Next up on our trip around the Tennessee Titans position by position as head into the 2013 offseason is a look at the outside linebacker position.
If middle linebacker was a position that went from stable last offseason to potentially unstable this offseason, something like the opposite transition has occurred at outside linebacker. It's been a gradual process, almost an exceedingly gradual one at times. It started, in a way, back in 2009, as the Keith Bulluck-David Thornton pairing that worked so successfully the previous three seasons showed increasingly major wear. A temporary solution came in free agency, and the draft brought more players cursed with potential.
The current picture started to take shape in 2011. New defensive coordinator Jerry Gray brought a new conception of what being one of the outside linebackers meant, and that year's draft brought a player to fill that role, one who made too many mistakes due to inexperience and lack of skill, but seemed like a promising piece to build on. Unlike at Mike, that second-year Sam had about as strong a second season and still looks like a good solution, albeit one who needs more improvement.
The 2012 offseason brought a new player at the other outside linebacker position. With a player at his position already on the roster, this highly-drafted rookie was not immediately installed as a starter, but like the middle linebacker became a starter during his rookie season thanks to the starter's ineffectiveness. He looked good at times, less good at others. Can the Will avoid the Mike's fate and continue to improve in his second season?