Depth of the 2014 Draft
There may not be a bevy of supposed "blue chip" players at the top of this upcoming NFL draft, but there is definitely an abundance of talent that travels far beyond the confines of the first round. This depth has been noticed. NFL GM's have been making, or have been trying to make, moves to acquire additional picks to bolster their rosters, even with mid round picks. Now it is no doubt always a difficult task to compare drafts to one another, especially when you are mired in the middle of things, but the general consensus is that this year's crop holds a broader spectrum of talent than the past few years. This is nowhere more evident than amongst this class of incoming running backs. While you can argue that there is no poster boy as there often is, an Eddie Lacy, a Trent Richardson, etc, it is also more apparent than ever regarding running back's fall from NFL graces. When you can have the pick of the running back, or any skill position for that matter, at round 3 or later, you know times are changing.
The 11th Pick
Now getting to the Tennessee Titans, they hold, yet again, an odd place in the draft's pecking order. Trying to place players was similarly difficult last year when the Titans were picking at 10; only so many blue chip players can make that spot feel like your team just lost out on the lottery.
While this may be true again come Thursday, the pressing needs of the teams ahead of Tennessee can only benefit the team's stock. The more franchises that pull the trigger on a signal caller, and there could be as many as three of them (realistically), the higher chance the Titans have of landing one of those coveted blue chip players.
Who exactly those are is always up for debate but at this point I consider the following guys the elite players available (in order);
1. Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
2. Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
3. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
4. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
5. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
6. Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
7. Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
8. Johhny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
...Because I know how much everyone loves lists.
In the end, I think the Titans opt to go for a guy like Anthony Barr. While I think he will be a decent pro, I'm not sold on it being the best pick in the world at 11, especially considering the Titans depth at the "Leo" spot in DC, Ray Horton's new scheme with Wimbley, Phillips, and even Morgan to consider there. While I love Aaron Donald and I think he's a top 5 guy in this draft, there are concerns with where he would fit in Nashville.
The Titans have some big needs, especially at ILB and running back, so it will be interesting to see which direction Webster and co. take in the first draft of the Whisenhunt Era.
So get your TV sets prepped and ready for the 2014 Draft, and let's bring a merciful end to football's mock-draft season once and for all.