So, for those of you who missed out on today's Turf Show Times mock draft, I'd recommend checking out the action a little bit. Although the trades and such to begin the two-hour pre-draft made the mock a bit fantastical, I think the way it churned out was fascinating. In the end, we ended up trading back our first three-round picks. After the first two rounds, we wound up with:
Round 1: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Round 2: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
During this process, I really got to thinking about our choices in this year's draft. After Chance Warmack was taken at pick 6, I began reaching for other first-round possibilities. Now I've been very high on the possibility of a Warmack/Hunt one/two punch to solidify both our offense and defense for quite some time, so I was still hoping for Hunt in the second; and then I realized that Mingo and Hunt would be the perfect defensive gasoline for next year's nasty, blitzing, figurative-head-hunting Greg Williams defense. Ultimately, Mingo fell far too early and he was replaced by Jarvis Jones on our boards. However, I think a great option for our FO on Thursday and Friday is to grab Mingo in the first and Hunt in the second.
It all starts with Mingo's freak athleticism. When you watch this guy's highlight reel, you see a total predator. And his Sports Science proves that he's a pressure machine -- and that he looks good in blue. So, basically, Mingo's a faster, sleeker, more deadly, more male version of Christine -- a next-gen, football-playing RoboCop. In summary, Mingo's play looks a little bit like this: fresh off the snap, Mingo rockets off the line of scrimmage, puncturing through the offensive line almost immediately; from there, his non-stop motor fires up and pursues his target relentlessly, buzzing around until the play is done and at least one person is on the ground. He's threatening. He's menacing. And I think he'll give offenses hell next year. However, he's not perfect. Also shown in the video is Mingo's occasional tendency to get beat badly. He fires in with such a high motor that he can be off-target at times. And for now he's not necessarily an every-down kind of guy.
However, when an offense gets a hang of his movements or he gets tired, as the QB is looking about, trying to find our buzzing Mingo, the QB gets crushed from the side by an Estonian missile. It's Margus Hunt, SMU's compliment to Mingo in a fast-pace, bruising and smashing defense. The DE and once-teammate of Taylor Thompson provides a similar huge-upside talent as our FO's up-and-coming TE golden boy. Where Mingo serves the role of a buzzing, wrecking, frenzied pass rusher, Hunt fires off the line like a bullet. This one/two punch provides an excellent little knife for Gregg Williams to cut through O-lines. Pair them with the big beefy other members of our D-line like Poitua and Hill, and we've got a massive, threatening body of a line that will attack offenses. And, best of all, all that height means tipped passes and swatted balls, making the job of our secondary much easier. Adding these two players is the perfect way to make guys like Pollard and Verner look even better and make Griffin look like a serviceable player for once.
But certainly, even so the presence of Warmack will be missed. But there is a glue to tie together these defense-heavy early rounds: Brian Winters, OG, Kent State. In the third round, our mock-FO for MCM in the draft selected Brian Winters. Winters is a projected sleeper that could be an absolute steal for the Titans next week. He's had a productive, lengthy career, and he's just the type of blue-collar, versatile, hard-working project Munchak would like to take on. Although he's dropped off draft boards lately due to a poor Combine performance, Winters could make a great addition to our O-line, battling in training camp alongside Turner and Spencer for the starting spot, or at least a rotational gig. While he's nowhere near the certain-HOF talent that Warmack is, he could wind up to be a Pro Bowler with us. Guys like Alvin Bailey could be another option, but it's evident our FO has an interest in Winters.
Add in a WR like Swope in the third, and a CB like Hawthorne in the fourth, and we've got a suddenly well-rounded, young and talented team going into next year. Add in our relatively easy schedule, and I have no reason to think a 10-6 season and a little playoff run is out of the question. We could be a great team next year. Now, naturally, I'd love to see Warmack with our Titans this year, especially if we grab a guy like Lemonier or Washington in third alongside Swope; but I think today has shown that there is a reason for hope even if Warmack is gone at pick 10.