The arrival of Marcus Mariota in Tennessee is cause for much optimism, but if the Titans are to improve on last season's 2-14 record, they'll need contributions from others besides their rookie quarterback.
On defense, the arrival of former Pittsburgh Steelers coordinator Dick LeBeau as assistant head coach/defense will help upgrade a unit that finished 27th overall and 31st against the run in 2014. The Titans have a pair of outside linebackers in Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan who should thrive under LeBeau's tutelage, but the team also has another linebacker coming off a promising rookie season, who looks ready to break out in his second year:
Avery Williamson, LB
A fifth-round pick out of the University of Kentucky in 2014, Williamson was a rare bright spot for the Titans last season. The 23-year-old inside linebacker was surprisingly productive when given a chance to play, starting the final 12 games of the season and finishing with 79 tackles, three sacks and two fumble recoveries.
This season, with a year of experience, Williamson should progress beyond being known as an unexpected contributor. He put on 10 pounds over the offseason to deal with the rigors of playing in the NFL and has some clear-cut goals in mind.
"I'm ready for some accolades," Williams said earlier this summer, via 247Sports. "I want to make the Pro Bowl."
LeBeau had a long track record of developing star linebackers during his time with Steelers. Williamson has the talent to be the next in line.
Photo credit: Andrew Weber/USA TODAY Sports
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