Aug 23, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger (7) attempts a pass in between Atlanta Falcons defensive end Stansly Maponga (90) and Atlanta Falcons nose tackle Travian Robertson (92) in the second half of their game at the Georgia Dome. The Titans won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Role: Backup Edge Rushers
In The Race: Stansly Maponga, Tyler Starr, Jacques Smith
Stansly Maponga didn’t do a whole lot last season but he has been playing with high intensity this preseason and looks a whole lot improved. Mainly just asked to attack the line of scrimmage, he has responded with 5 pressures according to PFF which is only bested by Jonathan Babineaux and no other defender has matched his efficiency of pressure once every 5.6 rushes. The next best is Massaquoi, once every 6. Taking into account competition faced is a must but Maponga could certainly make a case for most improved player.
It is Tyler Starr’s and Jacques Smith’s first year in the NFL and they’ve had plenty of snaps. Neither have put together a whole lot. Starr has been more efficient rushing the passer but it hasn’t been at a notable rate. Jacques Smith’ ejection against the Titans really incited Mike Smith and could put his spot in jeopardy.
My Verdict: Stansly Maponga has done enough. The real question is the two rookies. I think they go with Tyler Starr since they need depth at the position. Jacques Smith should find himself on the practice squad.