NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- This week we count down the Titans' top five bedrock players.
These are the team's foundational pieces that general manager Ruston Webster and coach Ken Whisenhunt can build around.
We'll count down from fifth to first day by day.
1) Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey.
A second team All-Pro, it surprised many that Casey didn't also earn a Pro Bowl spot.
He was healthier in 2013 and was the Titans' most consistent and disruptive member of the defensive front.
Casey led the Titans with 10.5 sacks, a giant number for a 4-3 defensive tackle. He was also sixth on the team with 90 tackles, according to statistics kept by the Titans.
The Titans are moving toward a hybrid 3-4 front under new defensive coordinator Ray Horton. Horton will surely find the most favorable ways to use the 6-foot-1, 301-pound Casey, who I'd imagine will be an end when the Titans use just three down lineman.
Tennessee isn't going to ask linemen to account for two gaps, which is a smart move because it could have taken away Casey's best talent, which is penetration into the backfield.
He's an outspoken and confident player with swagger, an ingredient every team and locker room needs. If the Titans can get a better edge rusher and make offenses account for other guys and a variety of blitzes, Casey can be even better.
The Titans would be wise to lock him up long term before the start of the 2014 season, the final year of his rookie contract.
ESPN.com's resident scout Matt Williamson says: “Casey has quietly become one of the top defensive tackles in the league and is only improving. He does it all from rushing the passer to clogging up the run. He is a star.”