Now that a new head coach is in place, the Tennessee Titans can start to look towards free agency and the upcoming NFL Draft. Looking around online you will find that draft analysts have the Titans taking a plethora of potential first round picks. In other words, no one knows which way the Titans are actually going to go. Just look at the lists and names we have so far:
Walter Football: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Mel Kiper: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Fansided, Josh Sanchez: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
SB Nation, Matthew Fairburn: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
Yahoo Sports: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
And lastly, Titan Sized writer Matias Wodner said: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
As you can see, no one person can really pinpoint which way the Tennessee Titans are heading with their 11th overall pick. I remembering writing on my Titans Wish List before the end of 2013 that I wanted to see the Titans trade down their first overall pick. The exchange would have been that said teams first round pick and a supplemental 3rd round pick in this year’s draft as well. With the hiring of a new coach, however, I don’t see the Titans willing to do that as they will want to pick earlier and take their top overall choice.
I always proclaimed more depth was needed in this year’s draft, but hey I’m not calling the shots. So if the Titans hold on to that 11th pick, which way should they lean? In this segment I will look over the linebackers. Linebacker is the section of the defense that needs the most attention and there are some very good linebackers in this year’s draft that could fall to the Titans (Linebacker being the position I think needs to be filled the most with our first round pick). Here are some of the options that may fall to the Titans:
Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo: The senior out of Buffalo was beyond impressive. Coming from a smaller MAC school he may not have had some of the exposure as others, but his play making ability is one that can’t go unnoticed. He brings in ideal size to the OLB position standing at 6’3 and weighing 248 pounds. He set an FBS record in tackles for loss and was named First Team-All American. What is intriguing about Mack is that he would fit in precisely as Ray Horton would need for his defensive scheme. A plug-and-play option, Mack would join a young linebacking core that could anchor this Titans defense for years to come. Mack would be, in my opinion, the best choice at OLB if he would fall to the Titans.
Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA: Barr is a name I’ve seen being thrown around as a potential Titans pick for some time now. Standing at 6’4 and weighing 248 (the same as Mack), Barr seems like he could be a good fit for the Titans as well. However, there is something about Barr I’m not as sold on like I am with Mack. I think Mack is truly a top pick for the Titans and would be a great addition with the 11th pick and I don’t feel that way about Barr. While I do think Barr would be a great addition and another plug-and-play option I just don’t see quite as much athleticism as I see in Mack.
Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State: The first junior coming in as an option for the Titans. I have watched Shazier play for a few years now at Ohio State and he would be a great addition as well for the Titans. Very athletic and would fit in nicely on the outside. The only thing that would concern me about Shazier is his consistency, as sometimes he tends to just disappear on plays which doesn’t bode well for a Titans team that is looking to have more presence from their linebackers. He is also a little bit smaller than Mack and Barr which may be a concern for the Titans as well. While still a solid pick, pulling to draft someone like Shazier this early would be stretch, even if the other two mentioned above were off the board (which I don’t see happening).
C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama: Our first choice of an ILB for the Titans comes with the stud out of Alabama. Mosley is a monster on the inside and I would absolutely love to see him fall to the Titans. Moise Fokou was a good one year addition, but nothing more than that. ILB/MLB has been drastically underwhelmed and Mosley could fill that and turn it around in a second. Another plug-and-play option, Mosley would be a dominant addition to the interior of the linebacking group. Personally, if Mack were to be picked before the Titans selection and Mosley were still available, I would want to see the Titans take Mosley over Barr. It fills a bigger immediate need and OLB depth is deeper in this year’s draft. Take Mosley and sure up that ILB spot for years to come.
The options at ILB drastically drop off after Mosley, as many of the top selections after Mosley are slated as late second to early third round picks. Once again, if Mack were to be gone, which is a very real possibility, I would want the Titans to take Mosley over Barr or another OLB. OLB can be addressed later in the draft or in free agency, but Mosley is a one of kind ILB that could make a huge difference for this young Titans linebacking group.
My top selections for the Tennessee Titans at linebacker by availability:
Khalil Mack, C.J. Mosley, Anthony Barr, Ryan Shazier
Agree with me on Mack? Think Barr is the better option? Think Mosley isn’t the answer at ILB? Think we shouldn’t look linebacker at all? Let me know and start a discussion in the comments, on Facebook, or via Twitter @Titan_Sized or to me directly @NPitak.
All prospect information provided via CBS Sports.