Jon Robinson was wheeling and dealing on draft weekend. He ended up turning six picks into four players, but filled his two biggest needs in the process. Robinson jumped in front of the Patriots to ensure that the Titans could add Alabama’s Rashaan Evans. However, that may have been his backup plan.
According to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com, the Titans were targeting another linebacker initially. He mentioned that in his draft review for the Titans.
The Titans targeted Leighton Vander Esch in the first round, but the team went to its contingency plan and selected Rashaan Evans after Vander Esch was scooped off the board by Dallas.
You may remember that Vander Esch was scheduled to visit the Titans before the draft, but that was reportedly called off.
.@TonyPauline says #Titans canceled visit with Leighton Vander Esch as they don't expect him to be there at 25.— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) April 14, 2018
That report always seemed odd, considering the unpredictability of the bottom half of the first round. Vander Esch also had plenty of medical rumors swirling about him. Of course, he ended up going 19th overall to the Dallas Cowboys.
The Titans then moved up to 23 to grab Evans. It seems like the two linebackers were at least close on Jon Robinson’s board. He moved up for Evans, but didn’t feel the need to move up for Vander Esch — who was heavily connected to Dallas late in the process.
And of course, we’ll never know if this report is true. But it is interesting to discuss and think through.