The Titans are going to have to make some tough choices in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Before the start of free agency, it was well known what the Titans biggest needs were going forward. Safety, Guard x2(interior O-line), and a DE (pass rush) were unarguably the top 3, and probably in that order. Jared Cook added TE to that illustrious list at the last minute as well. Following this top echelon of need lay CB, DT and even RB. Not to mention the complete lack of depth at almost every position on the roster. So basically the Titans needed an overhaul.
Well the Titans came out swinging for once and attacked free agency the way they said they would. They signed S George Wilson who was released by Buffalo before free agency even started. On the first day of free agency they followed suit by signing the #1 rated and most ceoveted guard available in Andy Levitre followed closely by wrapping up Delanie Walker the 49ers versatile TE.
After week one, the Titans have signed the following players:
- DT Sammie Lee Hill
- RB Shonn Greene
- LB Moises Fokou
- G Rob Turner
- QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
- S Bernard Pollard
It’s safe to say that the Titans did what they could do shore up some major holes, and that the order of the “needs” has changed. Or have they? Guard on the right side of the line is still relatively unfilled. Turner is a good depth signing, but most in St. Louis were glad to see him go. He’s basically Amano/Harris’s replacement.
The Titans haven’t signed a DE at all at this point. Signing DT Sammie Hill, and no one else, does allude to the idea that Gray and Williams are planning to use Ayers more as a pass rusher. Not to mention that an improved interior will help Morgan and Wimbley get their hands on the quarterback. While a DE hasn’t been signed, it was at least addressed in a round about way.
Safety would still be in play for a top need if they hadn’t gotten Pollard to sign as well. Now, between him and Wilson, you have two veteran starters that can compete and probably make it on the field at the same time in certain packages. It gives the Titans time to see what Markelle Martin has and they can kick that can down the road another year. Yet the Pollard signing is for only one year, and I wouldn’t put it past the Titans to take a safety high if the right guy fell to them in the second or third round.
Do you feel so good at these initial positions of need that you’re ready to go best player available in the draft? What about wide receiver? With the news of the Titans shopping Nate Washington, combined with Britt’s constant conversations with the Garden State’s finest, I’ve heard a lot of fan push for drafting a WR in the first (namely Cordarelle Patterson).
Come On Down
So let’s play a game:
The draft can only produce so many good players, even for the teams that are the “best” at drafting. If you’re lucky (or really good), then 2 of your top 3 picks can hit and end up being good long term starters for your team on the cheap. Odds are you’ll end up hitting on a later round pick that was probably a depth selection as well.
Here’s the problem. The Titans need legitimate help and youth at more than two spots. G, DE, and S. For fun, let’s throw in a 3rd CB for nickel packages and another WR as equal needs at this point. So who do you take with the first two selections? Here’s a list of options as they sit right now (more or less):
- Chance Warmack
- Jonathan Cooper
- Larry Warford
- “Ziggy” Ansah
- “Tank” Carradine
- Bjoern Werner
- Damontre Moore
- Kenny Vaccaro
- Matt Elam
- D.J. Swearinger
- Johnathan Cyprien
- Dee Milliner
- Xavier Rhodes
- Desmond Trufant
- Cordarelle Patterson
- Keenan Allen
- Tavon Austin
- Justin Hunter
So now you have to PICK TWO! And if you use up a 1 or a 2, the next guy has to come from 3 or below. Shopping starts to get a little tough doesn’t it? When you look at it this way, it really draws your focus to what you can’t have from the other group. Can you really afford to take a WR in the first?
The way I see it, if the Titans take G in the first, they will be going S or CB in the second and wait on a DE in the third. The defense needs help and they can’t just keep helping the offense. If they pick anything other than G in the first, then they’re running BPA for the rest of the draft.
Personally, I would be happy if the Titans could trade their entire draft from the 3rd on, to move up and get another second round pick. Forget developing fifth round guys for 3 years and then cutting them. Get back into the second and end up “picking 3″ instead of 2!
So what do you think? Who’s your two? Use the names here or write your own in.
Find me on Twitter @gunnelsj