With day 2 in the books, there is a myriad of articles and reviews, many with grades on the individual team's draft choices. Let's cool down for a moment and reserve the real harsh judgments until we've actually seen these guys take to the field. That said, I think the Titans did relatively well in the the draft's first two days. How do the new additions fit, and how quickly can we expect returns on these investments?
The First Round
While initially some viewed as a panic pick, a step back reveals the logic and value in the Taylor Lewan selection. While he has some alleged (and not) off-field concerns, Lewan was a top 6 or so talent in this draft. Admitedly, I had ignored him in the run up to the draft due to the character question marks, but he is the 2nd or 3rd best tackle in the draft depending on who you talk to, and more importantly, about as pro-ready as it gets at the position.
With his massive size and strength, Lewan should be able to lock down the Right Tackle spot. While he has not played on the right side of the line, it makes little sense to displace the ever-stellar Michael Roos on the left. It has been logically speculated that Lewan fits perfectly on the left side of the Titans offensive line when Roos decides to hang up his cleats, or his he gets worn down in the coming seasons much like David Stewart did. At this point, though, you can't have Michael Oher starting on your line with Michael Roos on the bench; it just defies convention.
While some may have wanted to see a flashier pick at 11, Lewan solidies a Titans line that should rank among the best in football in the next year or two. With a lot of young talent on hand, Jake Locker and the Tennessee backs should have a much easier go of it than they have the past two seasons. The Offensive Line, what was once a staple of the Titans best teams, has now (hopefully) become a reality again.
The Second Round
View pick value charts however you like, but I thought Titans GM Ruston Webster made a wise choice in moving back in the 2nd round with the Eagles. In the deepest draft in recent memory, extra picks are at an all-time premium. As we saw later the Titans likely selected the same player they would have at 42 anyway. That's a win in my book.
Now onto the pick. Bishop Sankey was considered by many to be the best runner in the draft. His well-rounded skill set was tops among the consensus top 3-4 backs, with his blocking ability and pass catching skills a huge benefit to his already impressive acumen. The Titans had a clear need at running back with Chris Johnson gone, but Sankey fits right in with a remodeled corps including last year's FA add Shonn Greene and the new guy, Dexter McCluster. Together, they should be a handful for opposing defenses. In an NFL moving headlong towards running-back by committee, the Titans finally feel like they are in the right decade.
Closing Thoughts Before the 4th Round Opens
The Titans did a good job where value is concerned, and they filled two of their biggest needs. With the Titans offensive struggles last season, it's not a huge surprise to see them devote the first two rounds to improving in that arena. It's also a show of good faith in new defensive coordinator Ray Horton. While there are tools missing in his tool-belt (a run-stopping ILB major among them), the Titans should be ready to upgrade on that side of the ball already. With a group a such linebackers still available as of the beginning of the draft's 4th round, the Titans will likely target one or more to bolster the ranks.
Tennessee is in good hands with Ruston Webster. It'll be interesting to see what he can come up with.