Teams tinker and retool each and every offseason, and many times it means the end of the road for some veterans. At the least, the new arrivals force the older players to step up their game if they want to stay on the roster.
The Titans added seven new players during the 2012 NFL Draft, which ended on Saturday. After selecting Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright in the first round, the Titans took five defensive players in their final six picks.
Coach Mike Munchak said his team just got faster and more athletic, and if the draft class caught the attention of some veterans, that's a good thing.
"When you play in the league and they draft guys, it always makes guys uncomfortable because you don't know what that means," Munchak said. "But I think that guys realize that we are doing what it takes, and we are trying to put the best team out there to win. They understand that the game is a business, and you can't keep everyone. It creates some good competition."
On Saturday, the Titans drafted Clemson cornerback Coty Sensabaugh in the fourth round. He joins a group of young players competing for playing time behind returning starters Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner.
In the fifth round the Titans took SMU's Taylor Thompson, a college defensive end, who will transition to tight end. They rounded out the draft with Oklahoma State safety Markelle Martin in the sixth round and Rice defensive end Scott Solomon in the seventh round.
General Manager Ruston Webster's focus was to add speed and athleticism on defense. Second- and third-round picks Zach Brown, a linebacker from North Carolina, and Mike Martin, a defensive tackle from Michigan, lead that effort from this class.
"Defensively, I think youth is good - you have to be able to run, hit, move," Webster said. "As guys get older and they start losing a step, even though they have that great savvy and all that, it does affect your defense. Offensively it is not as big a deal.
"But defensively, at all positions, it is such an athletically demanding side of the ball, it is important to be young actually. Now do you want to mix in some veterans with leadership and all that? Yes, you do, but you also have to be able to run and hit and change directions and do all those kinds of things. The reactions are important. So for me, I like being young on defense."
After getting good to great contributions from four defensive players drafted last year - linebackers Akeem Ayers and Colin McCarthy, defensive linemen Karl Klug and Jurrell Casey - the Titans were already young on defense. The team's defensive rookies led the NFL last season with 39 starts and 97 total games played.
So which veterans may be on the spot?
Linebackers Will Witherspoon and Gerald McRath should face a challenge from the speedy Brown. The Titans plan to give him a chance to start on the outside.
As for defensive tackles, ninth-year pro Shaun Smith needs a strong offseason and training camp, as does fourth-year pro Sen'Derrick Marks. The status of 33-year-old tight end Daniel Graham could hinge on how quickly Thompson develops.
Brown described what he thought it would take to unseat a veteran.
"You have to be hungry, real hungry, because that veteran in front of you doesn't want to give up his spot," he said. "So you have to be hungry and you have to push yourself to push him. ... I am a competitor and the best player is going to play."
Webster said that the Titans filled most of their needs over the past three days. Now he will bring in undrafted players and more veteran free agents.
"For me, it is hard when we bring guys in because you know it affects other people. I have a great deal of respect for the men that play this game. To some degree, it bothers me," Webster said. "But I would also expect the kind of guys we have on our team to step up and compete and try and make this as good a team as we can be."