NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Sixth-round selections have had recent success — similar to seventh-round picks — at landing on the Titans’ roster.
McCourty made three starts as a rookie, six in his second season, 15 in his third and all 16 last season, which was his first as a defensive captain. McCourty has improved each year. He set career highs in interceptions (four), tackles for loss (four) and passes defended (17) in 2012 and added 93 tackles (79 solo) a year after recording 107 tackles.
McCourty is also developing a knack for making opportune plays. Last season he ended Pittsburgh’s shot at a scoring opportunity late in the first half, came up with a critical interception that sparked a comeback win at Buffalo and intercepted Jets QB Mark Sanchez twice in a defensive skirmish.
Smith and Stingily have been in reserve roles since they joined the Titans, and Martin’s rookie campaign was thwarted by an injury he suffered before the 2012 NFL Combine.
|The 49ers drafted |
In addition to McCourty, who is expected to start again this season, the Titans hope to get a significant amount of snaps from free agent signee Delanie Walker at tight end. The number of starts that Walker has in 2013 may be a technicality decided by the formations the Titans use on their opening plays this year, but he is expected to have a major role when Tennessee is running or throwing the football.
San Francisco drafted Walker at 175 in 2006, the same year it drafted TE Vernon Davis with the sixth overall pick. Walker worked in tandem with Davis in helping the 49ers make it to Super Bowl XLVII and is looking to an opportunity to play an expanded part in Tennessee.
The Titans traded their original 2013 sixth-round pick last year to Minnesota to draft