The Titans are looking at veteran defensive backs, and it seems there are two categories under consideration: corners who can add depth and physical safety types who can add some depth and contribute on special teams.
I asked Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. for his assessment of the four names that have surfaced:
Cornerback Tye Hill
Williamson: “A former first-round pick who is physically gifted, especially from a pure speed perspective, He is the guy with the most upside of the ones you mentioned, but his recognition skills are very suspect and he doesn't offer a lot vs. the run.”
Cornerback Ken Lucas
Williamson: “He was a guy that I was high on. Much bigger than Hill and has at least been successful at this level, but he had a pretty bad year in Seattle -- although he wasn't helped much by a pass rush. Still, he might be done.”
Safety Aaron Rouse
Williamson: “Rouse is a big strong safety type. He had some good (and bad) moments with the Packers and then by default, got a lot of playing time for the Giants last year, where he was a liability in coverage. He needs to be near the line of scrimmage and is tight in the hips and in transition.”
While Williamson was aware of Tra Battle, who played in the UFL, he said he doesn’t have any insight on Battle’s recent play.
If I am the Titans, if I can get Hill or Lucas inexpensively, I’d jump. Neither has the complete résumé the team would want in its second starter, but you don’t find well-rounded players in this stage of free agency. I’d lean toward Hill on youth.
If they has Rod Hood, Hill or Lucas, Ryan Mouton, Jason McCourty and a draft pick, that’s a pretty good pool from which to find a starter to play opposite Cortland Finnegan and to have sufficient options for when (it’s rarely "if," anymore) that starter or Finnegan go down for a stretch.
As for safety, Rouse or Battle is unlikely to line up as Chris Hope’s successor and it would be good if that extra safety was a young guy with more upside. It Titans should have a third safety who could step in if something happens to Hope or Michael Griffin, because pulling Vincent Fuller away from the nickel spot would weaken them there.