no question that addressing DE with pick #16 is a more than plausible suggestion.
Since Tom took the DE side of the debate, I'll play the vaunted role of devil's advocate by making a case for the Titans to go the CB route with their first-round pick in next month's draft.