Titans Linbackers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - When the Tennessee Titans went into the draft in April, one of their main objectives was to improve the linebacker position.

Even the Titans are surprised at finding a solution so soon among this year's draft class. Rookie linebackers Akeem Ayers, a second-round pick from UCLA, and Colin McCarthy, a fourth-rounder from Miami, have stepped in and played so well for Tennessee that they now rarely leave the field.

They play not only in the base defense, but in Tennessee's nickel package. Ayers was inserted into the lineup as a strongside linebacker from the moment the Titans drafted him, while Tennessee signed free agent Barrett Ruud to a one-year contract to man the middle until McCarthy got some experience.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)