Back for another edition of “Random Thoughts,” here are a few notes I collected this week...
- I went through the edge rusher class again, looking for potential fits for the Titans 3-4 linebacker spot. I really think this is a weak class at the position. Haason Reddick showed off his speed and versatility, but lacks strength. Charles Harris has tremendous bend and excellent timing off the snap, but still struggles with explosion. Takkarist McKinley is raw with a ton of potential. Overall I’d rank them Harris, Reddick, McKinley.
- Derek Barnett and Taco Charlton remain better fits as 4-3 ends, in my opinion. I will give a hat tip to commenter Daymangoeth at this point, who sent me back to watch more film on Barnett. I think Derek Barnett is being underrated on a lot of boards, in my opinion. He’s got great hand usage and solid strength. If you run a 4-3 I think he’s a plug and play end who should be a contributor for many years. He doesn’t have enough agility to play outside linebacker.
- Don’t overlook Mike Williams. He seems to have gone from overrated to underrated the past couple of months. I’ve been pumping up Corey Davis from the start, but Williams remains a realistic option for the Titans at either of their draft spots (preferably at 18). No one in this class can match his ability to make acrobatic catches.
- Not only does Jake Butt have a great name, but he’s a heck of a football player too. The medical evaluation on him is going to be crucial (torn ACL). He’s one of the few tight ends that is a threat in the pass game and blocks well at the line of scrimmage.
- Every year there are a few guys that get labeled with question marks about their effort. My opinion remains that if you have to ask the question, you already know the answer. This leads us to Malik McDowell. There’s so much to love about his game. He’s strong and violent on the inside as a defensive tackle, yet fast and agile enough to line up at defensive end. His effort level this season has drawn concern and that remains a major red flag - especially when coupled with the drop in production (4.5 sacks in ‘15 to 1.5 sacks in ‘16). You better be really, really sold that he’ll be completely invested in his career.