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Draft Day Thoughts: Exploring All Options

Examining some of the countless options for the Titans tonight.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

We've finally made it! The NFL Draft will be underway in a matter of hours. That being said, I cannot remember a draft with this much ambiguity so close to kickoff. Typically, the first couple of picks are known and the draft *really* starts at pick 4, 5 or even 6. However, this year, no one knows what San Francisco will do at 2, and Cleveland could even take Trubisky at 1. So, we are in store for an incredibly interesting draft. In terms of the Titans' night, things do not get any clearer. As you may know, the team currently holds picks 5 and 18. However, no one knows where they will actually end up picking tonight. Considering how excited most fans are about trading back and picking up more picks, it seems like keeping the picks and selecting a player is somewhat viewed as a "worst case scenario". However, I would argue that having a top 5 pick, and 2 in the top 20, is a pretty good position to be in. So, in order to pass the time and get through the day, we will take a look at several different of those "best case" and "worst case" scenarios:

Scenario 1: QB's Go Early

In this scenario, the first 4 picks go as follows:

1. Cleveland-Garrett

2. San Francisco- Fournette

3. Chicago- Mitchell Trubisky

4. Jacksonville-Deshaun Watson

While this would be a wild start to the draft, this could be a plausible scenario. The Bears have done extensive work on quarterbacks, rumor has it that the 49ers may take Fournette, and that Tom Coughlin loves Watson. This scenario would probably cause the Titans to stay put. The top 2 quarterbacks will be gone, so there won't be much to trade up for. If this is the case, I would personally hope that Tennessee grabs Jamal Adams. While the Titans have not telegraphed any moves, it seems that the overwhelming sentiment among national media is that the Titans want to add a playmaker in the secondary, and a wide receiver. If this is the case, Adams fits the bill, as he is arguably the best playmaker among defensive backs in the class. Other options that fit are Marshon Lattimore and Malik Hooker.  However, both have injury issues and will be risky picks. The wild card would be OJ Howard, who has been gaining recent buzz in this slot. However, Jon Robinson's quote from yesterday's presser does not scream "take a tight end in the top 5":

"We've got some pretty good players at that position on this team. This draft is pretty deep at tight end."

In this scenario, it seems that Adams is the most logical and safest selection.

Scenario 2: Adams and Trubisky Gone

In this scenario, the first 4 picks go as follows:

1. Cleveland- Myles Garrett

2. San Francisco- Mitchell Trubisky

3. Chicago- Jamal Adams

4. Jacksonville- Jonathan Allen

This is another realistic scenario. The 49ers have also done extensive work on the top quarterbacks, and right now, Hoyer is slated to be the number one guy. Also, some Bears' beat writers believe that the signs are pointing to Jamal Adams at 3. Allen has been a popular choice for the Jaguars in mock drafts. In this scenario, the Titans probably have to stay put again, because the 49ers took Trubisky. Also, the "safe" choice from the last scenario in Jamal Adams has been selected. Other options in the secondary previously mentioned in Lattimore and Hooker seem like the best possible choices here. Two offensive wild cards could be OJ Howard and Mike Williams. There has also been word that the team has done extensive work on Williams, and if visits and workouts are any indication, the Titans are looking for a big body. I still think that in this scenario Lattimore is the best option, despite coming with some risk. The team can find an offensive player later in the round.

Scenario 3: Top Secondary Players Gone

In this scenario, the first 4 picks go as follows:

1. Cleveland- Myles Garrett

2. San Francisco- Marshon Lattimore

3. Chicago- Jamal Adams

4. Jacksonville- Jonathan Allen

Now, our best options from the first two scenarios are gone. At this point, though Hooker was mentioned as an option in these previous scenarios, I still do not see the Titans selecting him. He comes with risk, and does not fit in the same way as Adams does, due to Byard's role. This leaves the Titans in a spot where if they can't get a good offer and have to stay at 5, they would have to take a long look at Williams and Howard. If this is the situation and the team has to choose between the two, I personally would take Williams, but wonder if the Titans would lean towards Howard. If the Titans *can* find a trade partner, it will probably be one of these teams: Cleveland, Cincinnati, Carolina, Buffalo. So what could a trade look like with these teams? While the traditional trade value chart is not the law of the land by any means, it is still a useful tool when it comes to getting a general idea of what a draft day trade would look like.  Using this chart, we can get a feel of what the Titans could be getting in return for pick 5:

Cleveland: Receives pick #5. Titans Receive pick #12 and #33.

Cincinnati: Receives pick #5. Titans Receive pick #9 and #41.

Carolina:  Receives pick #5. Titans Receive pick #8 and #40.

Buffalo: Receives pick #5. Titans Receive pick  #10 and  #44.

Essentially, according to the chart, a swap of firsts and a 2nd round pick will be enough value for the 5th pick. If the Titans were offered one of these trades, it would be difficult to say no. They do not move down too far, so they can get one of their top guys, while picking up a 2nd round pick, which Jon Robinson clearly would like to do. In terms of targets, the names would not really change. When it comes down to it, I believe that the Titans pick will one of the names mentioned in the previous scenarios: Adams, Lattimore, Howard, or Mike Williams. At this very moment, if I had to guess, I would lean towards Mike Williams. Now, about that 18th pick...

Assuming the Titans will select 1 offensive player and 1 defensive player, things could break either way at 18. There is also the possibility that the Titans trade this pick as well, but at this point in the draft, things will be so different from mocks and so murky, it is essentially impossible to predict things like partners and players taken up to that point. Instead, we will take a look at some potential targets that are being mocked in the 18-ish range:

Assuming An Offensive Player Is Taken At 5...

The defensive players that could be options in this range are:

Chidobe Awuzie: An intriguing prospect. Physical, can be used effectively in blitz situations. Says he thinks more like a MIKE linebacker than a cornerback. Great route anticipation in zone defense--would probably be most comfortable in zone.

Haason Reddick: While he has been mocked in this range, I would be very surprised to see him available here. If he is, it would be tough for the Titans to pass. Can rush the passer, cover backs, tight ends, and wide receivers. Adding Reddick would give the Ttians a playmaking LB to play next to Williamson.

Charles Harris: This is another player who has been surging recently. Harris is explosive and athletic, and has already begun to develop several of his moves when it comes to rushing the passer. He could end up being a 10 sack guy every year.

Derek Barnett: Any SEC fan knows how much of a game changer Barnett can be. He flat out dominated offensive tackles at Tennessee and took games over. Lackluster combine numbers have knocked his stock down a little bit, but he will make a team very happy.

Kevin King: Though the Titans need a cornerback, there are no known links between the team and King in terms of workouts and visits. This does not mean that there is no interest, however. Kings is athletic, long, and has fantastic ball skills.

Gareon Conley: There has been a lot of confusion about where Conley will go in the draft this past week. Some people have said that the is a better prospect than his teammate, Marshon Lattimore, while due to potential legal trouble, others have said that he may not be drafted until day 3. However, it seems that Conley has worked hard to clear his name and could still be a day 1 pick. He seems to be the least flashy of the round 1 cornerbacks, and needs to improve his tackling, but some believe that he is the most pro ready of the group.

Adoree Jackson: Now this would be an exciting pick. The Titans have met with Jackson, and he would be very interesting here. During his time at USC, he has really evolved at cornerback. His biggest knock is his size, but the tape speaks for itself. Also, he instantly provides significant playmaking ability on defense and special teams. I would love this pick.

Assuming An Defensive Player Is Taken At 5...

The offensive players that could be options in this range are:

John Ross: Fastest player in combine history. Playmaker in every sense of the word. Would be taken even higher in the draft if it wasn't for size and injury concerns. If he checks out with the team doctors, the Titans could get a steal at 18.

Corey Davis: The last sentence about Ross applies to Davis as well. His draft stock dropped after an ankle sprain caused him to be essentially invisible throughout the entire process. However, the T.O. comparisons are legit. He is dominant after the catch, is a great route runner, an enthusiastic blocker, and a hard worker. He seems to just fit the Titans mantra.

David Njoku: This would be an intriguing selection in the first road. Njoku is supremely athletic and a willing blocker. He can also line up as a wide receiver on the inside and be a unique replacement for Kendall Wright. If the Titans select Njoku, they should have a plan to use him effectively and in several different ways.

It doesn't need to be said, but there are essentially endless combinations when it comes to the Titans' options tonight. However, this is a good thing because they can truly sit back, let the draft come to them, and take the best players on their board. They will not be forced into taking anybody. I am not sure if I have any particular favorite scenario, but out of all of the options mentioned, I will say that Adoree Jackson and Corey Davis would look good in blue. It will be very interesting to see how everything plays out. If I had to guess, the Titans move down to the 12th pick, and stay at 18. Time will tell. Now, it is time for us fans to sit back, and enjoy the show!