So far, I think we can all agree that our 2012 draft was very impressive. We won't know if this is true until the season has rolled around. But our front office has shown that they can find strong talent that can contribute immediately. So, let's take some time of the offseason to look at one player that our Titans might be interested in taking in the 2013 NFL Draft. I am going to take a mock draft and look and analyze the stats and strengths of the players we are expected to take.
To start, I am going to look at Bleacher Report's mock draft. They have us selecting in the 15th spot. Although this isn't impossible, none of us expect to pick earlier than 32. But nevertheless, their pick for us is not necessarily unlikely- the junior defensive end from Michigan State, William Gholston.
This pick is very conditional... on two people- Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley.
From what I heard from one an interview on the Titans website, 2010's first round pick has had some success in OTAs, so far. But that is just practice. This isn't a game scenario. Derrick's performance in June may have no reflection on his performance in September. For all of our sake, let's hope his pass rushing improves to a stellar level in 2012. I hope he proves to be worth the 16th pick. I like his personality, and I think he has great potential.
Furthermore, the future of William Gholston will also be a result of Kamerion Wimbley's success with the Titans. We do not even know for sure that Wimbley will be the savior of this pass rush attack. Webster seems really high on him and his work ethic, according to a video on the Titans website. But a strong work ethic does not guarantee success on the football field. As I've said before, I believe he could easily become my favorite Titan this year.
Now, for the purpose of this article, let's assume that either Wimbley and/or Morgan do not succeed in two-toned blue in 2012. This will lead to the drafting of a pass rusher, who could easily be William Gholston of Michigan State.
There are not a lot of stats to support drafting Gholston. First of all, he may not enter the draft in 2012. He will enter his junior year in 2012, his second year starting as a defensive end.
In his freshman year in 2010, he registered 13 tackles and 5 quarterback hurries. This was in 10 games before he went down with a shoulder injury.
His sophomore season was a little different. He ranked 11th in the Big Ten with 5 sacks. Despite this low stat, he led the Spartans d-line with 70 tackles, 16 of which for a loss. He was named to the All-Big Ten second team in his first starting season.
(Courtesy of the MSU website)
First off, I would like to look at a highlight video. Warning: some foul language.
What really impresses me is his bull rush. He gets to the ball carrier, may it be the quarterback or the running back. He gets to them and brings them down. The 6'7" (according to the MSU site mentioned above) giant has great power, speed, and instinct to get the ball carrier down on the ground. These highlights are extremely exciting, especially for a first-time starter.
Now, I want to show a video that is a bit of a red flag. He got a little heated up in the rival battle against MSU's biggest enemy, Michigan.
This could simply be a result of a huge rival game and immaturity. But nevertheless, this is a bit of a concern.
Why it May not Happen
There are a few reasons that would lead to the Titans either (A) not selecting William at 32 or (B) not trading up from the spot to nab him. Obviously, the fact he punched an opponent is a red flag that could stop the Titans who are heavy on character players. But does one punch make him a serious character problem? Furthermore, William has little experience. Although Taylor Thompson had very little experience to support the pick of him as a tight end, every one of our draft picks were seniors. That's right, no underclassmen. However, neither Akeem Ayers nor Jurrell Casey had played four seasons in college.
This would be an extremely productive selection. I am a bit biased, as a fan of MSU (although I've not really watched any games); however, I still think this pick could lead to great production and success for the Titans. This seems like an unlikely pick because of the production and character concerns, but nothing is impossible. Only time would tell, my friends.