I will not be giving out grades, simply because how can you grade a draft when none of the players taken have yet to play in the NFL? I will discuss how the players drafted fit and what I foresee them bringing to the field for the Tennessee Titans this upcoming season and for the future.
Round1, Pick 11: OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
Lewan was considered by many to be a top-10 talent. Some favored him over the other tackles selected before him (Robinson, Matthews). He fell into the Titans’ laps at pick 11. Many analysts, experts, and execs agree on the fact that at pick 11 Lewan’s value was amazing, but with two starting tackles on the roster in Michael Roos and Michael Oher, why take him?
Simple: Roos is in the last year of his deal and Oher’s deal has an option after year one. Tennessee has basically solidified their offensive line for foreseeable future. They’ve given their team immense depth at the o-line position for this upcoming year. The Lewan pick gives Tennessee options and depth, something they have lacked in recent history. Competition is good and the best teams usually have competition even at positions of strength. I also wouldn’t rule out Lewan playing or even starting this season.
Round 2, Pick 54: RB Bishop Sankey, Washington
The Titans had openly stated that they were going to select a running back in the draft. They had their pick of the liter in the second round, even after trading back. The team chose Sankey, Tennessee chose Sankey because of his production and versatility. He has the ability to stay on the field for all three downs. He’s an elite runner and pass-catcher out of the backfield. He doesn’t have great size at 5’9” 210lbs, but he runs with a purpose and is a slippery back, that consistently makes people miss.
Look for Sankey to be the lead back in the RBBC that is going to be used this upcoming season.
Round 4, Pick 112: DT DaQuan Jones, Penn State
Jones continues the run of State University d-linemen being selected in the NFL draft and for good reason. Jones is an enormous man, whose versatility makes him an attractive pick for the Titans. He can play any of the positions on the d-line in the 3-4 defense under new DC Ray Horton. I would look for Tennessee to play him most at the nose though. His size and ability to get a push in the middle, would not only allow for him to be a space eater, to free up the Titans ILB’s, but also provide pressure up the middle which is key for any type of defense a team uses. Look for Jones to be in the d-line rotation this season and eventually push for the starting NT spot.
Round 4, Pick 122: DB Marqueston Huff, Wyoming
Huff played both safety and corner back during his collegiate career. His versatility will allow for him to play at multiple positions. His tapes displayed a knack for always being around the ball and a physicality that is rarely seen at the DB position. He isn’t afraid to be a contributor in the run defense and displayed decent ball skills from the tape I saw of him. As of now he will be a developmental player, but an instant contributor on special teams.
Round 5, Pick 151: LB Avery Williamson, Kentucky
Williamson is an inside linebacker out of Kentucky who was highly productive during his college career. The only real knock on him is his speed, which isn’t terrible, but there are questions whether or not he will be able to play from sideline to sideline. He does though show the ability to be an enforcer and a leader. Former Wildcat and current Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard should be a nice mentor for him. I wouldn’t expect more than a solid contribution to the Titans special teams this season, but down the road he will be given the opportunity to compete for a starting ILB role.
Round 6, Pick 178: QB Zach Mettenberger, LSU
Once the Titans moved up in the sixth round it was almost a guarantee they would select Mettenberger. Some felt they should have addressed the need sooner, but why reach for a player you don’t covet, especially at the QB position. Mettenberger has 2nd-3rd round talent, but injury and character issues caused the talented, strong armed QB to slide all the way to the 6th round. The Titans have made it clear that they have no worries about his health or character. He is even reportedly not going to miss any of the off season activities, even after tearing his ACL at the end of last season. Mettenberger is a low risk, high reward considering that he was drafted in the 6th round. He throws the ball on a rope and displays nice pocket presence. He gets knocked for his flat feet, but many premium pocket passers have been as stoic, if not more stoic than Mettenberger in the pocket.
Look for Mettenberger to compete for the back-up QB role. Depending on how Jake Locker plays this year, Mettenberger could compete for the starting role next season.
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