Jeffery Simmons and Harold Landry had strong Pro Bowl cases, strong players ahead of them

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jeffery Simmons and Harold Landry look like Pro Bowl players on a Titans' defense that's been a revelation a year after it managed just 19 sacks and yielded over a 50 percent conversion rate on third down.

But if they make the team it will because someone drops out or makes the Super Bowl.

Kevin Byard is the Titans' long Pro Bowler on the initial AFC Team.

Harold Landry and Jeffery Simmons

Pool photo/ Donald Page, Tennessee Titans

And that's the one that should carry the real weight, frankly, as the roster has gotten increasingly watered down because guys withdraw dues to injuries or as they don't care to play, or because are part of the team when their franchise goes to the Super Bowl.

That doesn't mean Simmons and Landry have not had great seasons, but it does mean ballotting by fans, coaches and players -- which each counts a third -- deemed others worthy ahead of them. [Unlocked]

Simmons has become a significantly better player in his third season, greatly enhancing his pass-rushing. He's second on the team with 7.5 sacks, a big number for an interior lineman, and has a team-high 48 pressures per coaches' review of game film, 11 tackles for a loss and six passes defensed.

The three players selected ahead of him all have longer resumes and are all also very strong.

An AFC personnel man with another team told me he'd put Simmons right with the three players who made the Pro Bowl.

"He is the same," he said. "Equally dominant. All four need to be accounted for in an offensive game plan. Buckner and Simmons play the same spot. Hayward and Jones play more of the same game, play similar styles."

With 11 sacks, Landry is fifth in the AFC, third among linebackers. He's also got 44 pressures, 13 tackles for a loss and a forced fumble.

But it's hard to argue with Pittsburgh's T.J. Watt (17.5 sacks) or New England's Matthew Judon (12.5) being selected to the AFC roster. Joey Bosa is listed as a defensive end in the official packet of league leaders sent out by the NFL, but in many schemes and really throughout the league those lines are increasingly blurry.

Bosa is 1.5 sacks behind Landry. It's not simply a lineup of the top sack guys.

But our resident scout, Blake Beddingfield, said he believes Landry deserves a slot ahead of Bosa.

Four other Titans are also alternates: Taylor Lewan and Rodger Saffold from the offensive line; Denico Autry who rushes the passer with Simmons and Landry; Ola Adeniyi as a special teamer; and long snapper Morgan Cox.

Here is the full roster.

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