So here we are, on the precipice of the draft. But where do the Titans stand? As far as the picks go, Webster will be looking for the best player available, but that is often after you filter out positions where the team doesn't necessarily need reinforcements. I thought it would be wise to put all this in perspective; lay out the positions of need, order them by importance, and summarize.
1. Inside Linebacker
Thought many might argue with this one, the need for a run-stopping inside linebacker is critical at this point. The Titans have a linebacker corps flush with athletic players, but not one of them is a proven guy who can fit the run when called upon. With the position group consisting of Moise Fokou, Colin McCarthy, and likely Wesley Woodyard, there is a dire need of a guy who can plug the gaps and play downhill against the run. Good thing for the Titans is that there are quite a few guys in this draft who can accomplish that, better still, they can be had beyond the confines of the first round.
Look for the Titans to address this huge hole definitely. They haven't had a guy who fits this mold on the roster since Stephen Tulloch left for Detroit, and that was the NFL equivalent of a lifetime ago. Time to start afresh.
2. Offensive Tackle
Some have written off this position since the Titans went out of their way to acquire former Ravens tackle Michael Oher in Free Agency. What they aren't talking about, is that Titans backup T Byron Stingily, outplayed him last season in limited snaps. I don't think it is a forgone conclusion that Oher starts this season, given his struggles thus far into his NFL career. I also think that, given the right situation, the Titans might pull the trigger on a highly-talented tackle in this deep class.
Beyond that RT spot, there is a future hole at LT, currently manned by long-time stalwart Michael Roos, to definitely consider. The Titans want to do all they can to avoid a repeat of the latter half of 2012.
3. Wide Receiver
The Titans have drafted two first round wide receivers in recent years. While Britt was busy not panning out, Wright was developing into one of the league's premier slot wideouts. While Nate Washington has been a warrior on the outside as well, the Titans would definitely benefit with another outside guy, especially with Damian Williams off to Miami as well. There could be some intriguing options early on in the draft.
With Wright and Hunter the guys for the future, a quality third man might prove key once Washington hangs up his cleats.
4. Running Back
This is the one everyone knows about. The exodus of Chris Johnson was well-covered by all the major sports outlets. Cuurently, the Titans' backfield consists of plodders Shonn Greene and Jackie Battle, and utility man Dexter McCluster. While there is potential there, few would argue that another back who can lead the charge wouldn't be a welcome addition. With a plethora of solid backs who can be picked up at the later picks, I see this need as one the Titans can't ignore, but shouldn't need to try too hard to fill.
The Titans let Alteraun Verner walk for greener pastures in the off-season, creating a void at corner. While I would say that it's not out of the question that Webster and co adds a guy here, I find it highly unlikely that it would be high on their list. If the Front Office didn't have faith in guys like Coty Sensabaugh and Blidi Wreh-Wilson, ATV would still be wearing two-toned blue.
And no, not to unseat Jake Locker, but to back him up. With Locker's injury history, having a competant backup is important, and the Titans let that guy leave for a division rival. So with Charlie Whitehurst and unknown Tyler Wilson backing up the Titans first stringer, things could get ugly fast if he went down. From the numerous pre-draft visits, I think it's a sure thing that the Titans select a signal-caller. "Where?" is the question. For me, I think they may pull the trigger in round 2, but I think waiting till the 4th would be a wiser move.
For what it's worth, Kicker is also a need following the release of Rob Bironas. I'm not sure the FO will be using a pick in this draft to find a new one though.