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The Tennessee Titans and the Depth of the 2014 Draft

The 2014 draft is being touted by many as one of the deepest in history. I guess that depends on what it is you are looking for.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The talent available in this years draft seems to go deeper than in years past.  Then again, I feel like we say that every year as the prospects have been analyzed, scrutinized and debated for weeks on end.  Who knows, maybe the depth in this years draft is just a result of the extra few weeks to discuss it.

Upon closer examination, the depth in this years draft seems to be a reality for some and just as elusive for others.  The depth of talent available is only relative to your team needs.  Going by knee jerk reaction and from listening to the chatter surrounding the draft  this year, I would say this years crop is especially deep at WR, RB, and even QB.  All skill positions that have the ball in their hand.  This may be why so many think this draft is loaded with talent.

Outside of Jadeveon Clowney, Khalil Mack, and Anthony Barr you have to look a long ways to find an edge rusher.  Inside linebacker?  CJ Mosley may be the only one taken for a long while.  Calvin Pryor and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix are often talked about as the top rated safeties, but it's a long way down the list before the likes of a Jimmie Ward are mentioned.

So is this draft really deep?  Or is it just the skill positions that are abundant?

For a quick answer I looked at Mel Kipers' top 100 Draft Prospects (In$ider) in order to tally some numbers.  Here's the break down in order of abundance:

  • WR: 19
  • OT:  11
  • QB:  10
  • RB:  10
  • CB:  10
  • OLB: 9
  • G/C:  8
  • DT:  7
  • S:  5
  • DE:  5
  • TE:  4
  • ILB:  2

Could Kiper's and others rankings of the players be jaded by how much a position is coveted?  Sure.  But keep in mind the current thought process is that running backs are as plentiful and valuable as barnacles on a salt water dock, and yet there's still 10 ranked in the top 100.  This year the first offensive guard is ranked in the mid 30's overall.  Last year two went in the top 10.  This leads me to believe the players are ranked more on ability and less about the value of their respective positions.

What this means for the Titans

At the moment it would be hard to call the Titans position groups anything other than mediocre with potential.  They don't have a Calvin Johnson, an Aaron Rodgers, or a J.J. Watt.  They have solid to above average players at each position with the potential for pro bowl play if all the pieces are firing at the same time in the right scheme.  Young players such as Kendall Wright and Jurrell Casey are definitely on a great upward projection, but aren't yet cemented into game-changer elite status. This leaves the Titans in the unique position of being able to take the best player available in the draft, as their list of needs are either plentiful or few depending on your outlook.

Arguments can be made for almost any position on the Titans roster.  So how much will the depth at certain positions sway the front office's decision?  According to the above top 100 list, which takes you through the first 3 rounds, it may be wise to focus on the thinnest positions available and wait on the others.

If that's the case, you should expect Ruston Webster to wait on the likes of a RB, WR, OT, or even a QB.  Edge rusher, interior linebacker, and even tight end is where this draft seems to have the largest void of players and that may be a clue to where the Titans will focus in the first round come draft day.