The Titans did not meet with Rashaan Evans outside of at the combine and at Alabama’s Pro Day. Before last night, Titans General Manager Jon Robinson had never drafted a player in the first round that wasn’t first brought to Nashville for a private pre-draft visit or workout.
ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe asked Robinson and Head Coach Mike Vrabel in Thursday night’s joint press conference if there was any strategy in not bringing Evans in for such a visit. Robinson’s answer:
We spent time with him at the combine, in the interview process, our position coaches spent a lot of time with him at the combine in the interview process, and then we spent an hour, hour-and-a-half with him down there in the film room after the pro day, and he checked all the boxes for us.
Getting to know a player is obviously important for Jon Robinson, but how they get to know said players appears to be more open than I had expected.
Obviously, I was wrong. The Titans clearly loved Evans, so much so that they leap-frogged the Patriots and reportedly thwarted the plans of the Pittsburgh Steelers by trading up to select the versatile Alabama linebacker.
Heard the Steelers were looking to trade up for Rashaan Evans. Patriots who picked at No. 23 also had interest in him. Titans made the move up to No. 22 to get their guy over two AFC rivals.— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) April 27, 2018
Steelers did in fact hope to trade up to draft Rashaan Evans.— James C Wexell (@jimwexell) April 27, 2018
And so we move on to Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday. After a few surprise first round picks (Terrell Edmunds and Rashaad Penny, to name a couple), the Big Board of available names has lots of guys remaining who were considered to be “first round talents”.
Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting had an interesting report this morning about which direction the Titans may be heading with their next pick...
Day 2 Picks I think are "most likely" to happen:#Broncos - OG Will Hernandez#Dolphins - TE Dallas Goedert#Cowboys - WR Courtland Sutton#Chiefs - OLB Lorenzo Carter#Titans - OLB Josh Sweathttps://t.co/QzZOcNOD77— Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting) April 27, 2018
In the article linked in the above tweet, Galko writes:
The Titans covet Sweat, one of their highest rated outside linebackers. Don’t be surprised if they move up to get him.
This information could be accurate, or it could be completely off-base. Take it for what you will...
During the months leading up to the draft, there seemed to be two large contingencies in the Titans fanbase... One side very badly wanted an edge rusher, specifically Josh Sweat, in the first round. Meanwhile, the other side maintained the team’s biggest need was at inside linebacker and that Rashaan Evans would be the first selection.
Clearly, the (larger) latter contingent was correct. Some of us (myself very, very much included) bought in too much to the pre-draft visit reports. #SmallSampleSizeProblems
I have no problem saying I was indeed quite wrong and am very happy with the selection of Evans.
And now, the Titans find themselves in a position to possibly acquire both players.
Of course, there are other guys still in play. Alternate EDGE options, like Sam Hubbard from Ohio State, Lorenzo Carter from Georgia, and Uchenna Nwosu from USC. Talented pass rush specialist Harold Landry out of Boston College was a somewhat-surprising tumbler, falling all the way out of the first round. I wonder if he is in play, or if the rumors about his medical concerns are scaring teams away even more than expected.
Medical issues kept Harold Landry and James Daniels out of the first round. Don’t know how far they will slide— Greg Gabriel (@greggabe) April 27, 2018
Or maybe a safety, with Stanford’s Justin Reid, Alabama’s Ronnie Harrison, and Wake Forest’s Jessie Bates all still around, too.
Could they address offense this early? Now that we know that private visits are irrelevant, I wonder if a receiver like Anthony Miller could be in play. Maybe even an offensive lineman (Connor Williams from Texas could probably fill in nicely at RT and then slide inside to G when Jack Conklin returns). James Daniels from Iowa could supplant Ben Jones at center, if his medical issues aren’t too much to be concerned about.
I think the pick is likely still going to be an edge rusher. Galko theorizes that the Titans could trade up again to get the player they love. It seems like a longshot that they would move up again in this draft, but I actually wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen.
Maybe it’s for Josh Sweat, maybe it isn’t (obviously I am rooting for Sweat). What we do know for sure is that Jon Robinson will get his guy, whatever it takes.
Rashaan Evans filled one of the Titans’ biggest needs on defense, and Josh Sweat could be the guy to fill the other. If the Titans managed to pull this off, it would be a homerun start to the 2018 draft for Jon Robinson and co, and my personal dream scenario. I think nearly everyone on MCM might actually be happy with this draft, which would be a historical moment.
Who do you think the Titans will target in the second round?