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Titans Offseason Positional Analysis – Cornerbacks

Tennessee’s pass defense ranked 25th in touchdown passes allowed last year and was 27th in passing yards allowed with 3,602. Part of this can be attributed to a weak pass rush (29th in sacks), part to inconsistent safety play, and part due to poor cornerback play.
One side of the field is in good shape for the 2007 campaign, but the other side needs help, either in free agency or the draft. If a quality starting corner isn’t acquired via free agency, the Titans should wait no later than the second round to draft someone.
Six Titans are currently listed as cornerbacks on the roster:
Pacman Jones – After a promising rookie year, Jones improved his game last season, especially in zone coverages. He collected four interceptions, one for a touchdown, and was solid in run support with 50 tackles. Capable of playing either side of the field, Pacman switched to the left side midway through last year.
Reynaldo Hill – After a good rookie year, Hill’s play dropped off last year and he became an occasional liability, especially in the first part of the season. His cover skills are decent, but he often gives too much cushion and has trouble covering comeback routes. Hill also needs some improvement with his ball skills.
Andre Woolfolk – Tennessee’s first-round draft pick in 2003, Woolfolk was injured much of his first two years and didn’t see much playing time. He finally got, and then lost, a starting job in 2005. Woolfolk’s a better nickelback than he is playing outside on the corner. This is the final year on Woolfolk’s contract and he’ll probably stick around one more year as backup depth again.
Cortland Finnegan – The most pleasant surprise of last year’s draft, Finnegan began the season as the starting nickelback, where he played most of the year. He also had one start at corner, where he played fairly well. If the Titans are unable to pick up a good free agent corner, Finnegan is an option to move from his nickel position. He’s a tough little tackler with 4.33 speed.
Eric King – A waiver-wire pickup last fall, I don’t recall seeing King get any playing time at corner. He did appear in 11 games on special teams.
Michael Waddell – Another nickelback listed as a corner, Waddell has been a disappointment. He had only limited playing time his first two seasons and missed all of last year with a non-football knee injury. Nicknamed “Rabbit” for his speed, Waddell has had difficulties in coverage and didn’t pan out as a return specialist. This is the final year on his contract too.
King and Waddell look to be expendable and Woolfolk could be in danger of losing his job if a rookie shows potential.
I’d like to see the Titans pick up someone in free agency. Nate Clements and Asante Samuel are at the top of the lists of every team that can afford them. Tory James and David Macklin will be less expensive and will also garner some interest. I’ll address these and more free agent prospects in later articles.