Titans 2023 Training Camp Preview: A Look at the Defensive Line

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TRAINING CAMP PREVIEW: DEFENSIVE LINE

In camp (10): DT Jeffery Simmons, DL Denico Autry, DT Teair Tart, DT Naquan Jones, DT Jayden Peevy, DT Curtis Brooks, DT Shakel Brown, DT Jaleel Johnson, NT Tyler Shelvin, DT TK McLendon Jr.

Offseason developments: The Titans locked up Simmons on a contract extension, which was one of the team’s biggest priorities. Tart signed his tender, and reported for work, and the team signed Johnson during the offseason to compete on the d-line. Peevy and Brooks signed futures contracts early in the offseason, and returned to the mix, and Shelvin also joined the fold in late January on a futures deal as well. Brown and McLendon signed with the team as an undrafted free agents following the NFL Draft. Meanwhile, former Titans d-linemen DeMarcus Walker signed with the Bears, Kevin Strong signed with the Cardinals, and Mario Edwards signed with the Seahawks. Former Titans defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand hasn’t been re-signed by the team, and he remains a free agents.

In the spotlight: Simmons. A two-time Pro Bowler, Simmons has been one of the game’s most dominant players since entering the league as a first-round pick in 2019. Yes, he got paid. But no, he’s not about to relax. During the offseason, Simmons took time to let his injured ankle heal, and then he was back out there for OTAs and the minicamp. Simmons said he wants to take his game to the next level, and that could mean bigger and better things for the Titans defense this fall.

Battle to watch: Back-up spots. Simmons, Tart and Autry make up a pretty solid front, but there’s room for more big men on the 53. Johnson, a fourth-round pick of the Vikings in the 2017 NFL Draft who has spent time with four teams in his NFL career, has experience and potential to help. Peevy has also improved a good bit from a year ago, and Jones is a hard-working player with a good reputation. Others will also battle to get noticed, including one player I’ll mention next…

Keep an eye on: Shelvin. A former 2021 fourth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals out of LSU, Shelvin has little experience in the NFL. And when he signed a futures contact with the team in January, it didn’t make much of a ripple. But the 6-foot-3, 346-pound Shelvin lost some weight, and he showed up in Tennessee this offseason in shape. As a result, he got himself noticed during OTAs and minicamp, and he’ll head into training camp with some momentum.

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Source: TennesseeTitans.com

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