A month ago the Tennessee Titans were all about building their new 3-4 defense after hiring Assistant Head Coach/Defense Dick LeBeau from the Pittsburgh Steelers. They picked up some nice pieces in free agency by getting former Washington Redskins OLB Brian Orakpo, Da’Norris Searcy from Bufffalo and Perrish Cox from the 49ers.
All that was left to do, was draft Leonard Williams with the second overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, and there would be happy days at LP Field this fall.
Then rumors started to surface that head coach Ken Whisenhunt was taking a hard look at 2014 Heisman Trophy winner, Marcus Mariota. This coming after General Manager, Ruston Webster told the press in Indianapolis that trying to win in today’s NFL without a franchise quarterback was a little like trying to paddle a canoe upstream.
The latest rumor that would bring San Diego quarterback, Philip Rivers to Music City seems to be gaining a lot of traction, and would force the Tennessee Titans into an entirely different strategy when the draft starts at the end of this month.
If the Titans land a franchise quarterback like Philip Rivers, he will need to have some weapons to work with. Throw in the fact that Rivers will eat up a lot of the salary cap that is available at this point means they will need to find some offensive playmakers in the draft.
The other consideration becomes the offensive line. At 33 years old, Philip Rivers will need some protection, and picking up some help on the O-Line has to be a top priority. If the Titans trade with the San Diego Chargers, they would not get to pick until seventeenth.
The two premier tackles in this draft, Brandon Scherff out of Iowa, and Andrus Peat from Stanford will more than likely be gone by the 17th pick, but there should be some big guys still on the board.
- Ereck Flowers Miami(Fl)
- T.J. Clemmings Pittsburgh
- La’el Collins LSU
- D.J. Humpheries Florida
- Cedric Ogbuehi Texas A&M
If the Titans decide to go offense with some early picks and feel like they are set on defense, they will need to score if they want to win ball games this fall. That means they will need a speedy receiver, and someone to run the football.
As luck would have it, this draft is rich with wide receivers, and running backs that can tote the rock. They should be able to get a speedy wide out with the 33rd pick, and if they can garner another second-round pick in this trade, maybe two.
Some possible targets for Philip Rivers that should be around when the Titans make their day two choice are:
- Devin Funchess Michigan
- Nelson Agholor USC
- Breshad Perriman UCF
- Phillip Dorsett Miami(Fl)
After putting up a 4.24 in the 40 at the Combine, UCF receiver Breshad Perriman has moved up on a lot of boards, and could go in the first round. If he does, that may push Jalen Strong out of Arizona State, and Dorial Green-Beckham into the second round and available for the Titans.
Green-Beckham has some issues, but at 6’5″ and 237 pounds could be a “Red Zone” option.
The best running back in this draft is Todd Gurley out of Georgia, but will be long gone by the 33rd pick. The Titans should be able to get a couple of nice running backs later in the draft. Philip Rivers is used to playing without a running game since Ladainian Tomlinson was traded to the Jets after the 2009 season.
Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown were not every down backs, and Ryan Mathews was oft injured. In fact, rookie free agent Branden Oliver led the Chargers in rushing during the 2014 season.
Like it or not Titans fans, if Philip Rivers comes to Music City in a draft-day trade, they will need to put the defense on the back burner, and concentrate on getting him some tools to work with.
I’m sure there will be a few dollars left over to find a receiver. Michael Crabtree and Wes Welker are still available in free agency. I’m not sure I would want Crabtree in Nashville, but Welker might be an option as a possession receiver, if you could get him on the cheap.
It’s exciting to start talking about offense again. I still hold that 8 and 8 for 2015 and beating Jacksonville would be a successful 2015 football season. It would be a lot more exciting if we get there with offense by being able to score some touchdowns.