Nov 2, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray (11) runs out of the pocket against the Florida Gators during the second quarter at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
As time goes by, less and less remains a mystery for the Tennessee Titans under Ken Whisenhunt. As for the quarterback position, that mystery has spread.
Charlie Whitehurst is…well….Charlie Whitehurst.
The Titans could (and should) be in the market for a developmental quarterback to potentially take the reins in 2015 or 2016.
Here are five guys the Titans should look at that would require minimal investment:
Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Projected round drafted: 3-5
NFL scouts will cite small stature and inconsistency as reasons this former Bulldog won’t succeed on Sundays. However, the flashes of greatness shown make him worth the mid-round wager.
That’s assuming of course that he can stay healthy after an ACL tear.
Sure, it sounds like a lot to overcome, but Murray has a good arm, game management ability, and completes passes. There’s always room for that in the NFL.
He may not start right away, but with the appropriate development, he has the potential to captain an offense by 2016.
Remember, prior to the 2013 season, Murray was viewed as a surefire first-rounder.
Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
Projected round drafted: 4-6
He’s big. He’s athletic. He’s impressive…but Logan Thomas makes a lot of mistakes as a result of poor-decision making and accuracy issues. His draft stock has suffered tremendously as a result.
Still, these are flaws that can be coached up if Thomas lands with the right team. Many consider the Virginia Tech product to have the strongest arm in the draft, and he has the ability to run tough with his imposing frame.
Physically, when you’re put together the way Thomas is, you’ll get a chance somewhere. Why not Nashville?
Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming
Projected round drafted: 6-7
Albeit Brett Smith has a long, long way to go before he’s an NFL starter, he still has potential that has to make offensive coordinators salivate.
Smith had a productive career with three years worth of experience as a starter in Wyoming, where he was voted team captain of the Cowboys.
Though his mechanics seem a bit strange, he has a quick release, which is paramount in the NFL. Smith displayed a knack for picking up blitzes, reading pressure, and playing accordingly. He’s capable of throwing well on the move and tucking the ball and running in the open field.
Physically, he’s an athlete. Mechanically, he needs a lot of work. Smith hasn’t displayed steady footwork, and his arm strength is fair at best.
Still, in the right system (or perhaps the right position), he could become a threat to start on Sundays.
David Fales, QB, San Jose State
Projected round drafted: 6-7
Isn’t it hard to believe that David Fales was once considered a first-rounder?
He earned that status by demonstrating poise and presence on the field. With great vision, eyes constantly down the field, and an ability to stare off defenses, Fales plays the game like a seasoned veteran.
The problem? He obviously lacks the size of a starting NFL quarterback, and he’s not known for his athletic prowess. Translation: the NFL might fear he wouldn’t last a season playing on Sundays.
His critics claim that his arm won’t scare NFL defenses, and his absence of scrambling ability will have him out of the league in two seasons, if he’s lucky.
But, for a late-round investment, Fales’ experience, confidence, and football intelligence is worth the risk. At the very least, the San Jose State product will be a valuable asset in a backup role with his eyes constantly on the field. At most, he’s the next Andy Dalton (which is good….well….yes. That’s good.).
James Franklin, QB, Missouri
Projected round drafted: 7-Undrafted
My biggest “undrafted sleeper” in this class: James Franklin. “Frank the Tank” looks like a poor man’s Cam Newton. He has a big frame that can scoot all over the field and a cannon for an arm.
What separates him from Newton, though, is his ability to lead and his demonstrated football intelligence. You talk about the “face of the franchise,” and James Franklin fits the bill.
He can improve upon two of his weaknesses: holding onto the ball too long on occasion and developing proper touch on intermediate passes. The one thing he can’t necessarily improve is his health.
During his career at Missouri, Franklin had to endure shoulder surgery, a strained MCL, a concussion, and a different should injury. All while refusing to take pain medication, as it is a personal policy of his family.
His injuries might cause him not to be drafted at all. Yeah–that bad.
However, with the right supporting cast, coaching, and situation, Franklin could end up as an NFL starter.