I’ve written about what I think the Titans need on offense and defense. Now it’s time to turn those thoughts into actual picks. For this little exercise, I’ll be using this seven-round mock by Chad Reuter, formerly of NFLDraftScout and now with NFL Network. The rules for this are simple: any player Chad had off the board at the point I can’t pick. Everybody else is fair game. I’m also judging with pre-knowledge of later picks, so I know that, e.g., Vinny Curry will be off the board at #52 if I pass on him at #20. So, here’s one man’s take:
#20: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Chad’s pick: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
Analysis: Tackle over end. Brockers have visited and should be the sort of run-stopper they’re looking for. He’s not a pass-rusher and may never be one, but I don’t think they care. Dre Kirkpatrick is also on the board.
#52: Mychal Kendricks, LB, Cal
Chad’s pick: Mychal Kendricks, LB, Cal
Analysis: I’m trying not to just replicate the mock draft picks, but Kendricks sounds and feels very much like a potential Titan.
#82: Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina
Chad’s pick: Philip Blake, C/OG, Baylor
Analysis: Defensive back depth is a big need. As with the first two rounds, interior lineman drew consideration, but the value just isn’t there. Small-school player with a lot of experience and good size. My personal belief is that, while the Titans have found some success with the strategy, relying on the later rounds for defensive back value is a very risky proposition. In other words, I don’t think the Titans take Norman here.
#115: Marvin Jones, WR, Cal
Chad’s pick: Akiem Hicks, DT, Regina
Analysis: I like Jones a lot, and probably a fair bit more than the Titans do. More of their pre-draft attention seems to be focused on slot receiver types. Jones isn’t really that, but I think he’s a good complement to what they already have and gives them a dimension nobody else does if Britt goes down again or is slow to recover.
#155: Malik Jackson, DE Tennessee
Chad’s pick: Justin Bethel, FS/CB, Presbyterian
Analysis: Bethel is the right sort of safety conversion prospect the Titans could be interested in, but I think instead they’ll add another DE in the oversized-end, undersized-tackle mold. I also considered DT DaJohn Harris, who played next to Jurrell Casey at USC.
#190: Janzen Jackson, FS, McNeese State
Chad’s pick: Jairus Wright, WR, Arkansas
Analysis: It’s the sixth round and the Titans only have one defensive back and no interior offensive lineman. It’s time to panic! ARGH!!!!!! There, got that out of the system. I think the Titans will distinguish between “would like” and “must have,” and defensive line is in the latter group and secondary and offensive line help are in the former group. In the sixth, it’s worth taking a flier in Jackson’s talent and hoping his off-the-field issues are behind him.
#227: Gino Gradkowski, C, Delaware
Chad’s pick: Ryan Steed, CB, Furman
Analysis: If offensive line is addressed earlier in the draft, then Steed or wideout Jeff Fuller would have been on my radar here, but it’s not so they’re not. Instead, the Titans are happy to get a player they’ve shown they’re interested in at a good spot late in the draft.
How would I grade this draft as Sour Gower? Well, I think it would prove the lie that getting younger on the offensive line was important to them; not addressing the position until the seventh round? Bah! Malik Jackson is just another example of a type of player they already have. I’m on board with, but don’t love, the Brockers pick. The rest of the picks make me relatively happy in a world of constrained thinking. In six years, it’ll all depend on how these players actually play on Sundays, assuming they do, and that’s as it should be.
Feel free to use the comments to pick together your own choices.