Welcome to the first in a series of articles looking at the competition at various positions. Let's start with the cornerback group where ultimately I believe the competition will come down between Ryan Mouton and Coty Sensabaugh. Alterraun Verner and Jason McCourty of course are the starting cornerbacks. In my opinion, Tommie Campbell has all but locked up the third cornerback spot and Chris Hawkins is likely to make the team on special teams.
I have always been a big fan of Ryan Mouton and really he got shafted by Jeff Fisher and his coaching staff his rookie season. Mouton had great intangibles coming out of Hawaii and is in the final year of his rookie deal. Scheduled to make $565,000.00 this year but he is being pushed by younger guys most especially Coty Sensabaugh.
Officially listed at 5' 9" and 184, Mouton was expected to provide depth in the defensive backfield and to compete for the returner position on special teams. A kick returner at Hawaii, Mouton had a good resume for the spot. Unfortunately, he had never been a punt returner and then head coach Jeff Fisher opted to put him at that position at arguably two of the hardest venues to play, at the Steelers and at the New York Jets. He ended up muffing and losing 3 punts that year until the coaching staff opted to put someone with experience in his place.
Mouton looked to be in the mix at the nickel slot in 2010 until he suffered a hamstring injury in the fall. He then suffered an ankle injury on and went on injured reserve on December 18, 2010. after getting healthy, he again looked to compete in the defensive backfield in 2011. unfortunately, he suffered a torn achilles heel during training camp and went on injured reserve on August 4, 2011. Mouton looks good in camp this year, however; he is being pressed by rookie Coty Sensabaugh.
Sensabaugh, officially listed at 5'11" and 189, was drafted by the Titans in the fourth round of the 2012 draft (# 115 overall). A cousin to safety Gerald Sensabaugh who plays for the Dallas Cowboys, Sensabaugh is a speedster who placed 4th fastest 40 yard dash amongst all defensive backs in the draft. He also scored a 27 on the Wonderlic exam. he signed a 4 year $2.53 million contract with the Titans on 5/11/2012:. The deal included a $432,000 signing bonus. His expected salaries are: 2012: $390,000, 2013: $480,000, 2014: $570,000, 2015: $660,000, 2016: Free Agent.
I was thinking about this battle early this morning while planning this article, and I was reminded of Cary Williams, a 7th round draft pick of the Titans in 2008. Williams was a great prospect coming out of Washburn but struggled as a Titan, couldn't stay healthy and was placed on the practice squad where he was picked up by the Ravens on November 24, 2009.. Now a starter for the Ravens, he benefited from a change of scenery, got healthy and is now a very good cornerback in the league.
If Mouton can't hold off Sensabaugh, I think he should consider how well that worked out for Williams. Sometimes a change of scenery and a fresh start is all a player needs to jump-start his career, and this might be the best path for him. Sadly, I think Sensabaugh may have the better chance of making the roster, but I do think Mouton is a good player who has a great shot at making someone's roster.
Quote: “If you're not gonna go all the way, why go at all?”
― Joe Namath