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Titans GM Ran Carthon: Addition of CB L'Jarius Sneed ideal for aggressive scheme

Tennessee's splashy offseason took another aggressive turn with the acquisition of L'Jarius Sneed, who portends to be the catalyst of an attacking Titans defense that enters a transitional season.

Titans general manager Ran Carthon said as much at Sneed's introductory news conference on Tuesday, adding that along with free-agent signee Chidobe Awuzie, new defensive coordinator Dennard Wilson now possesses a duo of cornerbacks that will be crucial for employing his aggressive scheme.

"We have two corners now that are physical, that will put their face on people, set the edge and send it back to guys like Jeff (Simmons) and Kenneth (Murray) and all our guys coming in, running, chasing the ball," Carthon said of Sneed's addition. "That's an impressive part of his game that I think really stands out."

Sneed, a sure-tackling, physical corner with shrewd coverage technique, played an instrumental role on a Chiefs defense that lifted Kansas City to a second consecutive Super Bowl win this past February.

The 27-year-old's multifaceted skills were on display during Kansas City's latest championship run. He prevented a late touchdown with a heads-up forced fumble of Zay Flowers at the goal line in the AFC Championship Game and provided stiff coverage in Super Bowl LVIII that saw 49ers wideouts Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk be held to three catches apiece.

"It helps us tremendously out from a coverage standpoint on the back end," Carthon said. "If you guys know Dennard and what he wants to do, I think the guys that we signed in Chido and LJ, I think they both fit what he wants to do from a coverage standpoint, and then having Roger (McCreary) here. Roger's played outside, he's played inside, so it gives us a legitimate top three out of the gate. We're going to continue to add guys, and we're going to expect guys that were here last year to step up and earn those other spots. But we're bringing in scheme fits for what we want to do defensively."

Wilson cut his teeth as a secondary coach in the NFL the past 12 seasons before landing in Tennessee as a part of rookie head coach Brian Callahan's staff. The first-year DC coached defensive backs for Philadelphia and Baltimore defenses that led the league in sacks in 2022 and 2023, respectively, due in large part to Wilson's units dutifully covering the back end.

Wilson, who vowed to cultivate an "attacking defense" upon his arrival in Tennessee, takes over a Titans defense that finished middle of the pack in yards allowed across all categories but struggled to force turnovers in 2023, finishing 31st in the league in total takeaways (14) and last in interceptions (six).

By trading a 2025 third-rounder and swapping 2024 seventh-round picks, the Titans added an ideal centerpiece in Sneed with plenty of playoff experience for Wilson's secondary unit. But with several free agents still up for grabs in free agency, particularly at the safety position, Carthon indicated the Titans might not be done revamping the defense.

"Once we get through the draft and see where teams have met their needs, because there are other teams that need safeties, I think you could take the safety market either way depending on who's available at that time," he said. "We've been well positioned and well thought out in our plan of still being able to attack post-draft -- kind of like how we did with DeAndre (Hopkins) last year -- to be in position to sign a player if we need to."

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