Jim Wyatt reveals that the Titans had planned on playing Nick Schommer over Chris Hope in the December Texans game, but Hope protested and the plan never happened. Now, the team might go after Chris Hope's replacement in the draft. He's due $6.5 million next year, and both he and Griffin will be entering the final year of their contracts in 2011. Griffin is still safe and is a sure thing to get a new deal at some point, but they could go a few different directions in-house at the SS position:
Coaches like Schommer, a physical playmaker in practice, but he's had injury issues. Robert Johnson, a fifth-round pick last year, was expected to develop slowly, and he still needs more reps. Myron Rolle, who spent 2010 on the practice squad, remains a long shot.
One concern with Hope is that he was asked to do too much at times last season, something new defensive coordinator Jerry Gray is expected to address.
John Glennon reports that the Titans have serious interest in re-signing Jason Babin, Jacob Ford and Leroy Harris for the right price, but they've put everything on hold until the new CBA and salary cap are in place. While the team says they would like to return all three, I wouldn't be surprised to see two of them sign elsewhere depending upon what we get in the draft. With as many needs as we have, the Titans can't be in the business of over-paying guys who might not even start next season or be the best fit for our scheme (Yesterday it was brought up in The Tennessean that Jerry Gray prefers bigger DEs to play a 7-technique, rather than the 9-technique we've been deploying. That doesn't bode well for Babin or Ford, who are both a good 20 lbs or so lighter than Derrick Morgan).
Character issues may keep him off of out board, but anyone who has watched the Senior Bowl and combine performance of Marvin Austin is drooling. He may be the second coming of Albert Haynesworth without the penchant for violence and public boobie-honking. When he's going full-speed, there isn't a DT in this draft that comes close to him , IMO. Problem is nobody has figured out how to get him to go full-speed all the time. That being said, he's done a stellar job rehabbing his image to this point in the draft process.
Check out the ESPN recap of the offensive line group for a rundown of one of the guys I really hope we snag later in the draft: Orlando Franklin of Miami. Franklin's stock took a nose dive after he was moved to LT this season and struggled badly, but he was a highly-regarded interior lineman prior to that, and could make a huge impact there in the NFL. His workouts were very impressive. I doubt he's the best among the guard prospects, but I expect guys like Danny Watkins and Jason Pinkston to be gone by the time we get around to bolstering the OL.
Former Titans QB Chris Simms is due in court again today on charges stemming from his marijuana arrest back in July of 2010.
Opinions on the QBs in this draft are absolutely all over the place. I bet if you could get straight answers, you'd have teams across the league with a 2 or 3 round difference in where they rank guys like Locker, Newton and Mallett.
Don Banks has some Snap Judgements on the Combine, including why several teams will walk away giving Dareus a higher grade than Fairley (the former is bigger and more polished than the latter: think John Henderson vs. Albert Haynesworth) and Scott Pioli calling this year's crop of pass rushers strong.
The list of guys getting cut whose name outweighs their recent production just keeps growing. In the past few days we've seen Tommy Harris, Clinton Portis, Vernon Gholston, Kris Jenkins, Jason Taylor and Damien Woody let loose.
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