One AFC South rival’s loss is the Tennessee Titans' gain. At least that’s how Tennessee’s new 6-foot-5, 285-pound defensive lineman Denico Autry is choosing to look at it.
Autry, who spent the last three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, told reporters in a video conference that the Colts didn’t appreciate what he brought to the table, which is why he ended up in Nashville.
"I just like what (the Titans) have going on here,” Autry said. “And I wanted to be a part of that. Actually, to tell you the truth, someone (saw) my worth, and that's really why I chose the Titans."
Despite his production over the last three years, the Colts chose to let him hit the open market — a move he’ll likely remember for a while. Now, he’ll get to antagonize Indianapolis quarterbacks twice a year for at least the next three years.
"That makes it real personal," Autry said. "They knew what they had. It is what it is."
Autry’s ability to affect the quarterback is often overlooked. He ranked in the top three in sacks on the Colts in two of the last three years, including leading the team with nine in 2018 and ranking third last year with 7.5.
The 30-year-old lineman has at least 10 quarterback hits with 17 or more QB pressures in each of the last three seasons with a combined 31 tackles for loss. He had a career-high 12 quarterback hurries and 22 QB pressures in 2020.
Autry is expected to play primarily next to Jeffery Simmons on the interior of the Titans defensive line. The 23-year-old Simmons was at times Tennessee’s best defensive player last year, totaling 49 tackles, 21 QB pressures, 14 QB hits, 11 QB knockdowns, seven QB hurries, three sacks, three tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries.
The duo has the potential to make life miserable for opposing quarterbacks next season.
"Jeffrey, he is a real bulldog; he plays hard-nosed, tough,” Autry said. “And being able to be around another good D-lineman is always great."
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