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New Tennessee Titans LB Monty Rice: How he fits

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After a trade down with the Green Bay Packers, the Tennessee Titans selected Georgia linebacker Monty Rice with the 92nd pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. This was a big shock to many, but not a complete surprise.

Both Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans will be free agents in 2021 (assuming Evans' fifth-year option is declined).

Realistically, one of them could potentially return in 2022 and beyond, but selecting Rice gives the team a security blanket should they be forced to let both go after the 2021 season.

With all that said, let's take a closer look at why Rice could be an important part of Tennessee's future on defense.

Measurable values

Position: Linebackers

School: Georgia

Present year: Senior

Height: 6’1″

Weight: 235 pounds

Fit with the Titans

Rice is a slightly undersized linebacker who uses his speed to make plays from sideline to sideline. He is an effective cover linebacker who is rarely caught flat-footed.

One of the things that undoubtedly attracted Tennessee to Rice was his natural leadership abilities. He served as team captain in three games during the 2020 season and was often a vocal leader on the field, leading by example off it as well.

The Georgia native excels at run defense, has excellent feel for the ball and can fight through a group of players to get to the ball and make a play.

He consistently shows good explosion and close-range quickness, which helps him get into the backfield quickly to make a play.

According to PFF, Rice was the highest-rated blitzer in the entire 2021 draft class (91.7).

For all his potential, Rice will be thrust into a relatively deep linebacker room at Tennessee, which could ultimately push someone like Rashaan Evans out the door.

The Georgie product will likely spend this year as a rotation player, but has the potential to develop into a crucial part of this defense down the road.

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