Mike Vrabel comment on nickel position serves to explain move away from Logan Ryan

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – If you’ve been holding out hope that Logan Ryan will reappear on the Titans’ radar after the draft if they don’t sufficiently replenish at corner, let it go.  

The most telling personnel clue that came out of a 45-minute session Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel held with the press Monday was about how they have come to regard to nickel position.RyanChargers19

And Ryan doesn’t fit the revised definition. [Unlocked]

Vrabel said a slot corner still has to be able to cover a speed tight end, play man and zone and to blitz.

“And more so now to be able to match up on some vertical routes inside,” he said. “I think for so long, in the slot there was this horizontal thought -- that guys had to work defenses horizontally.

“And now we’re seeing a lot more vertical routes that are coming out of the slot so I think that is something that is always a challenge when you are looking for players that do all those things and do them very well.”

In his three years with the Titans, Ryan was predominantly a horizontal corner, and often a very good one.

But while the Titans rated their secondary as a team strength, it’s clear they are refurbishing the cornerback slot beyond Adoree’ Jackson and Malcolm Butler, and Butler’s contract and age indicate he could be heading into his final season.

Gone are Ryan, LeShaun Sims (Bengals), Tye Smith (who the Titans could have kept as a restricted free agent) and Tramaine Brock.

The Titans have consistently said – and shown -- they are about production and measurables might not be weighted in a way that offset something like pass breakups. (See Amik Robertson.)

apple icon 144x144 precomposedI imagine there will be two corners coming out of a draft that begins with seven picks, three in the seventh round. And in the chaos that is undrafted free agency, they will be seeking more speed at corner.

Hopefully, Ryan still has a soft landing elsewhere. He brings a ton to a locker room, and while he may give up too many catches, he’s a tremendous fighter and competitor who’s got a versatile game. He was one of the best Titans ever at explaining how things worked on the team's defense.

He’s spoken freely about eventually becoming a safety. If the rest of the league is thinking like Vrabel about the slot as a more vertical position, maybe Ryan’s position change is sooner than later.

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