Last season when the Tennessee Titans drafted Jayon Brown in the fifth round, he was pretty much ticketed to be their nickel linebacker.
Brown came off the bench and into the Titans lineup in obvious passing situations, most often spelling Avery Williamson in that role.
He played well enough to record 52 tackles and 1.5 sacks as a rookie from UCLA.
Now, with Williamson departed to the New York Jets as a free agent, the Titans are searching for a new inside linebacker. They have already signed former Washington Redskins linebacker Will Compton to compete there, and the position is expected to be one of a handful of areas the Titans will target in the draft next week.
But as for Brown, his thoughts on the process are why not me.
“I want to become and every-down linebacker and elevate my game in all phases of football,” Brown said. “When it comes to the passing game, I don’t want people to catch the ball on me, and when it comes to the run game, I want coordinators to say, ‘We can’t run to his side.’”
He said he expects the competition to replace Williamson to be stout, but he also expects to be in the thick of that conversation.
“It’s a good competitive environment in our linebacker room. I feel like everybody in the room is competitive. I know that everybody is working hard to make plays and the best man will get on the field,” he said.
Known more for his speed than his size, Brown has put on about five pounds and wants to play in 2018 at 220 pounds, rather than the 215 he played at as a rookie.
Brown also said he likes what he has seen thus far from new head coach Mike Vrabel and new defensive coordinator Dean Pees.
“They’re really good guys. I can tell these guys want to win and I’m on board with it. I believe we can get a lot accomplished,’ Brown said.