Another year, another training camp battle at one of the starting cornerback positions for the Tennessee Titans.
In 2010, Jason McCourty was the initial winner in the starting opposite of Cortland Finnegan sweepstakes. However, an injury to J-Mac provided upstart rookie Alterraun Verner with the opportunity to grab the starting spot that he kept for the remainder of the season.
Fast-forward to 2011 and once again, Verner and McCourty will be waging a ferocious training camp war to determine who will line up alongside Finnegan at starting CB.
Personally, I don’t think the Titans can go wrong regardless of who wins the competition. Both McCourty and Verner are talented guys who were mid-to-late round draft picks who are hard workers that don’t take anything for granted.
Despite being selected several rounds lower than fellow ’09 CB draftee Ryan Mouton, it’s been McCourty who has emerged as a factor in the team’s defensive backfield rotation. As for Verner, not alot was expected when he was selected in the fourth round of the 2010 draft but once OTAs started, it was obvious to everyone that he was a magnet for the football and despite his diminutive stature, he was oozing with playmaking potential that would be wasted if he sat on the bench.
If he wins the competition, I like what McCourty brings to the table in terms of his size/speed combination. He’s got some wheels and at 6’0″, he’s a bigger corner who may do a better job of matching up with the Andre Johnsons of the world.
As for Verner, despite being shorter, he wreaks havoc as a result of his tendency to always be around the football. Whether it’s via defending/intercepting passes, making tackles or forcing/recovering fumbles, Verner always seems to be in the middle of the action.
Regardless of who wins the competition, I think it’s safe to say that both players will see an ample amount of playing time. It’s a luxury, not a hinderance, to have two hard-working, young and talented players who have starting ability at the cornerback position.
As for the winner of the competition, I’ll place my bets on Verner. I can live with his lack of size as long as he continues to make plays for the defense.
Any predictions on who will emerge as the winner of this year’s McCourty vs. Verner battle? Feel free to provide your opinions below.