The 2016 NFL Draft is in the books. We spend so much time talking about that draft, especially when the Titans are bad as they have been the last few years, that it always seems a little bit weird when it is over. What are we going to talk about now? Don't worry, we will come up with something to keep you entertained between now and when camp opens this summer.
For now, we will look at some draft grades for the Titans around the internet. It was the first draft for Jon Robinson as a general manager. Some of the picks made me scratch my head at first, but when you step back and look at the class as a whole, it is clear that Robinson wanted players with high floors and good character. We shouldn't be surprised. That is the type of roster he has been telling us he wants to build since he got the job.
Now for the grades:
Mel Kiper ESPN: A-
The Titans not only got a bunch of good football players in this draft, they should have one of the best 2017 draft classes thanks to the premium picks they added when they moved out of the No. 1 slot. That's factored into the grade here. As for what they got this year, well, it's quite a bit even if the value was just OK in spots. Jack Conklin is a good player, and will compete to start at left tackle, and perhaps end up at right. Either way, that's a starter at a need spot. Kevin Dodd helps the pass rush, Derrick Henry gives them running back help (even though you can get good running backs much, much later), Austin Johnson will jump into the mix on the D-line, and Tajae Sharpe could compete for time at wide receiver. Leshaun Sims and Kevin Byard could help in the secondary, though not early on.
If there's a question mark for me, it's whether they should have added a corner or wide receiver earlier. But overall, they got a bunch of players who have the chance to help, and the picks for next year will turn into more. This is what rebuilding looks like, and they already have the QB.
New Titans general manager Jon Robinson worked the draft aggressively. He traded down from No. 1 to No. 15 and then back up to No. 8. There he took offensive tackle Jack Conklin. He's a good system fit, but it was surprising to see him get picked ahead of Laremy Tunsil. Robinson attacked his needs with three second-round picks, grabbing pass rusher Kevin Dodd and defensive tackle Austin Johnson to help the defense. Both help the run game, and Dodd should be able to get after the quarterback. Don't be surprised when Derrick Henry beats DeMarco Murray for the starting running back job.
In the fifth round, the Titans got a solid wide receiver in Tajae Sharpe. He's not a star athlete, but he has good hands and toughness. Cornerback LeShaun Sims is a four-year starter at Southern Utah. He has solid size and good athleticism. Sixth rounder Sebastian Tretola is a player who will stick early as a backup, but he has the size to be turned into a starter at some point.
The Titans made the most of the draft haul they got from the Rams in exchange for moving back from the No. 1 spot. Picking Michigan State OT Jack Conkin at No. 8 after another trade was a safe move, and the Titans may have gotten a steal in the second round with Clemson DE Kevin Dodd. The most confusing pick may have been the second-round pick of the reigning Heisman Trophy winner in Alabama RB Derrick Henry. Henry playing with QB Marcus Mariota might sound appealing, but what does it mean for DeMarco Murray?