The middle linebacker spot hasn’t been addressed in the draft by the team higher than the fourth round in the last ten years. Last year they selected Stephen Tulloch in the fourth round at the 116th overall selection. Previously Peter Sirmon was selected in the 200 draft in the fourth round and the 128th overall selection. With the apparent strength of many defenses around the league this might be the year that the team goes after a marquis name in the draft.
Second year player Stephen Tulloch (5’-11” 235) played in all 16 games last season and earned starts at middle linebacker against the Jaguars, Ravens and the Giants. He totaled 37 tackles, .5 sack and 1 interception. Tulloch was a key player on special teams where he had 17 tackles and a fumble recovery. He showed himself to be a capable player and the potential for improvement.
With the addition of Ryan Fowler (6’-3” 250) from the Dallas Cowboys earlier this month the position was strengthened in depth for the future. Fowler a four veteran of the league has been a regular special team’s player and reserve linebacker since he was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2004 from Duke. Fowler is expected to be the leader right now to start in the middle for the Titans, but he lacks any consistent starting experience in the league. While with Dallas he started in three games and totaled 21 tackles over his three years with the team.
With the chance to go after players like Patrick Willis, Buster Davis and David Harris who would be available in early rounds this could be the year the team goes after that type player. Patrick Willis (6’-1” 242) is the top rated middle linebacker in the draft; he has been an all SEC performer as well as All-American since his junior year. Over the last two years he led Ole Miss in tackles with 137 as a senior and 128 as a junior. He should be able to come in and compete for a starting role at the middle slot on just about any team in the league.
Florida State prospect Buster Davis (5’-10” 239) or Michigan’s David Harris (6’-3” 243) both appear to be players that are capable of stepping in as a rookie as well. It will be interesting where the Titans decided to select a middle linebacker in the draft, but it will definitely have to be high on the agenda of this year’s draft strategy.