The former Redskins starter signed with the Titans in part because of opportunity. He’ll find a role in a linebacking corps that grew with the draft.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In choosing to sign with the Titans last month, Will Compton saw opportunity.
A two-year starter in Washington, Compton knew the Titans were looking to fill a hole at inside linebacker, one created by the free-agent departure of Avery Williamson in March.
“Obviously the opportunity here is intriguing,” Compton said during a Titans caravan stop at Nashville’s Purpose Preparatory Academy Charter School.
“That’s a big reason why I came. I’m looking forward to competing with all those guys. We have a great room, so we’ll see how it all unfolds.”
But Compton understands the plot has thickened since his signing, as the Titans used the 22nd overall pick in the draft to select inside linebacker Rashaan Evans last month. Considered a three-down defender, the former Alabama standout is likely to see plenty of snaps during his rookie season, which means more of a challenge for Compton awaits.
“Anybody who’s watching the draft as a player is usually saying, `Man, I hope we don’t draft someone at my position,’” Compton said with a smile. “They’re lying if they say they don’t. But I think competition brings out the best in me and brings out the best in everybody. So it will be fun.
“I’ll learn things from (Evans) and I’ll get to help teach him things. He’ll be good for our room and our football team.”
Originally an undrafted rookie out of Nebraska in 2013, Compton, 28, broke into the Redskins’ lineup on a regular basis in 2015, starting 25 games over the next two seasons and totaling 113 tackles.
He lost his starting job going into last season, was reinserted as a starter due to injury and then was hurt himself. Compton suffered a Lisfranc injury, a complicated ailment that affects the middle of the foot.
Fortunately for Compton, the injury was not severe enough that it required surgery.
“I was lucky with that because usually with Lisfranc, you have to go under the knife,” Compton said. “But everything is going to heal back up perfectly.
“Obviously you’re wanting to get everything fully back and I’m not there yet. But I’m going to be fine here in another couple weeks. I’m full-go and doing everything practice-wise.”
Compton said the opportunity to play for the Titans intrigued him for more reasons than just potential opportunity.
One is that he’s long admired the team’s new head coach, Mike Vrabel, a former NFL linebacker and former assistant coach at Ohio State – one of Nebraska’s Big 10 rivals.
“I watched him in high school, winning Super Bowls, and he was (the Buckeyes’) coach when I was at Nebraska,” Compton said. “So I’ve kind of followed him for a little bit and it’s awesome to play for him now.”
Compton also likes the fact the Titans appear to be an upward curve, coming off consecutive winning seasons and the team’s first playoff berth since 2008.
“I love it here. I feel like the locker room is top notch — everybody, the camaraderie, the culture they have going here,” Compton said. “They got to the second round of the playoffs for a reason and you definitely feel like that in the locker room.”
The size of the linebacking corps may have grown a bit since Compton signed. But he’s still looking forward to the competition.
“We haven’t put the pads on yet, so we don’t know how it will unfold,” Compton said. “But I know you’ve gotta’ bring your `A-game’ every day.”
— Reach John Glennon at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @glennonsports.