The Titans' commitment to shoring up a pass rush that had the second-fewest sacks (28) last year went beyond this off-season's hiring of four new defensive coaches—including 1989 Defensive Player of the Year Keith Millard. It most prominently included the signing of free-agent DE/LB Kamerion Wimbley from the Raiders. The contract (five years, $35 million, with $13.5 million guaranteed) could not have been more out of character for a team that rarely spends in free agency, even to keep its homegrown talents. But they're convinced Wimbley is still miles from hitting his ceiling.
Through six seasons the 13th overall pick in 2006 has 42½ sacks, and his size (6'4", 255 pounds) and taste for combat (for kicks he entered the American Ninja Warrior competition in March) have second-year coordinator Jerry Gray drawing up pressure packages similar to those of the Jets and the Ravens. Wimbley's experience at linebacker and defensive end gives the Titans the flexibility to switch schemes, from a 4--3 to a 3--4. That he won't be asked to drop into coverage as much suits him just fine. "It's definitely something that I want to take advantage of," he says. "I want to prove that I'm one of the elite rushers in the league."