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2017 NFL Draft: Random Thoughts

Emptying out the draft notebook with the big day just one month away.

NCAA Football:  Florida at Louisiana State Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Every draft season I have some notes that aren’t big enough for their own article. I’m going to try to collect them and put them into their own post somewhat regularly as the draft draws closer now. Many of these will be Titans-related, but some will just broadly cover the draft. So, here are some draft tidbits to mull over...

  • So much of the discussion for the Titans focuses on the cornerback position. This class is really deep, and I still don’t think there’s a lot of value for the team to select a corner with the 5th pick. There’s going to be some good corners available with the 18th selection. Marshon Lattimore is the popular mock draft pick at 5, but given the injury history and only one year of film, I’m hesitant to pull the trigger on that.
  • Continuing with the CB theme, I think a case can be made for Tre’Davious White as the best corner in this draft. Hear me out on this one. Lattimore, when healthy, is easily the best corner I’ve seen in this class. When evaluating prospects you have to take more than just game tape into account (health, experience, red flags, etc). This is where White can start to make a case. He’s played four years at LSU, three as a starter. Two of those years were excellent, while his 2015 season was subpar. Overall I found that his body of work was strong. He can excel in man coverage, has speed to stick with receivers, and can play both inside and out. He and Gareon Conley are two of my favourite corners in the draft, and I would take either with the 18th pick.
  • I think DeShaun Watson is the best quarterback prospect in this class. He checks off all the boxes. Solid, long term production with the physical traits to back it all up. I’m always hesitant to fall for players with only one year of production (Mitchell Trubisky) and the rest of the class is raw (DeShone Kizer, Patrick Mahomes). Its a poor year if you need a quarterback, in my opinion.
  • Here’s a broad question to debate: Is it better to have one year of outstanding play or multiple years of solid play, mixed with some lows? The answer to that question will likely tell how you feel about Lattimore vs White, and Watson vs Trubisky. My preference, clearly, lies in more years of production. What I find now is that players will have a really strong year of play, then the opposing coordinators adapt and their play takes a hit. Then draft analysts rip them apart. Its always going to be harder to succeed when the coordinators have more film on you. Overcoming that should be noted as a positive. The issue with the “one-year wonder” guys is that sometimes you just haven’t seen enough on them to truly discover their weaknesses.
  • I’m struggling to find edge rushers that I love in this class. Haason Reddick is the fast-riser of the draft. He’s got a strong, lean build and was used at multiple positions in Temple’s defense. He’s athletic enough that you can see him drop into intermediate coverage or used as a QB spy (vs USF, for example), fast enough around the edge to play linebacker, and strong enough that he lined up with his hand in the ground as a down lineman. I need to do more research on him. He didn’t “wow” me on tape. Charles Harris was a player I really liked going into the Combine, but he didn’t test well (check out his MockDraftable profile). I’m not much for measurables or Combine testing, but low results mean you really need to make sure you didn’t miss anything on tape. I hope to really solidify some opinions on the edge rusher class for the next edition of this post.
  • I’ve mentioned it on MCM before, but the medical evaluation on Jonathan Allen is going to be crucial for teams, especially the Titans. I still can’t help but drool over the idea of pairing Allen and Casey on the defensive line.
  • Our own Terry Lambert loves Christian McCaffrey, and you can see his excellent breakdown right here. I don’t really like the fit for the Titans. I’d consider McCaffrey over John Ross if you’re looking at the receiver position, but would definitely take Corey Davis and Mike Williams over McCaffrey. The idea of using him as a third down back is popular too, but the Titans already struggled enough to get Derrick Henry into the rotation. McCaffrey might make sense for other teams but I’m not sure he’s going to get nearly enough snaps on this offense to warrant a first round selection. Sometimes, the idea of a multi-purpose, third down back gets overinflated.