Jim Wyatt, Senior Writer/Editor, TitansOnline.com
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans general manager Jon Robinson had a plan heading into free agency, and he was a busy man out of the gate.
Since March 9, the Titans have officially signed five players from other teams, while also re-signing three of their own players.
“I think we are a better football now than we were when we started the process,’’ Robinson said. “We added some good football players to the team.
“There’s still some pretty good football players out there, and we are working through our list. If it makes sense to add them to our football team, then we’ll try and get those guys in here and talk to them, too.”
During the first wave of free agency, the Titans have officially signed cornerback Logan Ryan (Patriots), safety Jonathan Cyprien (Jaguars), returner Eric Weems (Falcons), safety Brynden Trawick (Raiders) and linebacker Daren Bates (Raiders).
The team also reached deals with three of their own: Defensive lineman Karl Klug, linebacker Nate Palmer and tight end Phillip Supernaw.
“Logan has a nice track record, good ball production,’’ Robinson said of the former Patriots cornerback, who has a pair of Super Bowl rings. “He’s smart, tough. He’s played outside corner, he’s played inside corner. He’s a solid tackler, really good production on the ball.”
“Cyprien is a tough, physical player. He battles in coverage, he can jam those tight ends and bang with them down the field. He’s a big hitter, a good tackler, is a physical presence.”
With Weems, Trawick and Bates, Robinson said the Titans helped themselves significantly on special teams.
“Bates is violent, and fast,’’ Robinson said. “He really takes pride in being a factor or special teams.
“(Trawick) is a big safety — he can run. He’s a physical guy. He’s a core player in the kicking game and he has some defensive value, too. He matched up some in man coverage vs. tight ends in the Houston game and in the Denver game. I thought he played pretty good in both of those games defensively.”
As for Weems, a 10-year veteran, Robinson said he’s versatile.
“He is a tough football player, and he has good play speed,” Robinson said of Weems. “The thing that we liked about Eric is he is certainly a returner first, but he also plays on the coverage units and can give us some value on kickoff cover, on punt cover. He has been a personal protector on punts before. So when you are looking at constructing the roster for game day he gives you an extra player, if you will, that can help you on other phases of special teams and not just in the return game.”
Robinson acknowledged the Titans were in on trade discussions with the Saints for receiver Brandin Cooks.
“We had some discussions with New Orleans on that and in the end they struck a deal with New England with him,’’ Robinson said. “Sometimes things work out and sometimes things don’t work out.”
Robinson said the Titans could still add a receiver, however.
This year’s draft class is loaded with talented prospects at the position.
“I think we’ll certainly look at that position group,’’ Robinson said of the receivers. “Last year we added Rishard Matthews and Tajae (Sharpe) and they both did a nice job for us. And you have to factor (tight end) Delanie Walker in the passing game as well. He is going to get his fair share of balls thrown at him. So if there’s a receiver out there that can help us, and get open and catch the ball, whenever that is in the draft we’ll certainly look at that.”
This time last year, Robinson reminded, the Titans face plenty of holes that weren’t addressed until later in the offseason. The Titans selected several key players in the NFL Draft, claimed guard Josh Kline off waivers and made a trade for veteran linemen Dennis Kelly. Safety Rashad Johnson was added in the second half of March.
The Titans currently have eight picks in the upcoming draft, including the fifth and 18th overall picks in the first round.
“We have a big team building part of the offseason coming up next month with the draft,’’ Robinson said. “I am glad we have all those picks and we’ll try and be as active in acquiring players that can help the football team win, whether that’s staying where we are at and picking who we think can have the most impact on the team, or moving around in the draft and positioning ourselves to add a player who can have an impact on the team and picking up an extra pick so we can get another player.
“We will exhaust all measures that are available to us to try and improve the team.”