After a fast and furious sprint out of the gate, the NFL’s free agency period is finally slowing to a cool-off walk. Every team in the league is now shifting their focus back to the upcoming draft.
Even before the combine, most pundits proclaimed that Florida St. qb Jameis Winston will be selected number 1 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Titans…who pick 2nd…have been primarily linked to Oregon qb Marcus Mariota and USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams.
Both would fill an immediate need for Tennessee. Both would be a welcomed addition.
But what if, for some reason, Jameis Winston is not the number 1 overall pick? What do you do then? The Titans should know better than anyone that there are no sure things when it comes to the draft.
Leading up to the 2006 draft, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that the Houston Texans (who needed a qb) would select hometown hero Vince Young with the number 1 overall pick. Young had just capped off one of the most impressive collegiate seasons ever with a National Championship performance for the record books.
Like this year, three players separated themselves from the pack when it came to overall projections in 06. Vince Young, and a pair of USC Trojans (Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart). This year it’s Winston, Mariota, and Williams.
Tennessee, who picked 3rd in 06, were shocked when the Texans drafted defensive lineman Mario Williams with the number 1 pick. Vince Young fell into Tennessee’s lap, and went on to earn Rookie of the Year honors that season.
What if Tampa Bay pulls an 06′ Houston on us this year and selects someone other than Winston? Tennessee should jump all over that…right?
There’s no question about Winston’s arm strength, command of the huddle, ability to read defenses, or ability to run a pro style offense. It’s the elephant in the room. The immaturity. The repetitive behavior.
The Titans have been embarrassed in the past by the actions of their high profile picks. Would they be scared away as a result?
Cynical fans could point to Jake Locker being a model citizen, and his contract wasn’t renewed either.
Equally fair points from opposite sides of the coin.
I say the Titans have nothing to lose, and should draft Winston within seconds of going on the clock. Rookie contracts are team friendly now, and you still have Mettenberger as a backup with knowledge of the system.
A no brainer.
This could all be a moot point, of course. But if I were the Titans, I would keep all three players on my draft board until the Commissioner hugs the number 1 pick.