I’m dying. The 2012 NFL Draft is only a couple days away and I couldn’t be more excited to watch it. I’ve narrowed down who I’d like the Tennessee Titans to pick and who I’d be okay with them taking in the first round so I’ve created a Titans “big board” for the first round. Let’s take a look!
1. S Mark Barron, Alabama
The Titans don’t have to go DE first pick. If Barron somehow falls to them, this is an ideal pick. The Titans don’t have any depth at safety really and Babineaux isn’t going to get any younger. Michael Griffin still has to prove that he is capable of returning to the Pro Bowl and he has one year to do it. Barron would solidify the position and give Jerry Gray one of those hard-hitting, mean safeties that you know he loves.
2. DE Nick Perry, USC
There’s a pretty high probability that Barron is gone by the Titans pick. Heck, Perry could be gone too. But if he’s not, I think this is the guy the Titans want. He’s already got a good collection of moves that help him beat offensive lineman and is one of the fastest, if not the fastest, DE in the draft. I love this guy. Speed, moves, and decent size (6-3, 271lbs). He put on about 16 pounds of muscle before showing up to the NFL Combine. It’s a pretty good sign that he wants to play DE at the next level, though he could also be drafted to play OLB. That just adds to his resume, as it seems Jerry Gray likes to be able to move his players around. I think this guy is going to be a star at the next level and the Titans would be crazy to pass on him if they get the chance.
3. DE Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
Nick Perry could also be gone by the time the Titans pick if anyone is as high on him as I am. Mercilus is the next best DE and wreaked havoc in his one season he started, recording 16 sacks and 9 forced fumbles. Mercilus’s size is decent (6-4, 265lbs) but I’d like to see him add a little more weight. I don’t find him as agile as Perry and he’ll need to add some moves to his repertoire at the next level if he wants to be as effective. When he gets the the QB, he is a playmaker. On tape you can see his eyes go right to the ball in the QB’s hands. He goes for the tackle but swings one of his arms right at the ball every time, which is how he forced so many fumbles. Mercilus needs some coaching at the next level but he’s certainly got potential. I could get used to hearing Mike Keith yelling, ” SACK BY MERCILESS!!!”. Who would be scared of a guy nicknamed Merciless?
4. CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
Who knows? Somebody could be in love with Merciless as well and the Titans draft board gets picked pretty clean by their pick. Many analysts actually have this as the Titans pick, most likely because Finnegan was the only “big-name” free agent we really lost and they think it’s a big hole for us. Gilmore would be a great pick. Fiesty, strong, fast, good size (6-0, 190lbs), and a good blitzer. Gilmore would be a great replacement for Finnegan. He gives the Titans the ability to still utilize the CB blitz, which is something they loved to do last year. Gilmore will have to refine his technique in the NFL, but I think he’s one of the best in this class and wouldn’t be sad if he was a Titan at the end of the NFL Draft, day one.
5. WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech
The Titans could choose to address the offensive side of the ball with this pick. Now I’m not a fan of taking Hill with the 20th pick. I think they could probably drop back a few picks and still get him but… you never know. Hill is my favorite receiver. He’s also a bit of a project. He played in a run heavy offense, so he wasn’t utilized as much. That’s actually a bit of a bonus to the Titans though. Hill can block, as he was asked to tons in Georgia Tech’s offense. Having a big receiver on the outside that can block guys and help CJ find an open edge would be great. He’s also an incredibly fast, 6-4, 215 lbs guy who can take the top off defenses. Can you imagine him lined up across from Britt?! That would be one scary offense. Defenses would be facing the likes of Britt, Hill, Washington, Cookie, AND Chris Johnson. Unfathomable, which is why it probably won’t happen. But hey, the draft hasn’t started yet. I can still dream!
6. DT Michael Brockers, LSU
This one’s for you, Chase Maher. Now I haven’t watched any tape and DT’s this year. I’ve been consumed by CB’s, DE’s, and Safeties. But on the last episode of Titan Sized Radio, Chase said Michael Brockers was the best run stopping DT he’d ever seen. The Titans could certainly use some help in that department after a miserable season against the run. Though I don’t think DT is a first round need, I do believe the Titans could go almost anywhere with this pick and if they really like Brockers and he’s still on the board, it could happen. Having him lined up next to Jurrell Casey could make the Titans one of the scariest d-lines in the NFL.
This is my list of guys I’d be okay with them taking in the first round/want them to take. At least a couple of these guys should be available when the Titans pick at 20 and it’ll be interesting to see which way they end up going. I left out DeCastro because he’s almost certainly going to be gone by the time the Titans pick.
If you’re curious as to which way I think they’ll end up going, you can check out my seven round mock draft I posted a few days ago by clicking HERE.
You can also find me on Twitter @JustinLStewart