Breaking down the Titans’ pre-draft visits and workouts

Beyond being first-round picks of the Titans, Jake Locker, Derrick Morgan, and Kenny Britt all had pre-draft workouts and/or visits with the Tennessee Titans. While different teams use visits and workouts for different purposes, this suggests the Titans are at least very amenable to the idea of drafting players they had individual attention on in the pre-draft process. In case they decide to follow the same path this year, I thought it was worth taking a look at every player they had a visit with. As a guide to what players fall on that list, I’ll be using this handy-dandy tracker compiled by Evan Silva at PFT and sorting players by what round the Titans might be interested in the player.

First Round

  • Mark Barron, S, Alabama-Reports indicate he’ll likely be off the board by the time the Titans pick. As I’ve already written, I’m not a fan of the Titans taking him, as I don’t think he has the range to play free safety in cover-1.
  • Michael Brockers, DT, LSU-Andrew took him in a mock draft. I’ve already written I wouldn’t mind if the Titans took him. I think it’s 50-50 at best he’s still on the board by the time the Titans pick.
  • Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State-Will be long off the board by #20, alas.
  • Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame-Probably off the board by #20. Two DUIs, and I read mixed reports on how he handled it in interviews. I know I wrote about how I didn’t want the Titans to draft a receiver in the first round, but drafting Floyd wouldn’t make me unhappy.
  • Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina-Likely off the board by #20, and perhaps long off the board. NFL Films guru Greg Cosell has him as the best corner in the draft, and multiple people have given him Charles Woodson-type potential.
  • Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama-I don’t see where he fits in the Titans defense and want absolutely no part of him in the first three rounds. Let a team where he might be a fit like the Steelers or Ravens take him.
  • Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech-Size-speed guy with terribly limited experience playing receiver. Not as good at Georgia Tech as Demaryius Thomas. The reason I wrote I don’t want the Titans to take a receiver in the first round.
  • Melvin Ingram, DE &c, South Carolina-Will be long off the board by #20, not that I trust him to be a good NFL player.
  • Bruce Irvin, OLB, West Virginia-Titans would probably have to take him in the first round. Nickel stand-up rusher in college only, would have to be the same in the NFL unless he learns to play with terrific leverage like Charles Haley or Robert Mathis. He won’t. Will get vastly overdrafted on athleticism.
  • Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama-I’ve already written I wouldn’t mind seeing the Titans take him. I’d prefer him as a transition player to free safety, but I’m not sure the Titans would be taking him early with that intention.
  • Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin-First-second round. I’d be fine with him at #52 and unhappy with him at #20. Not great quickness, apparently not the player to bring a Kevin Mawae-type nasty attitude to the offensive line. Per Lance Zierlein, at least one team has him off the board completely for medical reasons.
  • Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College-Taking him would be proof to me Jerry Gray thinks stopping the run is much more important than it really is compared to stopping the pass, and he already makes me cranky.
  • Shea McClellin, DE, Boise State-In some ways, the player who inspired my defensive line pieces post, in that I was trying to figure out how the Titans would pair him and Wimbley together. My conclusion was ultimately that they were essentially the same thing, and in Gray’s scheme you don’t need two top-level players for that role.
  • Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois-When Ruston Webster talked in the pre-draft press conference about wanting to evaluate whether a player’s sacks came from winning one-on-one as opposed to on stunts or cleanup sacks, he might as well have just mentioned “like Whitney Mercilus” in the latter category. Then again, that may be a smokescreen. One-year of productivity with inflated numbers that make him seem better than he was.
  • Devon Still, DT, Penn State-I’ve mentioned I wouldn’t mind the Titans taking him at #20, though in fairness that would be a bit of an overdraft. Bad rep for taking plays off in college, though I’m not sure that would necessarily dissuade the Titans.
  • Courtney Upshaw, DE, Alabama-I’ve mentioned I don’t want him, as I don’t see him as a good fit and I think the Titans are very much a fit team.
  • Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor-Is he more than a potentially better Nate Washington? Better in the slot, and not everybody loves him as a good outside receiver. Consistently ran faster than his 40 at the Combine indicated. The Titans taking him in the first round wouldn’t make me violently angry, but that’s not the same as saying I approve.

Beyond the first-rounders, the Titans had a number of other players visit.

Middle Rounds

  • Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas-Third round. Slot receiver-type with speed and quicks plus punt return experience.
  • Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina-Second, possibly the third round. A fantastic athlete who’s not really a very good football player. Bad reputation for avoiding contact and displaying horrible technqiue. If he lives up to his physical potential, think a better version of Keith Bulluck. He almost certainly won’t.
  • Josh Chapman, NT, Alabama-Third round or later depending on medical (offseason ACL surgery, will reportedly be ready for training camp). Nose tackle in Alabama’s 3-4, he’d fill a similar role (1-tech?) for the Titans. Small (for a DT) with short arms (ditto) probably limit him to DT. Hard for me to see him ending up a Titan.
  • Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska-Second round, and even then he may not be available. Excellent WLB prospect I’d be happy to see the Titans take at #52.
  • Chris Greenwood, CB, Albion-Fourth round? Hot cornerback prospect with a great workout at Michigan’s Pro Day.
  • Casey Heyward, CB, Vanderbilt-Second-third round? Free visit for a local prospect. Probably a better fit for a pure cover-2 team.
  • Alshon Jeffery, CB, South Carolina-Second round. Lousy 2011 production, problems staying in shape, doesn’t separate from corners. Sounds like a Chargers receiver to me.
  • A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois-Second-third round. Sneak productivity playing for a team gifted with some frequently godawful quarterback play. Not a big guy, but some good run-after-catch production on short throws. Doesn’t fit the “receiver who can win against press coverage if Kenny Britt goes down” mold.
  • Mychal Kendricks, LB, Cal-Second-third round. I mentioned him in my defensive position analysis. A bit undersized but versatile linebacker. Not a pure Will like David, but a player who could flip between the Mike and Will, which Munchak indicated is something the Titans are interested in. Not sure how he is as a pass rusher.
  • Mike Martin, DT, Michigan-Third-fourth round. Chapman is a different mold. Another undersized player who’s very solid at the point of attack but probably only a nose tackle/1-tech-type player in the NFL.
  • Bobby Wagner, LB, Utah State-Second-third round. Versatile linebacker with some pass rusher experience, but not the size of a guy like Hightower. Is he a fit at WLB? I’m not sure about that, but McCarthy might be and putting Wagner in the middle might be an option.

Late Rounds

  • Tim Fugger, DE, Vanderbilt-Fifth-seventh round? Free visit for a local prospect. Late-round rush end.
  • Gino Gradkowski, C, Delaware-Fifth-seventh round? I don’t know much about this guy, but keep him on your radar.
  • Ernest Owusu, DE, Cal-Sixth-seventh round? Free visit for a local prospect who went to the Golden State for college ball. In the same mold as Leger Douzable and Malcolm Sheppard, an oversized defensive end (Cal’s one of the very few college teams to play a 3-4) or undersized defensive tackle.
  • Sean Richardson, S, Vanderbilt-Fifth-seventh round? Free visit for a local prospect. Late-round developmental strong safety.

I’m not sure how much to put on the Titans drafted any of the players who visited in the middle and later rounds, but I’d say it’s likelier than not the Titans’ first draft pick will be one of the players in this post.

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