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L'Jarius Sneed and Chidobe Awuzie greatly improve the Titans' defense

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Highlights

  • The Tennessee Titans have overhauled their defense and focused on cornerbacks with L'Jarius Sneed and Chidobe Awuzie.
  • Franchise stars like Derrick Henry are gone, but the CB trio of Sneed, Awuzie and Roger McCreary is top notch.
  • While the Titans' cornerback group is strong, some NFL teams still have a better unit.


This was an offseason full of huge changes for the Tennessee Titans, capped by the departure of longtime franchise star Derrick Henry. They also made a head coach change: Mike Vrabel left and Brian Callahan took over. Second-year quarterback Will Levis is expected to assume the role of quarterback for the Titans and will have the keys to the offense without a safety net for the first time in his career.

The Titans made several big moves in free agency, bringing in Calvin Ridley and Lloyd Cushenberry on huge dollar deals. But the most impressive aspect of Tennessee's offseason was how the front office handled the cornerback room, adding star L'Jarius Sneed and another strong player in Chidobe Awuzie.

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The Titans secondary wasn't good enough last season

Two of the team's best cornerbacks have since been replaced

Roger McCreary breaks up a pass for the Titans
Denny Simmons / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK


The Titans have invested significant resources in their cornerback room over the years, investing a first-round pick in Caleb Farley in 2021, a second-round pick in Roger McCreary in 2022 and another second-round pick in Kristian Fulton in 2020.

Last year's Tennessee secondary was a mediocre unit. While McCreary played well for Tennessee, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Kristian Fulton weren't as good. Fulton allowed a 114.1 rating to quarterbacks throwing his way and Murphy-Bunting allowed a 91.8 rating. The Titans defense only intercepted six passes all of last season.

Tennessee Titans cornerback stats for 2023

player

Completion % allowed

TDs allowed

Passerby assessment permitted

Interception

Kristian Fulton

75.5

1

114.1

0

Roger McCreary

71.6

0

85.3

1

Sean Murphy Bunting

63.2

2

91.8

2


Of the top three cornerbacks in 2023, Roger McCreary is the only player left. Murphy-Bunting was able to sign a three-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals and Fulton left the Titans for a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Titans have overhauled their defensive backfield

The team added one of the league's best cornerbacks in L'Jarius Sneed

L'Jarius Sneed, cornerback for the Kansas City Chiefs
Photo credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

A fourth-round draft pick in 2020, Sneed continued to get better for the Kansas City Chiefs. The cornerback, who has regularly played big games for the Chiefs, had a stunning year in his 2023 run.


Sneed often went up against the other team's top players and was as good as anyone in the NFL last season. Opposing quarterbacks completed only 51% of the passes thrown to him. In 2023, Sneed also intercepted two passes and did not allow a touchdown pass.

Titans 2023 New Cornerbacks Stats

player

Completion % allowed

TDs allowed

Passerby assessment permitted

Interception

L'Jarius Sneed

51.0

0

56.2

2

Chidobe Awuzie

63.2

4

113.5

0

While the Chiefs gave Sneed the franchise tag, they did so with the expectation that they would trade him. That trade fell through in late March when the Titans acquired the cornerback for a third-round pick and a seventh-round pick swap. The team then signed him to a four-year, $76.4 million contract.

Before becoming head coach of the Titans, Brian Callahan worked as the offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals. On the first day of free agency, Tennessee signed a player who had spent his last three seasons in Cincinnati, Chidobe Awuzie. The cornerback received a three-year contract worth $36 million.


Awuzie had a poor season for the Bengals in 2023, as he allowed four touchdowns and intercepted no passes. However, in the past he was a dynamic cornerback who regularly got his hands on the ball. Awuzie allowed just 38% of the passes attempted against him in 2022, and he recorded 14 passes defended in both the 2019 and 2021 seasons.

They're close, but still behind some other teams

Ahmad Gardner at the 2023 Pro Bowl
Photo credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With Sneed, Awuzie and McCreary, the Tennessee Titans now have one of the best cornerback trios in all of football and are on the verge of having the best cornerback trio in the league. However, there are still some teams with a better unit.


The Miami Dolphins cut Xavien Howard this offseason but still have plenty of talent at CB. Jalen Ramsey remains one of the best cornerbacks in the league. Kader Kohou, the team's solid cornerback, will also be back. The team also signed Kendall Fuller to replace Howard, who was the fourth-best cornerback in the NFL last season according to Pro Football Focus.

The Buffalo Bills also have three corners rated highly by PFF. Midway through last year's season, the team traded for Rasul Douglas, one of the best cornerbacks in the league. Christian Benford was selected in the sixth round of the 2022 draft but has been playing for the Bills since day one. Not to mention Taron Johnson, the Bills' slot corner, who continues to impress.


The best cornerback in the NFL probably belongs to the New York Jets. Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, who made first-team All-Pro in each of his first two seasons. DJ Reed, who plays on the other side of the field, only allowed 58% of the passes thrown his way last year. Additionally, PFF rated slot corner Michael Carter II as the 13th best cornerback in the league last year.

All in all, the Titans still have a long way to go before they are considered one of the best defensive units in the league, but their recent offseason moves are certainly a step in the right direction.

All stats come from Pro Football Reference and all contract numbers come from Spotrac unless otherwise noted.

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