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2017 Tennessee Titans NFL Draft Preview: Needs, Visits, Predictions and More

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Everything you need to know before watching the Titans make their selections in the NFL Draft.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

We have officially made it to draft week. Just a couple more days of tirelessly clicking through mock drafts and constantly checking Twitter for the latest rumors. This draft season has been a unique one for Titans fans, having to monitor two 1st round draft selections thanks to the Jared Goff deal with the Rams last season.

This is probably the most wide open draft that I’ve ever covered. We have no idea what is going to happen in the top five. We think we know Myles Garrett is going 1st, but apparently even that isn’t set in stone. What are the 49ers going to do? Will the Bears spoil the Titans trade chances and take Mitchell Trubisky? This is the least we’ve known as far as slotting goes heading into a draft — which is going to make it an absolute blast to watch.

The Titans have a ton of draft capital at their exposure. They just hold eight selections, but two of those are 1st round selections. The growing sentiment seems to be that Titans GM Jon Robinson is going to trade back in some sort of fashion, but the how and who in that scenario remains murky.

Here are all the picks that the Titans own heading into the draft. These are sure to be dealt, so think of them as “currency.”

Titans selections

1st Round: 5th overall

1st Round: 18th overall

3rd Round: 83rd overall

3rd Round: 100th overall

4th Round: 124th overall

5th Round: 164th overall

6th Round: 214th overall

7th Round: 236th overall

Tennessee comes in with two pretty clear needs at wide receiver and cornerback. These are the two weakest spots on the roster and will no doubt be addressed on draft weekend. We could even see Robinson take two players at each of these positions.

I think most of these needs are taken care of by Saturday night. I found it interesting that Robinson and the front office opted to not fill more of these need in free agency. They are going in with clear needs and might not be able to simply take the best overall player early on. Luckily for them, this draft matches up nicely with what they are looking for positionally.

Top needs

1. Cornerback

2. Big Receiver

3. Safety

4. Inside Linebacker

5. Tight End

6. Slot Receiver

7. EDGE Rusher

8. Offensive Line Depth

9. Third Running Back

Below is a list of every prospect that the Titans have been connected to (H/T to Ty Wurth). You can see the pattern here — Receivers, corners, tight ends and safeties dominate the list. You can probably find 3-4 members of the Titans 2017 draft class on here, but that doesn’t mean they won’t take a prospect that isn’t listed. They did last year quite often.

Titans Connections

Private Visits (24 reported of a possible 30)

  1. LB Haason Reddick
  2. WR DeAngelo Yancey
  3. CB Gareon Conley
  4. LB Reuben Foster
  5. WR John Ross
  6. WR Mike Williams
  7. CB Marshon Lattimore
  8. DL Grover Stewart
  9. CB Jamal Agnew
  10. OL Jordan Morgan
  11. DL Jonathan Allen
  12. RB Kareem Hunt
  13. WR Chris Godwin
  14. WR Damore'ea Stringfellow
  15. LB Duke Riley
  16. TE OJ Howard
  17. CB Adoree' Jackson
  18. CB Chidobe Awuzie
  19. TE Jonnu Smith
  20. WR Corey Davis
  21. WR Zay Jones
  22. WR Noel Thomas
  23. OT Brad Seaton
  24. SS Jamal Adams

Local visits

  1. QB Josh Dobbs
  2. QB CJ Beathard
  3. CB Jeremy Cutrer
  4. CB Corn Elder
  5. EDGE Derek Barnett
  6. DL Adam Butler
  7. CB Cam Sutton
  8. EDGE Steven Rhodes
  9. CB Ezra Robinson
  10. OL Corey Levin
  11. EDGE Keionta Davis
  12. OT Jessamen Dunker

Workouts/Pro Days/Combine connections

  1. OL Darrell Williams
  2. RB Christian McCaffrey
  3. RB Alvin Kamara
  4. S Obi Melifonwu
  5. TE David Njoku
  6. EDGE Charles Harris
  7. S Josh Jones
  8. CB Cam Sutton
  9. EDGE Derek Barnett
  10. TE Adam Shaheen
  11. RB Marlon Mack
  12. OL Chase Roullier
  13. DL Roderick Henderson
  14. DL Dalvin Tomlinson
  15. WR BJ Bunn
  16. S Leon McQuay
  17. CB Corn Elder
  18. WR Kendrick Bourne
  19. WR DeAngelo Yancey
  20. RB Kareem Hunt
  21. EDGE Keionta Davis
  22. CB Chidobe Awuzie
  23. CB Jeremy Cutrer
  24. EDGE Steven Rhodes

You can find several of these guys on my Titans specific big board, which ranks my top 50 players this year.

Below, I’ll catch you up on the latest NFL Draft rumors, along with some hunches and takes of my own.

Players that might fall

Reuben Foster

Off the field issues have plagued Foster all season long. You had the problem in Indianapolis first, where he was sent home from the Combine — now you have a diluted sample reported just a week before the draft. Good luck figuring out where Foster is going to land. He’s a top ten talent, but rumors are swirling that he could fall out of the top 15.

John Ross

A big part of the process that we get little light shed on is the medicals — and apparently teams are concerned with the results from Ross. He’s got two bad knees and teams are worried about longevity. We could see a tumble into the 20s because of this. A lot of plugged in guys have him 25 or lower.

Jonathan Allen

Allen is widely regarded as a top five prospect in this class (myself excluded), but his medicals are scary. He has two bad shoulders with arthritis in both. Allen apparently struggles to even workout. Everyone says he’s going somewhere in the top five picks, but I have a hard time seeing that. He didn’t test well athletically and teams are concerned with those shoulders. I think Washington is his absolute floor, but Chicago may be his ceiling. He’s a tough one to slot. There are a lot of factors here.

Players that might go earlier than expected

Haason Reddick

Nobody has risen more than Haason Reddick. He’s a pass rusher converting to inside linebacker who really exploded onto the national scene at the Senior Bowl. With Foster’s missteps, Reddick could sneak into the top ten picks.

Christian McCaffrey

I think McCaffrey’s floor is now 8th to Carolina. The NFL loves him. I could make a case for the Jets at 6 too. My guess is that McCaffrey is a target for trade ups. With everything he can offer, McCaffrey is going to demand a premium pick on Thursday night.

Kevin King

Length and speed don’t stay on the board very long. Especially when that length is in a 6-4 cornerback with great ball skills. He’s everything teams are looking for physically. He’s a little rough around the edges, but I bet he goes in the teens.

Perfect Titan 1st Round Fit?

Corey Davis

I am the President of the Corey Davis fan club. He’s had a rough draft season with his ankle issue, but that shouldn’t be held against him. We keep hearing that he’s going to fall, but I have a really hard time seeing him get past Baltimore at 16 and the the Titans at 18. Davis does everything well and is a ready-made NFL receiver. He blocks, runs great routes, wins 50-50 balls, shows speed — what else do you need in a receiver?

Jon Robinson has to be foaming at the mouth over his NCAA record shattering production too. Davis went over 1,400 yards three straight times from 2014-2016. He scored 52 receiving touchdowns while amassing 5,278 yards over four seasons.

Davis should absolutely not make it past pick 18. In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Robinson move up to 15 in order to get in front of the Ravens. I could also see Robinson moving down to 10 or 12 and selecting him there.

Worst Titans 1st Round Fit?

Jonathan Allen

Ask yourself this: If Jonathan Allen doesn’t play at Alabama or doesn’t pull off that superman sack, do you still want him in the 1st round? The answer is no. I would venture to guess that most fans wouldn’t want a defensive lineman, especially considering the needs that the Titans have left to fill. Defensive line isn’t a big need right now.

I’m just not sure Allen is the upgrade that most are selling him to be. He’s a 6-3, 286 pound 5T who would be drafted to replace DaQuan Jones. Does he give you more pass rush? Absolutely. But his anchor versus the run is inconsistent. He’s a tough evaluation with all the talent around him.

Toss in the shoulder issues that I’ve already mentioned and you’re talking about an average athlete with bad medicals at a position that you don’t really have a need at. I don’t understand the appeal here. This would be one of the very few picks that I wouldn’t be on board with.

Are the Titans going to trade?

Yes.

I say that with no inside information, but I’d be shocked if the Titans were at the podium to make selections at 5 and 18. Jon Robinson sounds like a guy ready to move. We saw it last year and we may see even more of it this year. I think he wants a 2nd round pick.

Who will the trade partners be?

The Browns make sense off the top of my head, but they really seems to value their draft picks. They don’t strike me as a team that would package picks to move up, but we can’t rule it out. They have the ammo.

If I had to bet on a trade, the Buffalo Bills make a lot of sense. They love Mitchell Trubisky. This deal seemed like a slam dunk two weeks ago, but now it seems like there is some real momentum behind quarterbacks going at two and three. I think San Fransisco at two is in the driver’s seat for a trade back if they want it.

Still, Leonard Fournette along with some of the top defenders may be worth moving up for. I think Jon Robinson wants out of the 5th pick pretty badly. The draft slot just doesn’t really matchup with the needs.

Don’t forget about trading out of 18, either. The Patrick Mahomes sweepstakes should get rolling somewhere in the teens. The Texans and Chiefs are very interested and there is growing sentiment that teams will move up to secure him.

I wouldn’t rule out a team moving up for one of the top two tackles. Cam Robinson and Garret Bolles should be in play for the Broncos, Texans and Seahawks. Forrest Lamp is another trade up option.

Late Round Connections

These are hard to pin down, but I’ll take a couple stabs here.

Jeremy Cutrer

A former LSU commit, Cutrer’s long journey ended up taking him to Murfreesboro to play for the Blue Raiders. His length at 6-2 makes him a very intriguing day three add. We saw Robinson take the local kid in Byard last year — I’m sure he’s done his homework here.

DeAngelo Yancey

It’s a little odd to have so much reported interest in a day three prospect, but Yancey was the first guy we had the Titans linked to this draft season. He took an official 30 visit too. Maybe he goes higher than we think. Regardless, he’s a 6-2 body that wins down the field. I don’t think he’s all that sudden or quick, but he’s a straight-line guy that can make things happen deep.

Other Thoughts/Predictions

  • I’m pretty surprised at how many people are lining up to take OJ Howard in the top half of the first round. I just don’t see the value there. Sure, if the Titans took Howard they would create opportunities for him, but he would primarily be a blocker early on. Eventually he would take over for Walker, but I’m not sure he makes the impact early that most say he would.

Howard wouldn’t even be on top of the tight end depth chart with Delanie Walker in the fold. The Gronk/Hernandez duo has popped up in his defense, but that was the exception. We haven’t really seen a prominent two tight end feature anywhere else. I think there’s something to be said about production, too. It’s still somewhat alarming to me that he wasn’t the focal point of the passing game, yet is still considered a top ten selection.

If you take out both national title games against Clemson, Howard finishes his college career with 1,400 yards and just 4 touchdowns. Production isn’t everything, but that’s alarming to say the least and we know what Robinson thinks of production.

I’ll leave it at this: I think a lot of people are doing some big time projecting here. Howard is a nice player, but the depth of this tight end class (maybe the best ever?) takes him out of consideration at 5 for me. 18 is a different story. I realize he’s probably the most complete tight end in the class, but give me Evan Engram, Gerald Everett, Jonnu Smith or George Kittle later.

  • The primary strength of this class is at cornerback and tight end. The Titans need both of these positions, but they can afford to wait. In my opinion, there is elite talent at safety (Adams/Hooker), corner (Lattimore), receiver (Davis) and linebacker (Foster). The Titans could legitimately walk out of this draft with two of these five players. That would be my goal.
  • I can’t remember a draft with so many medical issues. John Ross, Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker, Sidney Jones, Corey Davis all come to mind. There is quite a bit of uncertainty surround guys that are projected to be top selections. The medical staff is earning their money this season.
  • I’m convinced that the Titans end up with Corey Davis somehow, someway. The need of a receiver coupled with Jon Robinson’s history of leaning towards production is a perfect match.
  • I think the Titans take two corners and two receivers. I think they also leave the draft with a tight end, safety and running back. You can probably throw a linebacker or project offensive lineman in there as a late round pick.
  • Jamal Adams is picking up a ton of steam late. We found out that he’s visited with the Titans last week. Everyone that knows Adams raves about his leadership on and off the field. He’s a pretty good box safety too. I think he’s a very real option if they Titans can’t move out of five, although I would prefer Malik Hooker.
  • Christian McCaffrey is seemingly a lock for the top ten. Carolina is all over him at 8. Could that spur a trade at 5? The Jets would make some sense here. Heck, I wrote about his Titans fit a couple months ago, thinking he was in play for 18. A McCaffrey pick at 5 would be shocking, but the NFL seems really high on him.

That’s all I’ve got. If you want to talk shop, you can always get me on twitter @TLambertFB. Have fun on Thursday night and remember, Corey Davis no matter what.