Titans Jurrell Casey ready to Breakout
Casey was selected 77th overall out of USC in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans. Casey slipped to the third round because he was, according to former SB Nation Jon Dove, an “average run defender” with “limited versatility.” Boy, some teams must be kicking themselves for skipping on Casey, especially if they thought like Mr. Dove. Several defensive tackles and 3-4 defensive ends were taken ahead of Jurrell Casey, but only a few have out-performed him. Cleveland’s Phil Taylor (21st overall), Pittsburgh’s Cameron Heyward (31st), Washington’s Jarvis Jenkins (41st), New York’s Marvin Austin (52nd), Chicago’s Stephen Paea (53rd), and Carolina’s (former) Terrell McClain (65th) have been outperformed by the 77th pick by Tennessee.
The 3rd round steal had an impressive rookie season put together combined 52 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and a forced fumble with a recovery. This is a very impressive stat-line for a rookie that was put in a heavy rotation with three or four other guys. Casey followed this up in 2012 with 54 tackles, 3 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles; meanwhile, Terrell McClain was playing for his second and third teams of his short career. Casey managed to put together these numbers while fighting through elbow, shoulder, and ankle injuries. No regular human being is able to do that for sixteen games. Casey is more than human.
The case for the former USC star being superhuman is becoming more and more evident by the day. Jurrell Casey and the Titans defensive line faced off against the Andy Dalton’s Bengals on Saturday night. Then on 3rd and 8, Casey hit a home run. He sacks the former TCU quarterback, rips the ball out of his hands, and takes the ball for a short gain. Defensive tackles don’t do that. But Jurrell Casey does.
Casey has been successful for the Titans for several reasons. The 300-pounder is able to eat up space and get double-teamed, allowing the ends to get more pressure. When he’s not double-teamed, Casey is able to get great penetration and destroy the offensive lines. Casey is also able to stop the run, as he came in 5th place out of defensive tackles in 2012 with his 34 solo tackles, ahead of the likes of Haloti Ngata, Vince Wilfork, and Ndamukong Suh, according to Advanced NFL Statistics.
Is Jurrell Casey the best defensive tackle in the NFL? No. Can he become it? Absolutely. He has the work ethic and physical ability to dominate any offensive lineman that will stand in between him and the quarterback. Just wait for him to light up the field on Sundays in 2013, as it is coming.