The Tennessee Titans have finished the 2012 NFL Draft and now it’s time to critique and grade the picks. The Titans had seven picks headed into the draft but traded their 7th rounder away to move up in the 5th round. They then traded away next years sixth rounder to sneak back into this years 7th. Here’s my quick reaction to the Titans seven picks:
1. WR Kendall Wright, Baylor
I was okay with the Titans going receiver, but I thought they’d go bigger. Wright is a fast receiver with great route running that should make the Titans offense that much scarier. He should help take the pressure off of Kenny Britt and hopefully open up more running lanes as well. They did pass on some big players for him though, including the best guard in the class, David DeCastro.
2. OLB Zach Brown, North Carolina
OLB wasn’t at the top of the Titans needs, but it was a part of the list. Will Witherspoon isn’t getting any younger and it looks like the Titans think they’ve found his successor, whether it be this year or next. This pick was also an interesting one, as they passed on the best center in the draft, Peter Konz in favor of Brown. Brown didn’t have the best senior season and also has some character issues. He was the fastest OLB in the draft but has questions about his tackling. He has some maturing to do before he takes over the OLB position. If I’m the Titans, I take Konz with that pick.
3. DT Mike Martin, Michigan
The Titans were 28th against the run this last year. They won’t be repeating that. Martin’s a big run-stopping machine with a great motor. He does a great job of breaking through the line but can get a little lost once back there. Martin should flourish alongside Jurrell Casey and they could become quite the dynamic duo. With some good coaching, Martin has the potential to be a great DT. I expect we see a lot of Martin during his rookie campaign. The Titans have solidified the DT position, finally.
4. CB Coty Sensabaugh, Clemson
A kind of obscure player here, the Titans take him a couple rounds ahead of his projected round. That being said, I’ve heard of him being labeled as a 3-4th round sleeper. With the Titans history of getting great CB’s later in the draft, I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy turns out nicely for the Titans. He was one of the fastest CB’s in the draft, running a 4.4 (4.3 if you ask the right people) 40-yard dash. He didn’t become a starter until his senior year but led the team in pass breakups his senior year. Matched against Alshon Jeffery, he only let him record two catches. There’s going to be some growth time for Sensabaugh to mature into a starting CB, but if I know the Titans, we may have just gotten quite the steal. Sensabaugh also addresses a need for the Titans after losing Cortland Finnegan to free agency.
5. TE Taylor Thompson, SMU
I scratched my head over this one for a little bit. Taylor played DE in college but apparently switch to TE heading into the draft. As such he saw his stock rise. Some have compared him to the Patriots TE Gronkowski, being 6’6, 260 lbs. Thompson hasn’t actually played TE since high school and it’ll probably be a few years before we really see something from him. This is a bit of a shot in the dark and you wonder if the Titans shouldn’t have addressed DE or OL with this pick instead, especially when considering they already have Jared Cook and Craig Stevens, two very solid TE’s. He could turn into the next Gronkowski, but how likely is that?
6. S Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State
I’ve got mixed emotions on this one. The Titans desperately needed depth at safety and they get it with Markelle Martin. Heck, he even had around a 3rd round grade on him. My biggest issue is I don’t like the tape on him. He’s not a great tackler and often waits for the receiver to come to him. He can lay on the occasional lick but I don’t see the aggressiveness I’d like to see. In a draft this weak in the safety group, you get what you get. Martin was a top-5, maybe even top-3 safety in this class. Getting in the 6th round is a great value pick and the Titans address a need. Hopefully he turns out better than I think he will.
7. DE Scott Solomon, Rice
The Titans liked Solomon and apparently had a mid-round grade on him. He’s supposedly a very intense leader who was a key part of Rice’s defensive front. He also seems like he can play linebacker, as the photo above shows him doing. He put up 34 reps on the bench at the combine and is a player I actually really like. He’s a very competitive guy with a heck of a motor. Solomon could be a solid rotational DE for the Titans. Some say he has short arms, but they’re decent size (31″). Reminds me of Karl Klug a bit. He seems to have some lingering issues from a foot injury he suffered which may be why he was still on the board in the 7th. I still like him. He also addresses the need at the DE position. Only took seven rounds and nine actual picks (two traded away).
Overall grade: B
It’s impossible to give the draft a completely fair grade right after it happens. You don’t know how half of the player will end up playing in the NFL or if they’ll even pan out. It’s even more so when you’ve got the Titans front office drafting. Last year they had one of the best drafts I’ve ever seen. I still think they had a good draft this year, I just would have chosen a couple picks differently. If this class turns out anything like last years, the Titans will be looking pretty solid.
You can also find me on Twitter @JustinLStewart