This Titans off season is as important as any other in franchise history. The new staff will have a chance to evaluate the personnel hands-on, rather than relying on tape like they were during the lockout. Many of us fans like to speculate and assume what direction we will be going in free agency and the NFL Draft. Such speculations are reasonable, whereas others are so left field that their football knowledge should be seriously questioned. It is one thing to watch the game, but studying and breaking down film allows for a much more credible opinion.
After an average season the Titans seem to be heading in the right direction. Free Agency is about two months away and it is going to be extremely active. We don’t have a starting safety on the roster that isn’t set to be a free agent. Cortland Finnegan (CB), Jason Jones (DE/DT), Jake Scott (OG) and Barret Ruud (MLB) are some other key players that the Titans will be focused on signing or replacing this off season. A couple of them look primed to go to St. Louis and join Fisher, most notably Finnegan and Jones. This organization is not known for plucking high dollar guys in the free agent market, thus we build through the draft. Teams like Green Bay and New England follow the same game plan, but they typically have successful drafts year after year. These top tier franchises make it a point to draft players with high IQs not only on the playing field, but off it as well. Draft picks that are wasted on bone-head players not only cost the franchise a lot of money,they also set them back multiple years in their building process. Lets hope we can follow up that 2011 draft with an excellent 2012 draft.
Before free agency begins it is tough to know exactly what will transpire in the NFL draft. The Tennessee Titans have a couple weak spots on both lines of the ball, an obvious question mark at safety and a legit corner that wants more money than the Titans may be willing to dish out. It just so happens that this NFL draft is weak at many positions such as Safety and Defensive end, but deep at Linebacker and Wide Receiver. There are several defensive line players that are “tweeners” or guys that are hybrids of multiple positions. Usually that is great for most NFL teams, but with the Titans’ weaknesses and defensive scheme many of these guys don’t fit the bill. They simply can’t afford the risk.
Many fans think that a team’s number one need automatically translates to that position being selected in the first round. Many times this is the case, but with our spot at #20 it would be smarter to go with BPA or best player available. This is a concept that the elite front offices go by because they are constantly drafting in the back half of the first round. Our #1 priority is to get more pressure on the quarterback, but if Reinfeldt and the guys aren’t in love with the available defensive lineman than they will go with BPA to fill another hole.
Over the next few weeks I will begin breaking down some players that I think the Titans’ front office should focus on. I will discuss one position each post and and rate each player as a first or second round grade. At the end of the series I will make a mock big board focusing on the weaknesses of the Tennessee Titans. Obviously it won’t include quarterbacks or any other positions we won’t be looking at in the first and second round. This big board will give you an idea of how teams use the BPA method.