The Tennessee Titans have gone in reverse when it comes to signing the members of the 2013 draft class.
The franchise announced Wednesday that the last four of its eight selections agreed to terms. Those four were center Brian Schwenke (fourth round), defensive end Lavar Edwards (fifth round), cornerback Khalid Wooten (sixth round) and safety Daimion Stafford (eighth round).
Coincidentally, three of the four are California natives, although Schwenke (Oceanside, Calif.) was the only one who played college football in the state. He was a three-year starter at Cal, two at guard and one center. Wooten (Rialto, Calif.) played at Nevada and Stafford (Norco, Calif.) spent two years at Nebraska after a stint at junior college.
The current collective bargaining agreement, adopted prior to the 2011 season, minimized the need for negotiations on rookie contracts and made it much easier for teams to get deals done prior to training camp, which starts in just under two months.
A brief look at the four and what they might offer to the Titans this fall:
• Schwenke (6-foot-3, 314 pounds): He was drafted with the idea that he would one day be the team’s starting center. That day could come quickly if his ability to grasp an NFL offense matches up with his nasty attitude.
“I have always been able to fuel an offensive line with that kind of nastiness,” he said. “It kind of brings an attitude to the O-line. I’m going to be playing next to some of the best guys in the NFL … but I’m looking to get everyone going with my nastiness.”
• Edwards (6-4, 277): He was behind two higher 2013 draft picks on a deep, talented LSU defense but made plenty out of his opportunities with 10.5 sacks in 52 games (15 starts). The best-case scenario for this season is that he plays on third down and enhances the pass rush.
“I feel like you can never be good enough, so [I want to improve] my overall game from my hands to my get off, pass rushing just everything, becoming a better player,” he said.
• Wooten (5-11, 210): He is the second cornerback Tennessee drafted this year and the fifth in the last four years, which means his path to playing time this fall is special teams. He returned both punts and kicks in college but in the NFL he’ll have to show he can cover them.
“I am versatile,” he said. “I can punt return, kick return. Put me in at a nickel and corner at the same time. I can do it all.”
• Stafford (6-1, 205): In recent years, the Titans expressed an affinity for those who could play either free safety or strong safety. Stafford is – without question, the latter. His first battle will be with 2012 draft pick Markelle Martin for a spot on the depth chart behind free agent addition Bernard Pollard and a role on special teams.
“I always hustle to the ball, you know what I mean, [because] good things happen,” he said. “I always keep that in my mind when I am out there.”