While the Titans' scouts and personnel people have plenty to be looking for in Indianapolis, evaluating the QBs in this draft class is the top priority. The top few picks this year are huge for Mike Reinfeldt as it's his first chance to put his stamp on the post-Fisher era. I expect that the final call will be all his, but I'd also assume that he'll still be soliciting heavy input from Thorchak on what guy fits the mentality they're looking for. I'm also hoping that new mold matches the kind of guys we brought in last year: high-character players who combined major production with great leadership at the college level.
Despite losing his post atop the NFL's Competition Committee, Jeff Fisher will be retained as a consultant until he's back on an NFL payroll. Fisher has been the co-chairman of the influential group for years, and you can bet that he'll be right back there after he gets hired in Cincinnati next year (I'm calling it right now).
Blaine Gabbert has been a vogue pick for the Titans in many mock drafts, and despite his lack of workouts at the combine, Mike Mayock is still among his biggest fans. In defense of Gabbert, he's signed with mega-agency CAA (who have repped most of the QBs drafted in the top half of the draft for the past several years), and they almost never allow their clients to throw at the combine (Mike Mayock's comments after the jump).
"He's got a bigger transition than Sam Bradford or Matt Ryan; it's more similar to (Joe) Flacco," Mayock said. "He's a spread quarterback who never gets under center where Ryan, Bradford and (Stafford) occasionally went under. You saw them do it. Fifty percent of his throws are catch, rock and throw with no footwork whatsoever and the other 50 percent are three step and hitch, which means there's going to be a transition on his footwork, no question about it."
But Mayock likes the fact the Missouri spread has a lot of intermediate throws between 11 and 20 yards and that Gabbert has shown enough arm strength to make the 18-yard comeback routes and the 20-yard digs through anticipation and accuracy, which Mayock calls the NFL's defining throws.
"I believe in Blaine Gabbert," he said. "A franchise quarterback trumps everything else. If you don’t have one you don’t win in this league. ... If Cincinnati believes he's a franchise quarterback they have to take him."
Ben Volin echos what I've heard from several draft gurus since the QBs evaluations on Sunday: Christian Ponder looked the best overall, while Newton struggled with the backpedal in his drop and unfamiliar receivers. Ponder could be playing his way to the late first round, which would suck because I think he and Dalton (who also shined) would be stellar picks with out second round pick. Dalton drew comparisons to the physical skills of Mark Sanchez.
The boys at Canal Street Chronicles, the New Orleans Saints site on SB Nation, interview some no nothing blogger about the state of the Titans. Though I doubt they learned much, at least it was a chance to spread the gospel of Thorchak.
Jason Babin' agent says that the Titans are still interested in his client, but have chosen to wait until there's a new CBA and a clearer picture of what the next salary cap will look like to restart negotiations.
Former Titans OC Mike Heimerdinger is at the scouting combine in Indy looking for his next job, but he tells Jim Wyatt that there just aren't any openings out there. I know Dinger is a fiery, tough guy, and he'd love nothing more than to get right back in the NFL saddle, but at this point part of me hopes he gets a year to take it easy and focus on his health. I have no doubt that there will be a job that's right for him next year.
Nick Fairley continues to sing the praises of new Titans D-line coach Tracy Rocker:
"Coach Rocker, he helped my career a lot," Fairley said. "Just by him playing in the trenches and knowing what it takes to play down there, so everything that came out of Coach Rocker’s mouth my two years with him I took it to heart and tried to use it to my game. Him going to Tennessee, I am very happy for him. He has deserved it, he’s worked hard, and I commend him.
"His coaching style is very intense. In practice he is the type of guy that will get on you if you made a mistake, but I think he is going to make a great (NFL) coach. I can’t wait to see how it works out for him."
Vinnie Iyer of Sporting News calls Stephen Tulloch a 'playmaker'. Tully is many things, but he's nowhere near a playmaker. In fact, that's absolutely the one reason the Titans won't sign him.
Be sure to check in with FO's excellent combine recaps. Gotta agree with Aaron Schatz that Mallett's press session was about as bad as it gets without admitting to an actual crime. He came across as a dismissive dick with a big pile of things he didn't want to talk about, and he did it all with a petulant smirk. Maybe Mallett grows up and gets his head straight, but if recent history has taught us anything you don't bank on someone becoming more mature after they become a millionaire overnight.
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