NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans found themselves in need of help at inside linebacker after former starter Avery Williamson signed a three-year contract worth $22.5 million with the New York Jets on March 18. Fortunately for the Titans, veteran inside linebacker Will Compton was available.
Compton signed a one-year contract worth $1.25 million with Tennessee a few weeks later. With 2018 first-round pick Rashaan Evans out for much of the offseason with an undisclosed injury, Compton has been a steady veteran presence at inside linebacker for Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel as he works to build a new culture.
"We want everybody that we bring in here to be as professional as possible as quickly as possible," Vrabel said. "We have a lot of examples on this football team, guys that are able to figure out what their edge is in this game and have been able to maintain it. I can point to a lot guys on this football team who have figured it out and are eager to help the younger guys."
Compton has been one of those guys. His diligence in film study and astute understanding of the game has allowed him to integrate himself into the locker room and earn the respect of his teammates.
Said Vrabel: "He's been a great teammate. Everybody appreciates him. He's a very knowledgeable player that rarely makes the same mistake twice. Once you show him something he usually gets it pretty good."
As a former undrafted free agent with the Washington Redskins, Compton saw how little tolerance coaches have for players who repeatedly make on-field mistakes. Compton's sense of urgency kept him ready to take advantage of any opportunity. It was that mindset that took him from the practice squad in 2014 to starting in place of injured linebacker Perry Riley in Week 6 of 2015.
Compton is in communication with other members of the defense before plays, often calling out what the offense is about to do. He points to the game within the game as something he loves. Planning and preparation give him a thrill. Thoroughly understanding the defense and getting other players at his position to grasp it is equally exhilarating.
"I enjoy helping," Compton said. "I just have a passion for it, inspiring guys, helping lead guys. That's part of the deal being a vet. You have to understand stuff and make sure the guys behind you, the guys younger than you understand the same thing. I always enjoy progressing myself and bringing someone else along."
The Titans can benefit from Compton's passion for helping others once Evans returns to the lineup. If Evans has any questions regarding the defense, Compton will be a mentor.
"He's been in the league for more than four years," Evans said. "For me to be a rookie and for him to be a vet, he sees a lot of things that I don't see.
"It's rare that you find guys that are able to actually teach, especially with the competition in the film room. He doesn't have to teach, but the fact that he does that, it just tells you the type of ... player that he is."