As the May 8th NFL Draft fast approaches, experts will start releasing a surplus of mock drafts.
Today, ESPN’s Todd McShay released his third mock draft of the offseason.
In McShay’s first Mock Draft, he had the Tennessee Titans selecting Cyrus Kouandjio with their first round choice. McShay’s first version came out two and a half weeks before the season was over, and the Titans were slotted to have the 10th overall pick at the time. Kouandjio’s stock has since fallen. After failing physicals for multiple teams, and running a 5.59 in the 40 yard dash at this years combine, he will likely fall past the first round and is more than an unlikely selection for the Titans.
A month ago, McShay released Mock Draft 2.0. Mock Draft 2.0 had the Titans selecting Anthony Barr. Barr is an outside linebacker from UCLA, who had a very productive college career, and is known for getting to the quarterback. His junior year, Barr made the transition to defense. The first two years Barr spent at UCLA he was on the offensive side of the ball playing half back, wide receiver, and tight end. The change from offense to defense was huge for Barr, who recorded 13.5 sacks his first year at linebacker. Barr followed up his breakout season, with another stellar year. He recorded 10 sacks and shot up draft boards for many NFL executives, and is now viewed as a first-round talent. The concern for Anthony Barr is his ability to drop back into coverage in a 3-4 defense. Having only played defense for two full seasons, Barr is still very raw in terms of experience. However, he is a freakish athlete, who should only get better with time.
At this time, McShay sees the Titans headed down the same path. In his third Mock Draft, McShay once again as the Titans selecting Barr. Here is what he had to say,
“I struggled with this one, for two reasons: 1.) The Titans have a lot of options at this spot, and 2.) I’m not someone who thinks Barr has enough upside to be an early first-round pick, but there seem to be a lot of guys in the league who do. And if you are a Barr believer, he’d be a good fit in new Tennessee defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s 4-3, 3-4 hybrid scheme, given his versatility to play defensive end or outside linebacker and his pass-rushing ability. Other options for the Titans include LB C.J. Mosley, OT Taylor Lewan and safeties Calvin Pryor or Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.”
The new linebackers coach, Lou Spanos, was also Barr’s coach at UCLA. For that reason, and the thought of him standing up rushing the passer in Ray Horton’s 3-4 defense, it does make a lot of sense for the Titans to see Barr as a player who can contribute and immediately make an impact at the start of 2014.
I tend to believe Barr makes the most sense for the Titans at this point in the draft process. As it is mentioned, he makes for a great fit in Horton’s defense, and gives the Titans a much-needed pass rusher off the edge. In 2013, the Titans finished tied 21st for sacks with 36 of them. Take away Jurrell Casey and his 10.5 sacks, and they have just 25.5 sacks. Not a number the Titans are looking for. Drafting Barr would also help defensive end Derrick Morgan out, who is looking to turn his quarterback hurries, into sacks.
As far as the other options McShay listed, linebacker C.J. Mosley from Alabama, and offensive tackle Taylor Lewan from Michigan also make a lot of sense. Mosley plays with a lot of energy and was a great leader at Alabama. Plugging him at inside linebacker would be a great decision for the Titans to make. If the Titans look towards Taylor Lewan, that likely means that they have cut current tackle David Stewart, and Lewan will be the new right tackle for the Titans. Most expect the Titans to part ways with Stewart anyway due to his large salary and recent injury history.
However, I do disagree with McShay on his belief that the Titans would have interest in safeties Calvin Pryor and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Both are phenomenal players, but with Michael Griffin, the recently re-signed Bernard Pollard, and George Wilson on the roster, it would be hard to believe the Titans would take a safety so high.
The Titans have a lot to do in two months before we can get a real understanding of what they will need in May’s draft. A lot of players will be cut, and a lot of players will be signed between now and then, so it is hard to guess what will happen before any roster moves are made.
However, everybody loves Mock Drafts, including myself, so I will give the floor to you Titans Nation. What do you believe the Titans will do, or should do with the 11th pick in the 2014 draft? Should they take Anthony Barr, or the other players mentioned above? Or do you think they should take somebody that I failed to mention? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter.
The Titans will have a great opportunity to add an impact player with their first selection. It is without a doubt that whatever player they choose to select, will most likely have a large role on the field in 2014.