Titans’ draft preview by position: offense

We ran our positional analyses in the offseason, and as we head into the draft, I’ll do a brief update of where the Titans stand after free agency (yes, they say they’re not done in free agency, but looking at the list of available free agents, the interesting things are done) at each position and the draft outlook for the position. I’ll cover the offense in this post and cover the defense in a future one. Keep in mind that the players I’m listing are players I’d consider at a round the Titans may consider the position in, but aren’t necessarily the players the Titans want. I try to think like the front office, but I don’t think like the front office.

Quarterback
Need at position: Low/very low
Analysis: I don’t believe for an instant the Titans will cut Matt Hasselbeck. Jake Locker should be getting every rep he can take. I thought the Titans would part ways with Rusty Smith last offseason, since Locker made him redundant, but who knows. With Locker, there’s no need to take another QB at all.
Draft probability: 10%
Players they might target: Whichever 6th-7th round arm they like best

Running back
Need at position: Low/very low
Analysis: Chris Johnson’s getting the vast majority of the work, and maybe now that he’s actually showing up to offseason workouts (30 of 36, or he takes a $250,000 salary cut), he’ll learn how to pass block and maybe run a route or two. If he’s not playing in those situations, Javon Ringer will again. Jamie Harper’s another body. Note this is not what I think, but what I think the Titans think. It’s possible they could have soured on Harper quickly, but I doubt it.
Draft probability: 20%
Players they might target: Depends on what they’re looking for. I don’t have a strong feeling on that.

Wide receiver
Need at position: Moderate/low
Analysis: I covered the WR dilemma in my post on drafting offense in the first round. They say they like their current group, and there’s reason to think the current group will be just fine so long as Kenny Britt is healthy. The ideal draft target would be a player who could do some of the things Britt does if Britt goes down, but who isn’t limited to being ‘just’ an X. Alternatively, a pure ‘X’ might be a possibility in the other rounds.
Draft probability: 50%
Players they might target: Marvin Jones, Cal (3rd round); Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M (5th-7th); Juron Criner, Arizona (5th-6th)

Tight end
Need at position: Low
Analysis: The pursuit of Joel Dreessen indicated a certain level of dissatisfaction with the top trio, but it seems a virtual certainty Jared Cook and Craig Stevens will play an overwhelming majority of the tight end snaps. Kenny Britt’s return also probably takes away some TE snaps, since the Titans will have more talent and dimensions at the WR position with him in the lineup. Could the Titans plan for Cook’s departure and look for a move tight end? I’m not sure that’s really been their M.O. lately
Draft probability: 10%
Players they might target: Depends on what they’re looking for. Again, no strong feelings on that.

Offensive tackle
Need at position: Very low
Analysis: Roos, Stewart, Otto, Stingly. Any questions?
Draft probability: 0.1%
Players they might target: Any offensive tackle they draft will be somebody to play guard.

Offensive guard/center
Need at position: Very high
Analysis: All indications are Steve Hutchinson will play left guard. Leroy Harris has never played right guard before, but he might be the one this year. Harris is a free agent after this season. While Hutchinson was signed to a three-year deal, he said in Minnesota he planned to retire after 2012. That might have changed, but I wouldn’t count on it. The Titans have been almost desperate in their pursuit of another center. The entire starting interior line come Week 1 2013 could be different than what it looks like pre-draft 2012.
Draft probability: 99%, and a good chance of multiple picks
Players they might target: David DeCastro, Stanford (1st); C Peter Konz, Wisconsin (1st-2nd); Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin (2nd); Jeff Allen, Illinois (3rd); C Ben Jones, Georgia (3rd); Senio Kelemete, Washington (4th); C Quentin Saulsberry, Mississippi State (5th)

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