Tennessee Titans Positional analysis: CB


The latest installment of our ongoing series of positional analyses will take a look at how the Tennessee Titans stack up at cornerback.

The team appears to be in good hands at the starting CB spots, which are manned by emerging stud Cortland “Feisty” Finnegan and solid vet Nick Harper. However, outside of those two, there’s a motley crew of vets and youngsters that will be competing for spots behind the starters.

The offseason ushered in the departures of Chris Carr and Eric King, two guys who were solid backups at the CB position in 2008. As we approach 2009, let’s ponder the following question: Will the likes of rookie Ryan Mouton, oft-injured Cary Williams and oft-toasted DeMarcus Faggins help replenish the depth that was lost via free agency?

My answer to that question and more…after the jump. 

The First-Teamers

Cortland Finnegan
is a testament to how far hard work, dedication and the will to achieve can take you in the NFL. Arriving into the league via a humble beginning as a seventh-round draft selection, Finny has quickly become one of the league’s best cover corners.

In addition to his excellent cover skills, the diminutive yet daunting Finnegan isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty by stepping up and making tackles in run support.

Finny is a complete corner and is without question one of the team’s brightest stars.

Veteran Nick Harper will turn 35 as the ’09 NFL season begins. Though aging, he’s still a solid cover guy who should provide the Titans with at least another year of adequate service.

The guys with something to prove

The next two corners are players who will have to answer the question marks that surround their chances of making an impact in ’09.

Second-year CB Cary Williams has to prove that he can stay healthy over the course of an entire season. His rookie year was permeated with nagging ailments that prevented him from playing for most of 2008.

Williams is a talented guy with a nice combination of size/speed, and if he’s able to stay healthy, could compete for some playing time in ’09.

The question mark surrounding newcomer DeMarcus Faggins is whether or not he can be an effective corner. During his days as a Houston Texan, “Petey” was known for being an inconsistent player, which is probably a compliment compared to what many Texan fans have said about him.

Hopefully, a change of scenery can lead to better results for Petey as a Titan.

The Rookies

Ryan Mouton is an undersized but talented corner who was selected in the third round of this year’s NFL Draft. In addition to his solid ball skills, Mouton’s also versatile enough to be in the running as a returner on special teams.

Like Mouton, Jason McCourty is also one of the team’s rookie corners who will be competing for a roster spot in ’09. Similar to Mouton, McCourty is also one of the guys vying for a role on special teams as a returner.

Barring injuries to the vets in front of them, 2009 should serve as a developmental year for both Mouton and McCourty.

The Underdogs

Tanard Davis has been cut by five teams since arriving in the NFL in 2006. There’s a good chance that the Titans will become the sixth team to introduce Davis to the Turk later this month.

Rookie Jeremy Haynes was signed as an undrafted free agent in April. Making the team’s practice squad should be his primary goal.

Other guys who could see time at cornerback but weren’t mentioned in this article are nickelback extraordinaire Vince Fuller and Tuff Harris, who is listed as a safety on the team’s depth chart.

Your turn Titan fans…What are your thoughts regarding the CB position?  


12 Responses to “Tennessee Titans Positional analysis: CB”

  1. Dave Says:

    I think Faggins will benefit from the way the Titans approach secondary play. He doesn’t have to be in press coverage every single time he’s on the field. The Titans brass were obviously familiar with him and knew exactly what they were “buying”.
    Tanard Davis has had an excellent camp thus far according to everything I’ve seen and read.
    Whatever happens, I’m sure the team will do what it deems best. I have faith that they will keep the best of them and let the rest walk ( or practice squad). Just about every coach on the Titans was a DB so if they can develop anyone, it should be db’s…lol

  2. Titan Fan in SF Says:

    I am a big fan of Cortland Finnegan and admire his hard work and toughness on the field. For this season opener I am brewing a beer call ‘Feisty’ Finnegan’s Red Ale.

  3. Morgan Says:

    Well, im still a little ripped that D.J Moore, one of our Vanderbilt boys, lasted all the way to the 4th round and the titans didn’t pull the trigger. On top of that he ended up getting drafted by the Bears. He could have come in fighting for a spot behind Harper/Finnegan and took over once Harper calls it quits.
    One thing i am happy for is locking down Finnegan to a long term deal. Harper is getting old but as you stated, he can still play ball. Outside of those two, I think the titans are hurting. Mouton may play a part in a couple of years, but as a rookie, i doubt he will see much time.
    Unless the Titans sign one more CB i think the number three and four spots go to Williams and Faggins. I hope we aren’t looking to play alot of formations with 3 or 4 CBs, because Williams is shaky at best and Faggins…….
    Dont get me started on Faggins. I’ve watched to many Texans games.

  4. Johnathan Says:

    If D.J. Moore was such a guaranteed success then why did he get passed over by 32 teams for 4 rounds? Of course, I guess playing in Nashville means he will be a superstar…

  5. Bob Loblaw Says:

    It sounds like Williams looked good tonight in practice. I’m hoping Williams, Mouton, McCourty and Davis all play well enough that Faggins isn’t even a consideration when it’s time for final cuts. Supposedly Mouton has also looked good, so I wouldn’t sweat not getting Moore.

  6. Morgan Says:

    What part of “He could have come in fighting for a spot behind Harper/Finnegan” did you see as me calling him a guaranteed success? Nobody coming out of any draft is a guaranteed success.
    “I guess playing in Nashville means he will be a superstar…” If you say so lol because i never said anything like that.

  7. Andrew Strickert Says:

    I’m a subscriber to the expectation the Titans will play more man and less zone this year. With that in mind, it puts more emphasis on one of the young guys to develop as Harper’s replacement.
    Faggins is Fisher’s insurance policy, the veteran who’s been there, done that, and the Titans know what they’ll have if the youngsters don’t pan out.
    Mouton is mainly being used as Fuller’s backup at nickel.
    Davis’ camp is being overrated. He’s made some picks but that doesn’t mean he’s played well overall.
    I’ve forgotten the guy’s name, but Davis reminds me of him in that the guy had an INT a day for a couple of days. He didn’t even make the practice squad but his name was out there for a little while just because he had a few picks. If memory serves he was the UDFA from MTSU several years ago.

  8. Drexel Perry Says:

    As always, thanks for commenting guys.
    I like Cary Williams and the speed/size he brings to the table. He’s a physical guy who can tackle in run support while matching up with bigger receivers in the passing game.
    It would be great if he’s able to step up, stay healthy and be a contributor in ’09.
    Davis is the type of underdog you root for, especially considering his previous track record with him failing to stick in the league.
    Going to be interesting to see how these guys respond on Sunday night.

  9. Johnathan Says:

    I am saying, people, not just you Morgan, wanted the Titans to take D.J. Moore because he played at Vandy, not because they can unbiasedly say that he was going to be a great player. This is why a guy that people around Nashville said would be a first rounder, maybe early second, falls that far in the draft. When you step back, he is not fast and not big and in the league you need one of those two. And if you didn’t feel like those people, why would you still be irked about a 4th round pick 3 months later?

  10. Morgan Says:

    Im gonna have to agree with what you say Johnathan, alot of people in Nashville wanted the titans to take him solely because he was from Vandy and you do need a guy with speed and size. The part that irked me was the titans needed a CB who can step in this year or next year to play for Harper when he is injured or retired.
    Moore was still out there when they took Mouton who had six tackles for loss, one interception, eight pass breakups and two forced fumbles as a Nickle Back, not a Corner Back. Moore who is basicly the same size (1 inch taller) had caused and recovered a fumble, broke up seven passes and tied his career-high with six interceptions.
    I really do hope Mouton has a great career, but i have watch Moore and i know he can play.

  11. Andrew Strickert Says:

    Regarding the Mouton/Moore discussion, the Titans were familiar with both players. They scouted both, brought Moore in for a visit and a few days before the draft they sent DB coach Marcus Robertson to go work Mouton out. They obviously liked Mouton better but that’s not to say they didn’t like Moore too.
    You guys are both right. Moore’s size hurt his draft stock and when he wasn’t able to turn in a good 40 time, his stock really fell. Was that the reason the Titans didn’t draft him? Who knows, but it didn’t help.

  12. strangely enough Says:

    So, what’s the O/U for how many games Harper plays? Granted, I think I said something similar about Kearse last year and he surprised me in that respect, but given the last couple years, it seems likely he’ll miss at least a game.
    I figured Faggins would have the edge on the number three spot given his veteran status, but Williams seems to be progressing despite last year.

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