Titans training camp battle: Defensive backs

Titans training camp battle: Defensive backs

When the talk of changes for the Tennessee Titans is discussed, much of it centers around the offensive line and running back positions.

But the secondary is another area where the Titans got quite an off-season makeover as well.

Gone are long-time safety Michael Griffin and nickelback Coty Sensabaugh, while a number of new faces come in to create competition on the back end of the defense.

One of the things that GM Jon Robinson and Coach Mike Mularkey have wanted to do is create competition for rosters spots, and nowhere is that more evident than in the Titans’ defensive backfield. Between draft picks, free agent signings and undrafted rookies, the Titans have five new cornerbacks and three new safeties in camp to compete with the holdovers on the roster from last year.

One player the Titans are glad to have back is cornerback Jason McCourty, who was limited to four games a year ago with a groin injury that eventually required surgery. McCourty is set on one side, but the battle on the other side will be worth watching as camp and preseason unfold. Perrish Cox is the incumbent, but he is being challenged by free agent newcomer Brice McCain. The loser of the competition on the outside could still wind up as the Titans regular nickelback, however.

At safety, with Griffin gone, veteran Rashad Johnson was signed as a free agent to step in at free safety. He will be paired with holdover Da’Norris Searcy, who could be better in his second year in the system. Neither Johnson nor Searcy can get too comfortable, however, as third-round pick Kevin Byard could challenge for a starting role right off the bat with a strong camp.

Beyond those competing to start, the most interesting battles might lie in sweepstakes for roster spots among the backups. Returning cornerbacks Blidi Wreh-Wilson, B.W. Webb and Cody Riggs will all have to earn their way back onto the roster in 2016 with free agent pickup Antwon Blake and rookie corners LeShaun Sims and Kalan Reed expected to be heavily in the mix for backup spots.

The competition at safety might not be quite as fierce as there are fewer numbers. Byard and Daimion Stafford would be appear to have a leg up for now for the top backup spots with Marqueston Huff battling converted corner Curtis Riley and undrafted rookie LaMarcus Brutus for what would probably be the final safety spot.

Special teams play will also factor in for those vying for backup spots.

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