At 6-foot-4 and about 330 pounds, he has the physical attributes. The Titans also believe he has the technical abilities to make a day tough for an opposing interior lineman, stop the run and prevent quarterbacks from stepping up in the pocket to avoid pass rushers coming from the outside.
Hill, 26, agreed to a multi-year contract with the Titans. The former Lions defensive tackle, who played in 59 games and made 18 starts in four seasons in Detroit, was introduced along with free agent signees G
|The Titans believe DT Sammie Hill has the traits to stuff the run and collapse the pocket. Click here for a slideshow from Hill's career in the NFL.|
“We talked about getting size; I think you all see that right there in Sammie,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “The guy’s about 300 — and we don’t ask — but 330 or so, a guy we played against this year. (He’s) hard to move, can play the nose tackle, can play the “three” technique, can cave the pocket in. There’s nothing worse for an offensive line, as Andy (Levitre) knows and I know from playing, than to have a guy that size pushing you and closing the pocket. It makes the quarterback uncomfortable.”
Titans general manager Ruston Webster said Hill combines size and athleticism. Webster said scouts and coaches saw Hill’s talent, although his snaps have been rotated with first-round picks Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley and veteran Corey Williams.
“Every player has certain traits that set him apart and Sammie has a lot of traits – he has power, he’s athletic, he has quickness for a big man,” Webster said. “That is what you look for and however much they are playing or whether they are starting or not starting that is kind of the key. He also played on a good defensive line with some high picks in front of him, so that is part of it too. We just look for the traits in players, and his traits fit what we need.”
Hill has played in at least 15 games in each of the past three seasons. He recorded 26 tackles as a rookie, 30 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 2010, 24 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 2011 and 15 tackles last season. Hill is from West Blocton, Ala., a small town about 40 miles southwest of Birmingham. He played collegiately at Division II Stillman College in Tuscaloosa.
The opportunity to play closer to home and the way that the Titans reached out to him were factors that affected Hill’s decision, but he’s most interested in the opportunity to play more snaps.
“It was a great opportunity, and they were the first team to call and show interest,” Hill said. “I just enjoyed going through this.”
Hill, a fourth-round selection by Detroit in the 2009 NFL Draft, said he understood his role with the Lions but looks forward to his new task in Tennessee.
Munchak said Hill can play “all three downs if necessary” and equated the push that Hill is capable of making to former Titans who have controlled the middle of the defensive line, which he thinks will have a ripple effect for other defenders.
“That makes your outside rushers even more valuable. If we have speed guys on the edge, and we get push in the middle, the quarterback can’t step up. Then, all of a sudden, the outside rush is a big problem,” Munchak said. “If you all recall, we had that back in the day with some of the bigger guys we had inside, where all of a sudden Jevon Kearse and guys like that were getting a lot of sacks because of push in the middle and the quarterback had nowhere else to go. So that was something we’ve been targeting, and this is a great fit for us.”