Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina (3)
You’d think that I’d have an easy time mock-drafting for this team because they’re whom I most closely follow. Of all the top 20 teams, they have at least the second-hardest situation (Arizona Cardinals are very tough too). It’s so hard to get a feel for what this team will do. My preference is a trade-down. Anthony Barr seems like the pick because of the need for a young pass-rusher and his connection with former UCLA defensive coordinator and current Titans linebackers coach Lou Spanos.
Barr isn’t on my board though. I’m stuck to choose between Eric Ebron (TE), Ra’Shede Hageman (DL) or C.J. Mosley (ILB). I’m about 46-44-10 in favor of Ebron then Hageman. Mosley is a distant third-place choice.
This coaching staff has three former NFL tight end coaches, two of whom played the position professionally. That gives Ebron an advantage over Hageman, whose combination of strength (32 bench press reps), explosiveness and height (6-foot-6 with 35.5-inch vertical leap) would give this team a tall defensive lineman who deflects passes. It sounds simplistic and ignorant, however, Tennessee would really benefit from Hageman’s skill-set.
Shaun Phillips & Wesley Woodyard were not brought to Nashville to be stalwart linebackers for years to come. Still, with the top 3 pass-rushers off the board, going for one here (Kony Ealy or Dee Ford for example) would be a reach.
While Jake Matthews is sliding in my mock, you still have Roos in the twilight of his career. If you’re drafting a tackle this high, you want him to start right away. So, why not take the best offensive playmaker available and use a later pick on a “project” tackle?
Delanie Walker is doing a fine job in the starting role for the Titans, but let’s be honest – there’s not much to be excited about the position outside of him. Stockpile weapons, give Jake Locker every possible excuse to succeed, and trust Ken Whisenhunt (who used to coach tight ends by the way).
The Titans will have multiple options sitting at #11. They could try trading down to acquire more picks or they could stand pat and select the best player available on their draft board. That player might be TE Eric Ebron out of North Carolina. It’s possible new head coach Ken Whisenhunt would be interested in upgrading that position after working with Antonio Gates in San Diego. Ebron has been compared to 49ers TE Vernon Davis. Tennessee could move Delanie Walker to the #2 TE/H-back role while using Ebron as the dynamic vertical threat, similar to the way San Francisco used Davis and Walker in the past.