It’s that time of year again. NFL franchises are preparing to select players in the draft that they hope will get them one step closer to a championship while fans begin praying that the front offices don’t mess it all up. The draft can bring about many different emotions in all NFL fans. Happiness, elation, anger and agony have hit the homes of many NFL fans over past draft weekends.
In a matter of minutes you can go from the happiness of a possible player landing with your team to asking yourself why they picked that guy and wondering if your team should bother going out and playing the next season. Teams just can’t afford to miss on players, especially in the first round.
My advice to the front office of the Tennessee Titans: Take a defensive linemen or a rush linebacker and stay away from defensive backs in the first round. Some of you might say if Morris Claiborne, Mark Barron or Dre’ Kirkpatrick were to fall that the Titans should draft one of them. None of these players would help the Titans right away and drafting a DB in the first round could be a huge mistake for this team.
The Titans have a ton of needs but defensive back is not a top priority. Believe it or not the Titans already have a good, young secondary. McCourty and Verner are solid corners, Michael Griffin is a Pro Bowl safety and Jordan Babineaux is coming off one of his best seasons. The loss of Cortland Finnegan will not be as big a deal as some may think. The team might miss his leadership but from a production standpoint it was not worth keeping him.
The issue with this defense is the front seven. The Titans lack the ability to create pressure and sack the QB. Upgrades along the defensive line and weak side LB are needed immediately for this team to turn the corner. It doesn’t matter who you have in the secondary if the front seven can’t get to the quarterback.
This team must draft a play maker for the front seven in the first round. There are plenty of options out there but they have to add a player that can be a difference maker with their first pick. Defensive backs are dime a dozen. It’s rare that you’ll find a great corner or safety without there being a good front seven in front of them.
A perfect example of this is Carlos Rogers of the San Francisco 49ers. Before joining the 49ers last season Rogers was the definition of an average corner. Prior to joining the 49ers he never had more than two interceptions in a season. After one season of playing with the best front seven in football Rogers became a Pro Bowl corner and had his best season to date. Leading up to last season Rogers had a career total of 8 interceptions from 2005-2010. Last season he had 6. Nearly half of his career picks came in one season. Did he get better overnight? I highly doubt it. Having a dominant front seven in front of him turned him into a different player.
The Titans don’t need to take a defensive back until later in the draft. As great as they are, players like Revis, Asomugha, Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu would not be as good without players in front of them that can get after the quarterback. You could put all of them on the field at the same time but without a good front seven in front of them creating pressure, they would get torched.
Draft a difference maker for the front seven and the secondary will take care of itself. Cutting down on the amount of time opposing QBs have in the pocket to find a receiver will help out the secondary more than adding another DB.