Defensively, the line has been the Tennessee Titans’ strength for the past few seasons.
That line was a big reason why the Titans were second in the NFL against the run a year ago, allowing just 88.3 yards per game on the ground. The leader of the defensive line is Pro Bowl end Jurrell Casey, who has enjoyed as much success in the 3-4 as he did when the Titans ran a 4-3 scheme and he was their best defensive tackle.
The Titans have solid players all across the line, from DaQuan Jones, who has been steady the past couple of seasons to young up-and-comers like Austin Johnson and veteran presences like Karl Klug. Add in a new nose tackle in Sylvester Williams, and the defensive line remains one of the deepest positions on the roster, as some players who don’t make the cut to the 53-man roster are likely to find work somewhere else in the league.
DLs currently on the roster: 11 _ DE Jurrell Casey (7th season, USC); DE DaQuan Jones (4th season, Penn State); NT Sylvester Williams (5th season, North Carolina); DE Karl Klug (7th season, Iowa); DE Angelo Blackson (3rd season, Auburn); NT Antwaun Woods (1st season, USC); DE Austin Johnson (2nd season, Penn State); DE Mehdi Abdesmad (1st season, Boston College); DE Cameron Robbins (Rookie, Northwestern); DE Jimmy Staten (1st season, Middle Tennessee); NT DeAngelo Brown (Rookie, Louisville).
DLs projected on the 53-man roster: 7, plus 2 on practice squad.
Best storylines of camp/pre-season: Will Austin Johnson continue to improve after a slow start; How long before Karl Klug is back from his Achilles injury; How will Sylvester Williams fit in as the new nose tackle.
Analysis: As long as Casey continues to wreak havoc, this unit should be a strength of the Titans, and he shows no signs of slowing down entering year seven. Williams will be an interesting one to watch as the former Broncos first-round pick takes over at nose tackle. Jones, as mentioned above, has been solid. Blackson needs to bounce back after falling behind Johnson at the end of last season. Woods looked good in a late-season trial, and the Titans liked what they saw of Abdesmad in preseason last year. The other big key for this group will be how soon the blue collar Klug returns from the Achilles injury. Smart money says he will be ready to go by the opener, or at the latest shortly thereafter.