Linebacker Otis Reese IV May Have Larger Role In Tennessee.

The Tennessee Titans have made a plethora of moves to improve the roster and shift the goals of the team. Part of that improvement was revamping the inside linebacker position. The additions of free agent linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr. and rookie Cedric Gray showed that the position was one of emphasis, but there could be viable options on the roster already.

Last season, Ran Carthon seemed to find a diamond in the rough in undrafted free agent linebacker, Otis Reese IV out of Ole Miss. Reese IV showed flashes of athleticism and instincts in limited action, drawing eyes to him in his rookie season. Now entering his second season, Reese IV could see more time on the field under the new coaching regime. 

Reese IV’s skill-set can be attributed to him playing safety prior to making the change to linebacker. Last preseason, he flashed, leading to him making the initial 53-man roster. His ability to go from 0-100 in a blink as well as cover tight ends and running backs is invaluable in today’s NFL. 

New defensive coordinator Dennard Wilson wants to run an attacking style of defense, and if his background means anything, he will want twitchy linebackers in the middle. Some of the linebackers that Wilson has been around include James Laurinaitis, Mark Barron, Demario Davis, Alec Ogletree, T.J. Edwards, Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen. They all were downhill, attacking linebackers with the ability to fill multiple roles similar to Reese IV.

Reese IV has documented evidence that says he can play on an elite level

In 2023, he finished with an overall PFF grade of 76.9 after playing in seven games with three starts. That score would be good for top 20 in league for all qualified inside linebackers.

That score can be legitimized by his December 21st performance against the Houston Texans, where he posted an 89.9 overall PFF grade. It was a culmination of a 82.5 run defensive grade, 81.7 tackling grade and 76.2 coverage grade. All of which were good-to-elite grades for the young linebacker.

That could be a sign of more things to come for the former Ole Miss Rebel. 

Wilson spoke about the qualities he will covet on this Titans defense in his introductory presser.

“We are going to talk about effort and the way we play. We are going to talk about having obnoxious communication,” stated Wilson. “We are going to talk about brotherhood, playing as one. A team that fails to connect is a team that fails to win.” 

That could be Reese IV’s ticket to becoming one of the premier names at the inside linebacker position heading into year two. 

The Titans have a ton of young talent on this roster that are chomping at the bit to play in 2024. Reese IV is one that sticks out and could see his star shine bright as the roster takes shape this offseason.

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