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2018 NFL Draft: Connecting the Dots between the Titans and the Inside Linebacker Prospects

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Which inside linebacker prospects have reportedly been linked to the Titans in the pre-draft process?

Big Ten Championship - Ohio State v Wisconsin Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Tennessee Titans will spend a 2018 pick on an inside linebacker. That is not a secret.

The mystery of it all concerns where in the draft the Titans will look to bolster this position, and how many guys they’ll look to add.

It’s that time of year where reports leak from various sources about draft prospects and their connections to different teams. It would seem the Titans are talking to as many linebackers as they can; the list below ranges from projected first-round prospects to potential undrafteds.

Jon Robinson is good at keeping secrets, but here is every visit, meeting, workout, conversation, or interest report that has surfaced, as of March 31, relating to the Titans and the 2018 linebacker class.

Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama

Draft Projection: 1st round

The Titans have not officially met with Rashaan Evans, but Mike Vrabel was seen working directly with the Crimson Tide product at Alabama’s Pro Day.

As one of the top defensive players expected to be available when the Titans are picking, there’s no question that Rashaan Evans will be heavily vetted by the Titans’ front office.

Our own Joseph Yun selected Evans for the Titans in his post-free agency mock draft from March 16.

Darius Leonard, LB, South Carolina State

Draft Projection: 2nd-3rd round

If the Titans pass on a linebacker in the first round, someone in whom they’ll most definitely be interested in the second or third round is the versatile Darius Leonard from South Carolina State.

The Titans had a thorough meeting with Leonard already. He’s definitely a name to remember as we continue through the draft process.

Jerome Baker, ILB, Ohio State

Draft Projection: 2nd-3rd round

Another potential option after the first round is Ohio State linebacker Jerome Baker. Baker excels in coverage but has struggled some against the run.

Justin Melo sat down with Jerome Baker to discuss Mike Vrabel’s prospects as the new head coach of the Titans. From his article, on Baker’s connection to Vrabel:

Baker didn’t cross paths with Vrabel at Ohio State, who left his post as a position coach shortly before Baker arrived in Columbus.

Josey Jewell, ILB, Iowa

Draft Projection: 3rd-4th Round

The Titans don’t actually have any reported connections to Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell at the moment, but they were present at Iowa’s Pro Day.

Josh Jackson is projected to be a first-round pick, with a good chance to go higher than the Titans’ pick at 25 overall. It seems unlikely that Tennessee would be in the market for his services after signing Malcolm Butler to a lucrative contract. I wonder if they weren’t asking Josh Jackson about a couple of his teammates...

James Daniels is the top center prospect who could also play guard at the next level. But how much would Jackson know about this offensive prospect? Could it be that the Titans wanted to learn about Jackson’s defensive mate, Josey Jewell? It’s certainly possible.

At the very least, the executives were present to observe Jewell’s Pro Day workout.

Shaquem Griffin, LB, Central Florida

Draft Projection: 3rd-5th round

Shaquem Griffin might be the consensus fan favorite player in this draft from a character standpoint. It seems that almost every fan of every team would be ecstatic to cheer for this guy on Sundays.

The Titans met with Griffin before his Pro Day.

Jim Wyatt writes on a handful of draft prospects every year, including a recap of Jon Robinson’s visit with the versatile linebacker.

Oren Burks, ILB, Vanderbilt

Draft Projection: 6th-7th round

Oren Burks from Vanderbilt played with current Texans linebacker Zach Cunningham. Cunningham was lauded for his athleticism around this time last year, and Oren Burks actually tested better than his former teammate, posting the top linebacker scores of the class in the vertical jump, broad jump, 3-cone shuttle, and 20-yd shuttle.

The Titans didn’t have an official meeting with Burks (at least, not that was reported), but the team’s top decision-makers were present for his Pro Day.

And Jim Wyatt wrote an article about him...

...so I’d say he’s definitely on the Titans radar.

Chris Worley, LB, Ohio State

Draft Projection: 7th round - UDFA

Another linebacker connected to the Titans is the player who lined up across from Jerome Baker at Ohio State, Chris Worley. However, Worley is not being touted nearly as high as his former teammate.

I thought Worley impressed at the Shrine Game and may have put himself in a position to be drafted.

Worley is one of many Day 3 linebacker prospects that have been connected to the Titans.

Quentin Poling, LB, Ohio University

Draft Projection: 7th round - UDFA

Quentin Poling is another late Day 3 guy the Titans are taking a close look at.

According to Draft Analyst Tony Pauline, the Titans were present at Ohio’s Pro Day, where Poling posted impressive testing numbers.

His 40 timed in the mid-to-low 4.5s, with a number of watches reading 4.52. His three-cone came in at 6.88 and his short shuttle at 4.27.

The Tennessee Titans, who met with Poling last night, put him through linebacker drills. Poling also met with the Miami Dolphins yesterday and has official predraft visits with the Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs set up for next week.

With no 7th-round pick this year, it seems the Titans are lining up their options to see who they could bring in as an UDFA immediately upon the conclusion of the draft.

Emmanuel Ellerbee, LB, Rice

Draft Projection: 7th round - UDFA

Yet another potential UDFA target connected to the Titans is Emmanuel Ellerbee from Rice.

The Titans took the time to speak with Ellerbee at his Pro Day (his name is spelled wrong in the report below, but you can see the correct spelling in the tagged Twitter handle).

Jermaine Carter Jr., LB, Maryland

Draft Projection: 7th round - UDFA

The Titans had a Pro Day conversation with another potential undrafted linebacker, Jermaine Carter from Maryland. Another name to remember.

Matthew Adams, LB, Houston

Draft Projection: 7th round - UDFA

Not sure how legitimate this report on Matthew Adams’ supposedly scheduled meeting with the Titans is, but figured I’d include it as a guy they are “possibly interested” in.

Tae Davis, LB, UT-Chattanooga

Draft Projection: 7th round - UDFA

Another player that I’m sure the Titans were scouting but very unsure of whether or not they actually spoke with is local product Tae Davis from UT-Chattanooga. It’s worth noting that Tae Davis wouldn’t count as one of the Titans’ official 30 visits (as he is local), so if they do meet with him, it could easily go unnoticed and/or unreported.

The Titans had scouts present at Tae Davis’s Pro Day. I can’t imagine UT-Chattanooga has many prospects the Titans are interested in, so like Walker Rhodes, I’m guessing they were there to see Davis.

Keep in mind Jon Robinson drafted Corey Levin out of UT-Chattanooga last season.

Others?

This is just the list of guys that the Titans have been connected to in the media. There could be others that have slipped or will slip through the cracks.

There’s also still nearly a month until the draft, so I’ll be providing an update on this front as the draft approaches.

But clearly the Titans are evaluating all of their options, as they should be, when it comes to filling the hole at inside linebacker.