LDE is becoming more of a priority for the Titans

I doubt if Titans d-line coach Jim Washburn has been sleeping as well lately as he would have liked.
This afternoon I heard from Tennessean beat writer Jim Wyatt on the free agency front about the status of Tennessee’s left defensive ends. It’s not good news for Wash or for Titans fans.
The agent for Antwan Odom says he has not yet received an offer from the Titans. Seems to me that Tennessee GM Mike Reinfeldt thinks other teams are about to overvalue him, as I opined earlier in my positional review of the DEs. Has Reinfeldt resigned himself to the strong possibility of another team offering stupid money to him?
Travis LaBoy’s brother, who is also his agent, has said in so many words that Reinfeldt made an offer to them which was not acceptable.
It looks like neither Odom nor LaBoy will be signed before Thursday night’s free agency deadline, which leaves a gaping hole (pun not really intended) at the left defensive end spot.
So where will the Titans go from there?
There’s not really anybody on the potential free agent market that I see as much of an improvement (for a reasonable price) over Odom or LaBoy. Could one of them prove to be an adequate, though not great replacement?
I don’t see anyone on the current roster who could fill the bill. Bryce Fisher, Sean Conover and Kevin Vickerson are not the answers.
That leaves the draft. A first day pick seems to be the best answer but the highest rated ones will be gone before the Titans select with the 24th pick. Assuming that neither Alge Crumpler nor Donte’ Stallworth are acquired in free agency, the Titans may very well use their first two picks on a receiver and tight end, which means that the team wouldn’t be able to select a defensive end until the third round. That’s assuming, of course, Mike Reinfeldt drafts according to need rather than best player available.
NFLDraft101 projects six DEs as first-round draft picks, but only four more in the second and third rounds.
If the Titans elect to select a player earlier than the third round, you can read brief profiles about the top seven candidates right here on MVN’s NFL Draft University. Several of those DEs will be available when the Titans draft at #24 and a couple should still be on the board when it’s the Titans’ turn to select in Round Two.
I’m not all that excited about the possibility of even a first-round draft pick making much of a difference. I haven’t seen a rookie DE having an immediate impact in the league since Tennessee drafted OLB Jevon Kearse and converted him into a DE. Of course, a rookie might still be able to perform well enough to not be too much of a dropoff or not to be considered as too much of a liability.
Is there another freak in the draft and will the Titans use their first round pick to select him?
I doubt it, but I’d like to hear your thoughts.

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