Before the Tennessee Titans spend a high draft pick on a player, the chances are very, very good they either brought him to Baptist Sports Park for a visit or worked him out at his college. When I did a version of this post last year, first-round pick Kendall Wright, second-round pick Zach Brown, and third-round pick Mike Martin were among the players I noted. Among the players the Titans had a visit or workout with in the past were their three first-round picks prior to Wright, Jake Locker, Derrick Morgan, and Kenny Britt. Chances are once again very good that the players who hear the Titans call their name on Thursday and Friday nights are on this visit.
Teams are allowed up to 30 visits, plus workouts, plus an unlimited number of free visits from local prospects (those who went to college or high school within a delimited distance from the team; Vandy is free, while Tennessee is not). Not all visits are leaked by the team, the player (Tyler Bray tweeted he worked out for the Titans with Zach Rogers, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Justin Hunter), or the player's agent, so it wouldn't shock me if the Titans chose a player not mentioned in this post, even in the first round. If I had to choose those, I'd bet money the Titans' first, second, and third round picks are all mentioned in this post.
In that case, just who did the Titans bring in for a visit?
As I did last year, I'll try to subdivide this list into some rough draft tiers.
1st Round Picks
Jonathan Cooper, guard, North Carolina. One of the three guards I wrote about, a very athletic player. If you think the Titans are becoming the Texans and running inside zone and outside zone over and over and over again, he's the guard they like best.
Sharrif Floyd, defensive tackle, Florida. One of the defensive linemen I wrote about, a player with some interior scheme versatility, and a player I think is likely to be off the board at 10.
Dion Jordan, outside linebacker, Oregon. Another of the defensive linemen I wrote about. I expect him to go in the top 5.
Dee Milliner, cornerback, Alabama. Another player I've written about, he could be the kind of press man corner the Titans are looking for. Like too many Alabama players, he has an extensive medical history. I still think there's a better than even chance he's off the board at 10.
Barkevious Mingo, defensive end, LSU. Another of the defensive linemen I profiled. Speed around the edge and plenty of it.
Xavier Rhodes, cornerback, Florida State. Wrote about him in the Milliner post. I don't get his game. Very strong likelihood he's on the board at 10.
Kenny Vaccaro, safety, Texas. I've already written I don't get the Titans drafting him, though he does have some slot cover experience. Extremely strong likelihood he's on the board at 10.
Chance Warmack, guard, Alabama. The second of the guards I've written about.
Day Two Picks
Tyler Bray, quarterback, Tennessee. Second-fifth round. A familiar player to Tennesseans, he has a wide draft range due to excellent physical talent and an immature headcase. I think the first place the Titans even think about him is with their third-round compensatory pick, but don't think they really want him.
Sanders Commings, cornerback/safety, Georgia. Third-fourth round. Lots of experience in the SEC. Good size, leading some people to mention him as a possible safety, though the Titans probably see him as a corner. Titans will like be bothered by some off the field incidents (domestic violence is NOT cool), though that's what the visit is for.
Jonathan Cyprien, safety, Florida International. Second round, if he's still there. Not a lot of tape on him at FIU, so a question mark in how well he covers in man and as a space player. Some people think he can play either the strong or free roles, while others see him as more of a straight box player; I'd guess the Titans view him as a strong safety who may be a plus cover guy for that position.
Matt Elam, safety, Florida. Second round. Strong safety. Violent player. Hitter. Physical. Questionable cover guy, even for a strong safety, and sub-5'10". Not a player I like that much, though I like safeties who can cover and tackle, while Gregg Williams and Jerry Gray seem happy with distinct strong and free safeties.
Travis Frederick, center, Wisconsin. Third round. Above-average size (6'3/312), not a great athlete. Generic Badger offensive lineman. Also played left guard. Not sure he's a scheme fit even though I don't think the Titans will be as heavy of a zone team as the Texans are.
Justin Hunter, wide receiver, Tennessee. Second round, if he's still there. Freaky athleticism, I thought he could be a top ten pick when watching him in 2011 before he got hurt. Struggled big-time with drops in 2012. Tall receiver who probably needs to add some weight.
John Jenkins, nose tackle, Georgia. Third round, maybe. Big man. Big, big man. When he's close to 340, he's a real tough guy to move. When he's closer to 380, he's more like a big fat guy in the middle of the defensive line, though he's still somewhat more than that. Not a pass-rusher. If the Titans are looking for more bulk in the middle of the defensive line, he'd definitely provide it.
Datone Jones, defensive line, UCLA. Second round, though my guess is he goes in the first. I almost listed him among the first rounders, but ended up deciding against it because I can't see the Titans taking him at 10. For the Titans, think Jason Jones, a defensive end in base personnel and a D-tackle in sub package situations. Some people love him, others think more like Jason Jones did of the possibility of spending another season in Jerry Gray's defense.
Kevin Minter, linebacker, LSU. Second round, though there's a good chance he's off the board by 40. Highly productive middle linebacker for the Bayou Bengals, his game against Florida this year was practically a clinic. Not an elite athlete, not a plus man coverage defender. Will play in the league for at least 8 years, but do you love him in your nickel package or is he a guy you're always thinking you may be able to upgrade?
Cordarrelle Patterson, wide receiver, Tennessee. Second round, probably. Juco receiver with one year in Knoxville. Freaky athleticism when you get the ball in his hands. Was not hugely productive, only 100 yard game came against Troy when he caught shallow crosses and ran away from lesser athletes. First-round athlete, reportedly bombed interviews badly. Could be anywhere from multiple All-Pro to guy who doesn't have 10 career catches. Probably too much of a gamble for a Titans team looking for a reliable high-impact player in 2013.
Quinton Patton, wide receiver, Louisiana Tech. Second round. Good production at LaTech, relatively polished for a college player at a smaller school. Quicks but not otherwise really a plus athlete. The kind of guy I either love or am really meh on; I'm meh.
Justin Pugh, offensive lineman, Syracuse. Second-third round. Collegiate left tackle, likely an NFL guard. Him being a first-round pick, as either a guard or tackle (left or right), would give me a John McCargo-level "huh" feeling.
Baccari Rambo, free safety, Georgia. Third-fourth round (or later). A lot of experience and a good player, though not a great athlete. Being a Georgia guy, he has a red flag, and it's a big one-multiple drug-related suspensions.
Eric Reid, strong safety, LSU. Second round, though he may go in the first. Physical run defender for LSU who can be a plus cover guy for a strong safety, though I don't see him as a free safety. Some reports have NFL teams like him an awful lot, as in the late teens. I didn't see it. No way is he an option at 10 in my eyes and he's not there at 40, though I'd have no problem if they took him if he was.
Brian Schwenke, center, California. Third round. Another player with good size (6'3/314), and probably a better zone fit than Frederick. Also guard experience, mostly at left but some at right.
Larry Warford, guard, Kentucky. Second round. The third of the three guards I profiled. If they're willing to take a power right guard who's not a great mover, I love Warford in the second round. If they're not, then somebody else gets him.
Brian Winters, offensive line, Kent State. Second-third round. Another collegiate left tackle who's likely to be an NFL guard. Powerful player, knocked around a bunch of MAC guys. Another guy with reports he's going higher than I think he should.
Day Three Picks
Kiko Alonso, linebacker, Oregon. Fourth round. Productive player and good athlete with history of off-the-field concerns (DUI and burglary). Could be a three-down guy.
Ben Bartholomew, fullback, Tennesse. Late rounder/UDFA. Free visit for a local player. Between Quinn Johnson and Collin Mooney, I doubt the Titans add another fullback.
Will Davis, cornerback, Utah State. Fourth round. Good 3-cone and short shuttle times at Combine, possible slot player. Apparently played faster than 4.51 40 time would indicate.
Tyrone Goard, wide receiver, Eastern Kentucky. Late rounder/UDFA. Big player with some speed, more visits than I would have expected (I thought he might be a local guy getting a token visit).
Josh Kline, guard, Kent State. Late rounder/UDFA? Dane Brugler of NFL Draft Scout has him as his 31st-ranked guard. About all I know about him. I'll research him if the Titans draft him.
Eric Kush, center, California (PA). Fifth round. Lance Zierlein, who's one of the few people whose evaluations of offensive linemen I trust, lists him as one of his favorites, citing unreal foot quickness and the ability to make reach blocks some NFL players can't.
Rob Lohr, defensive tackle, Vanderbilt. Late rounder/UDFA. Free visit for a local guy.
Jordan Rodgers, quarterback, Vanderbilt. Late rounder/UDFA. Free visit for a local guy.
Zach Rogers, wide receiver, Tennessee. Late rounder/UDFA. Free visit for a local guy. Didn't stand out to me when I watched the Vols.
Zac Stacy, running back, Vanderbilt. Fifth-seventh round. Free visit for a local guy. Interesting late running back prospect according to everyone, which generally means he either has multiple 800-yard seasons or never finds a place in the league.
Collins Ukwu, defensive end, Kentucky. Late rounder/UDFA. Free visit for a local guy.
Trabis Ward, running back, Tennessee State. Later rounder/UDFA. Free visit for a local guy.
J.J. Wilcox, safety, Georgia Southern. Fifth round? Developmental safety who also played running back and receiver in college. Another guy I'll research if the Titans draft.
Khalid Wooten, cornerback, Nevada. Late rounder/UDFA. Good length, good size (height more average), okay speed, reasonable college production. If the Titans draft him, I'll do a real report on him.
Really, though, the guys to concentrate on are the players who are likely to go in rounds one through three. Later guys are much more hit-and-miss in terms of how much the Titans are really interested and when they might go.