It’s draft day.
By this point, I broken down what I think the Titans are likely to do on offense and on defense. I’ve written about their basic position needs in general. I broke down their reported visits and workouts, historically strong indicators of players they might target in the early rounds.
As I have done in the past, I will be using someone else’s full 7-round mock to give me a realistic look at which players might be available when the Titans pick. Invariably, this mock draft will be wildly off by the time the dust has settled on Saturday, with a player I take in the seventh round going off the board in the fourth round, or vice versa. The past two years I have done this exercise NFL.com has given me a seven-round mock to work with. This year, no such luck, so I went instead with the only new seven-round mock I saw on Wednesday, that by Dan Hope of BuffaloBillsDraft.
So, here’s my take:
#11: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Dan’s pick: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Analysis: I think Barr could be the second-best pass-rusher in the draft, behind only Jadeveon Clowney. There are good reasons not to take Barr this high-he’s only played defense for two years, probably isn’t ready to be an immediate impact player, and needs to develop more in general. For the Titans, I don’t believe any of those should be or are knockout concerns. I’ve said this before, though: the Titans will be very well-informed about Barr, and I’ll be fine if they either take him or pass on him with the 11th pick. Yes, I think they pass on Aaron Donald if he’s available, but the presence of Donald could make it easy for them to trade down, even if it’s just the Giants giving up a fifth- or sixth-rounder to make sure they get their player.
#42: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
Dan’s pick: Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
Analysis: While I like Hyde, I believe the depth of the running back class is such that even if you need a running back (and I think the Titans pretty much do), waiting until Day 3 is perfectly fine. That goes especially so for as talented a player as Roby. As I said in the visitors post, I expect Roby’s talent to make him a first-round pick even with the off-the-field concerns. Only the Titans can say for sure whether they’re satisfied with Roby’s answers on that regard (that’s what the visit was for), but especially in the second round it’s a risk well worth taking.
#112: Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU
Dan’s pick: Dexter McDougle, CB, Maryland
Analysis: I admit to not having watched McDougle, who is Dane Brugler’s 36th-ranked cornerback and ESPN/Scouts Inc.’s 202nd-ranked player. Having not addressed running back in the second round, though, Hill is an easy choice here if he passed the Titans’ character test. While I don’t love him as a prospect, I think the fourth round is the right place for him.
#151: Cody Hoffman, WR, BYU
Dan’s pick: David Fales, QB, San Jose State
Analysis: I was very conflicted on this pick. After hitting my top three priorities in pass rusher, corner, and running back, I was looking at wide receiver, developmental offensive tackle, or just a value pick irrespective of position. A number of players I would be interested in at this spot-Brandon Coleman, Will Sutton, James Hurst, Laurent Duvernary-Tardif-went off the board in the previous dozen picks, leaving the good-sized (6’4, 223 pounds) and productive Hoffman, who gets bonus points for being a willing blocker.
#186: Andrew Jackson, ILB, Western Kentucky
Dan’s pick: Andre Hal, CB, Vanderbilt
Analysis: After passing on Avery Williamson the previous round and with inside linebacker still a position I want to address, I go after the highly productive Hilltopper to provide some thumping on special teams and if I want some more size against the run.
#228: Cornelius Lucas, OT, Kansas State
Dan’s pick: A.C. Leonard, TE, Tennessee State
Analysis: Leonard is a local prospect who has visited the team, so he could easily be the pick. Which position the Titans attack with this pick could easily be the one they like least in undrafted free agency, as opposed to strictly the highest-rated player on their board. Personally, I see developmental offensive tackle as a bigger need than developmental receiving tight end. Lucas is one of those rare humans who could be a good offensive tackle, and would be a good player to not have to play in 2014.
What would Sour Gower think of this draft? Character concerns, character concerns, and more character concerns would signal a bit of a turning of a new direction. Roby and Hill have off the field issues, as I noted, and Jackson drew a 2013 suspension for violating team rules, though he was also a team captain. Plus, hey, Cody Latimer or Martavis Bryant or Donte Moncrief or Tiny Richardson would have been neat third-round picks if Webster hadn’t gifted that to the 49ers last year in his desperate attempt to find a wide receiver to catch 25 passes (my snarky Hunter prediction: 25-428-2; Hunter’s actual 2013 line: 18-354-4). I’m trying not to get overly exercised about the later day three picks, since the Titans don’t really pay any attention to them anyway. Character concerns aside, I really like the way this draft fell in terms of getting the positions I wanted and think the team needs with the first three picks. Sure, it’s a draft that could be smoking ruins when I review it six years down the line, but I want this kind of ambition in my drafts.
Now tell me why I did a bad job, and how you can do better using the same guidelines.