Chris Johnson’s high hopes for this season are nothing new. He’s been talking about them since last season ended.
He revisited them Tuesday with Adam Schefter, but I expect Titans’ faithful will be more interested in some of Schefter’s other observations from Nashville, particularly this one:
"Tennessee might have more good, unknown players than any other team in the league.
"Left guard Leroy Harris, the former North Carolina State standout who will be in his first year as a full-time starter, will play his way into the Pro Bowl at some point soon. Harris has been waiting on the bench (he started one game at offensive tackle last season) and is drawing comparisons to some of the top offensive linemen in franchise history.
"Defensive tackle Jason Jones, picked one round after the Titans drafted Johnson, has recovered from his shoulder injury and will be one of the top three-technique tackles in football.
"Linebacker Gerald McRath is replacing Keith Bulluck -- a 10-year Titan now with the New York Giants. Even though McRath must serve a four-game suspension for a violation of the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances, Tennessee is expecting its 2009 fourth-round pick to excel the way he did last season, when he had 38 tackles and an interception.
"Outside of Tennessee, few know their names. Soon enough, football fans will."
If we accept Schefter’s list of three unknown Titans, what kind of comparative lists can we form for the other three teams of the division?
Here’s my stab, excluding rookies as they are too unknown:
I’d rank those trios in this order:
But it’s hard to talk about three guys who played in the Super Bowl as unknown, so maybe we should have disqualified the Colts and made it a three-team list.