Despite the need to add depth at defensive end in last week's NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans waited until the fifth-round to select a pass rusher, bypassing Bjoern Werner in the first-round and others such as Tank Carradine, Margus Hunt, Damontre Moore and Alex Okafor in Rounds 2-3.
Lacking experience at the position beyond starters Kamerion Wimbley and Derrick Morgan, the Titans are meeting with four-time Pro Bowl defensive end John Abraham over the next two days, according to multiple reports. Abraham, 34, was released by the Falcons in March in a cost-cutting measure.
Primed to blitz more often in 2013 with the addition of defensive assistant Gregg Williams, Tennessee must find a way to spell the aforementioned starters. Both Wimbley (85.0) and Morgan (85.6) appeared in at least 85 percent of the Titans' defensive snaps last season. Only three other 4-3 defenses -- the Saints, Broncos and Dolphins -- had at least two ends which received 900 snaps or more.
Abraham could help ease the burden if he's able to avoid injuries. After averaging 684 snaps per season from 2009 to 2011, Abraham received 806 snaps in 16 games last season. Abraham sprained his ankle in Week 17 against the Bucs and aggravated it in the NFC Divisional Playoffs versus the Seahawks, but still played through the injury in the NFC Championship against the 49ers.
Last season, Abraham led the Falcons with 10.0 sacks and ranked fourth in pass rush efficiency among 4-3 defensive ends by Pro Football Focus. Morgan and Wimbley ranked fifth and 13th in the category respectively.
Reserve defensive ends Scott Solomon, Keyunta Dawson and Lavar Edwards are expected to provide depth for the Titans at the position. Dawson appeared in only three games last season after he was placed on IR in late-September with a hamstring injury.
The Titans are currently $7.3 million under the 2013 salary cap, according to Spotrac.com. Tennessee showed no interest in Abraham before the draft, according to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. Abraham also reportedly met with the Broncos, Seahawks and Patriots early in the free agent period.
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