After four days of interviews and discussions at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, many things came to light regarding the Tennessee Titans — it's just that sorting speculation, fact and unfounded rumor is a workout in itself.A few days after watching hopeful athletes primp, parade and perform for NFL clubs and their talent evaluators, it's possible to share what I learned — or at least, what I think I learned:
1.) The Titans are about to undergo a major overhaul on the defensive side of the football and in the locker room. What I first suspected got closer to the truth every day in Indy — longtime stalwarts Keith Bulluck, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Kevin Mawae and others like them are much more likely to find jobs elsewhere this season.
Duh, you say? Listen — of the Titans 11 unrestricted free agents, the only one that looks to have a chance of returning might be Alge Crumpler, a big part of the rushing attack, and a guy Jeff Fisher said he would like to have finish his career in Tennessee.
2.) As for Vanden Bosch, the Titans profess interest, but since no major talks have materialized, it can be safely assumed that Tennessee's assessment of KVB's worth is far short of what agent Tony Agnone believes it is. In a limited free agent market at the defensive end position, Agnone may be right. Vanden Bosch is probably going to find himself one last big payday by moving on.
3.) Of the big three veteran free agents, shockingly, Bulluck might have the best shot of staying in Nashville. He is still rehabbing his repaired ACL in his left knee and might not sign anywhere for a bit, and the longer he stays on the free agent market, the better the Titans' chances to re-sign him.
4.) With Mawae's starting job already handed over to Leroy Harris, the 39-year-old veteran center is almost certainly a goner. He doesn't want to be a backup, so he will look around for a starting role. The one saving grace is that Mawae and his family love Nashville, maybe even enough to stay if no starting role materializes elsewhere.
5.) Golden Tate is going to make a lot of money. After running an impressive 4.36 time in the 40-yard dash, Tate answered one of the major questions about him. The former John Paul II High School and University of Notre Dame standout might just be the first wide receiver taken in April's NFL Draft.
6.) Mt. Juliet's Levi Brown really helped himself at The Combine. The former Troy quarterback was impressive in his session with the media, and apparently just as impressive in his work throwing the football on Sunday.
7.) Despite Brown's good impression, the Titans claim they are happy with their quarterback situation for now, though long-term there are questions. Tennessee will pay Vince Young's $4.25 million roster bonus next week, but still want one more season from him to prove himself.
Jeff Fisher said he expects Kerry Collins back, but it's interesting that the Titans apparently showed interest in both Brown and Ole Miss' QB Jevan Snead at The Combine. At the very least, the Titans could spend a late-round pick to groom themselves a young future backup (or starter, if Young were to regress).
8.) University of Tennessee's Eric Berry said he believes he's the best player available in this draft, and after Indy I'm not sure I can argue with him. Yes, Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska is dominant, but defensive tackles usually don't play as many snaps on defense as a safety. Safeties usually aren't top five picks, but Berry has game-changing potential like the Steelers' Troy Polamalu or Ravens' Ed Reed.
9.) Tim Tebow is genuine. In just the 10 to 15 minutes he met with the media, you could tell that Tebow's personality and strong Christian faith are the real deal. He knows where he stands and isn't afraid who knows it. Plus, he's one of those athletes blessed with the "it" quality that somehow transcends mere statistics and translates to wins.
10.) New York Jets coach Rex Ryan is a much-needed breath of fresh air. In a league full of coaches who are growing more stale and Bill Belichick-like every day, witnessing Ryan holding court with the media — joking, laughing and exuding extreme confidence — was refreshing.
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