Tennessee Titans: Potential Titans' target

The March 11 start of NFL free agency is almost upon us.

So this week we’ll look at 10 free agents I think should get a look from the Titans. It may wind up being nine. T.J. Ward was on my list, but as the Titans have re-signed Bernard Pollard, they won't be shopping for a strong safety.

So far we've looked at Jason Worilds and Brian Orakpo, and both of them got tagged and won't likely get offer sheets from the Titans.

Moving on, in no particular order ...

Joseph
Houston
Lamarr Houston, DE, Oakland

Age: 26

Drafted: Second-round pick by Oakland out of Texas in 2010.

Career: Four seasons with 64 games and 59 starts with 16.5 sacks.

2013: Started 16 games at right end in Oakland’s 4-3, with six sacks and two forced fumbles.

From ESPN Raiders reporter Paul Gutierrez: “Lamarr was a standout on the Raiders’ defensive line after making the switch to right defensive end from the left side. Four of his career-high six sacks came in the season’s first half. His strength is his motor, his weakness is he’s kind of a tweener in a 4-3 defense, not really stout enough to play inside every down, but not really an edge-rusher, either. The Raiders have said they want to keep him; he made noise after the season finale that he thinks the Raiders will move on from him and his skill set. Great locker-room guy. Silent and measured, as opposed to his on-field demeanor.”

From ESPN.com’s resident scout Matt Williamson: “There are not many defensive linemen like Houston. He excels as a base defensive end in a 4-3, can play end in a 3-4 and is an excellent interior pass-rusher on passing downs. An outstanding athlete for his size, Houston's best football might be ahead of him.”

PFF says: No. 6 edge defender.

My rationale: A great locker-room guy who can play end in a 4-3 or 3-4 and is only 26? I think he’s highly regarded by a lot of people around the league and will draw a lot of interest. The Titans should be in the field for him.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The start of free agency on March 11 is almost upon us.

Earlier Monday we began a look at 10 free agents who I think should get a look from the Titans.

We started with Pittsburgh outside linebacker Jason Worilds.

Our next candidate is Brian Orakpo.

The trouble here is, by day's end Orakpo is reportedly going to be slapped with the franchise tag, and the Titans can't and shouldn't pay two first-round picks (presuming the Redskins use the non-exclusive tag) to sign him away.

Orakpo
Brian Orakpo, OLB, Washington

Age: 27

Drafted: First-round pick by Washington out of Texas in 2009.

Career: Played in 64 games with 64 starts in five seasons with Washington and went to three Pro Bowls. Has 39.5 sacks, an interception, a touchdown, 16 passes defensed, six forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

2013: Started 15 games, recording 10.5 sacks with four passes defensed and two fumble recoveries.

From ESPN.com Redskins reporter John Keim: “I lean toward him staying. They really want him back; at least the coaches do. I know there’s some in the business side who don’t want to pay him $10 mil per. That said, I’ll put his return in perhaps the 60 percent range.

“He is very strong; loves bull rush or trying to win with his speed to the outside. Very good balance and can get low on the edge. Not explosive like Robert Mathis, but quick. Big knock is that he doesn’t have a lot of moves; he goes more by feel and it depends on who you ask whether or not that matters. Will occasionally show a spin move, but mostly in training camp workouts.

“Very strong and does well against the run. He has worked hard in that area and improved. Not great in coverage. Not his strength. In Washington’s D he drops into coverage 25 percent of the time, probably more than most pass-rushers.

“Good locker room guy. Passionate on the field and I think they missed that when he was hurt in 2012. I wouldn’t say he’s a great leader, but also wouldn’t say he’s afraid to speak up, etc. I’ve always gotten along with him and like him a lot.”

From ESPN.com resident scout Matt Williamson: "Orakpo is going to be very expensive, but he is a premier 3-4 outside linebacker that is a great pass-rusher. He is a proven commodity in the prime of his career."

PFF says: No. 3 edge defender.

My rationale: Probably my favorite guy coming available for what the Titans need. An effective, passionate pass-rusher rooted in a 3-4 scheme who can help transform the defensive front into what defensive coordinator Ray Horton surely wants in the long run. He'd be a piece of the foundation worth a significant investment.

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