When the NFL Draft begins selections in Arlington, Tex., April 26, the Tennessee Titans have the No. 25 pick in the first round.
Here is an in-depth look at the team’s needs, offseason changes, potential best fit and the selections by NFLDraftScout.com’s experts.
Who would you pick and why?
TOP 5 NEEDS
- Outside linebacker/edge rusher: Both Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan are in the final years of their respective contracts, and are getting to the age where the wear and tear could begin to show at any time. Veteran Erik Walden, who joined the team last year, has not been brought back yet, and the light still hasn’t gone on for Kevin Dodd, now entering his third season. The Titans have a solid fourth guy in Aaron Wallace, but they need a pure edge rusher to become the heir apparent to Morgan and Orakpo. To get that, chances are, it will have to come with a pretty early pick.
- Wide receiver: Simply from a numbers standpoint, the Titans need more here, not to mention they could use some reliable productivity as well. The Titans are banking that last year’s top pick Corey Davis will shake the injury bug and become a more consistent threat. Rishard Matthews is a decent No. 2 receiver, but beyond that there are lots of question marks. Taywan Taylor has potential and Tajae Sharpe returns after spending last year on injured reserve with a foot injury. Eric Decker and Harry Douglas exited as free agents, and the Titans probably need a veteran, as well as possibly a draft pick here.
- Inside linebacker: Yes, the Titans brought in Will Compton to replace Avery Williamson. Compton was an overachiever for the Redskins, but is coming off an injury. The Titans probably need to add an inside linebacker not only for depth, but someone who can help out on special teams as well.
- Safety: The Titans’ starters are set at safety. Leading the way is Kevin Byard, who was an All-Pro last season, despite Deion Sanders apparently having not heard of him, according to their Twitter spat. Johnathan Cyprien, who is much better as a run support safety than in coverage, is the other starter. The Titans cut veteran Da’Norris Searcy and did not tender Curtis Riley, so depth here has taken a hit. It certainly should be addressed on draft day, and if the Titans can get another find in the mold of Byard, they could be set here for a long time.
- Fullback: Last year, the Titans cut Jalston Fowler midway through the season because they were using a fullback hardly at all in the offense. Also, they were not enamored by Fowler’s special teams play. Fullbacks are not a priority in the NFL these days, and the Titans could easily find an undrafted free agent to fill this role. But they probably will carry one, just to have that option in their arsenal again.
–BEST FIT: Harold Landry, OLB, Boston College. Landry seems to be the player matched with the Titans in a lot of mock drafts. Of course, that means nothing, especially when you are picking in the bottom third of the first round. But Landry does possess the type of pass-rush skills the Titans are hoping to draft and develop as a long-term successor to either Brian Orakpo or Derrick Morgan. With the Titans having only six picks in this year’s draft, also don’t be surprised if general manager Jon Robinson tries to trade back, unless there is someone he really loves on the board at No. 25.
–Rob Rang: Sam Hubbard, OLB, Ohio State. New head coach Mike Vrabel may only have to look to his alma mater to find the Titans’ next “big” win from the Big Ten, with Hubbard talented enough to provide Tennessee with a similar boost off the edge that former Michigan and Michigan State standouts Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin have provided blocking on it. Overshadowed throughout much of his career at Ohio State, Hubbard possesses the size, athleticism and work ethic to ultimately prove a better pro than collegiate player, intangibles that Vrabel will no doubt love.
–Dane Brugler: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama. The Titans will be shopping for linebackers early in the draft and Evans has the athletic and aggressive profile that allows him to be an every-down player, fitting the Tennessee scheme.
FANS ON THE CLOCK, ON THE RECORD
OK, it’s your turn. Tell us in the comments section who you would pick and why. Check out top 1,000 players rated by NFLDraftScout.com, including combine and pro day workouts, biographies, scouting reports.