We aren't even finished with regular season play, but the debate has already started. It's looking like the Tennessee Titans will have a monumental choice to make at the top of the draft, assuming they lose out and lock up the number one pick. The Titans get Houston at home this week, then end the season in Indianapolis next weekend. It's far from a lock, but it will be a tall task to win either game without the services of Marcus Mariota.
Most fans have already assumed that the Titans will be picking first, starting the debate that's sure to drive us all insane; Laremy Tunsil or Joey Bosa? We have four full months to argue about it until we hate each other, but first things first: we need to consider how the coaching hire will shape this selection.
The Titans moved to a 3-4 when Ken Whisenhunt arrived. They had been firmly entrenched in a 4-3 defense for years, but made the leap when Whisenhunt brought in Ray Horton. It's impossible to predict right now, but the new defensive scheme that the incoming head coach selects could determine the direction of the *potential* first overall selection.
The candidates are Ole Miss' left tackle Laremy Tunsil and Ohio State's Joey Bosa.
Tunsil is a rock solid, athletic, powerful tackle prospect. He would solve a lot of issues immediately up front for the Titans and would likely force a move to the right side for Taylor Lewan. Some (including myself) have argued in his favor, citing that protecting Marcus Mariota is the most important thing that the Titans can do at this point.
Joey Bosa is the other option. Bosa is a game wrecking defensive end for the Buckeyes who demands a ton of attention on every snap. Teams usually run to the opposite side of Bosa because he's such a powerful and controlling figure. He will give you plenty of pass rushing ability with his hand in the dirt. He isn't a quick-twich type rusher, but he wins with upper body strength and length.
Bosa checks in at 6-5, 275 pounds which makes his ideal fit a 4-3 scheme. I have no doubts he could figure out how to play in a 3-4 pretty easily, but his best fit is a 4-3 defensive end with his hand in the dirt. If the Titans bring in a guy with a 4-3 history to run the defense, Bosa may very well make the most sense with the pick.
A move back to a 4-3 would put Derrick Morgan back in his rightful position at end and likely move Brian Orakpo off the line of scrimmage. This would free up and end spot along the front four. A front seven with Bosa in the fold looks very enticing.
Here's how it would potentially look.
Orakpo would become a chess piece and could be used to rush the passer on passing downs. Bosa has the ability to kick inside and give you disruption along the interior. Morgan, Casey, Orakpo and Joey Bosa coming after quarterbacks could be really, really fun.
We can argue all we want right now, but until we know who the staff will be it's kind of pointless. All of this could be made very clear with a free agent signing or two, also. It could also be made clear if the Titans were to win one of these final two games. We'll know more very soon.