Tennessee Titans: building around Philip Rivers


With the first preseason game of the season still months away, the Tennessee Titans already find themselves in the midst of a quarterback controversy. What’s different about this one?

Two of the three qb’s aren’t even on the roster…..yet.

Ah yes, the NFL draft is now just 11 days away…and at that time we’ll know if the Titans are hitching the hopes of their franchise to veteran Chargers qb Philip Rivers, rookie Marcus Mariota, or embattled incumbent Zach Mettenberger. In a football savvy town like Nashville, the debates have been passionate and well articulated for all three candidates.

It’s great to hear Titans fans engulfed in topics that do not involve a losing streak.

Since coach Ken Whisenhunt and staff are remaining silent on the matter (and rightfully so), we will discuss the best supporting draft scenario for all three qb’s.

After all, it is arguably the most important position in all of sports.

Today we’ll discuss the most popular scenario to hit the rumor mill, a trade that would bring Philip Rivers to town.

Since there is really no precedent for a trade of this magnitude, and we only have educated guesses on what pieces would need to be involved to make this happen, and the Titans aren’t talking, then we’ll presume from this possible trade scenario.

Tennessee acquires Philip Rivers, and San Diego’s second round pick (#48). In return, the Titans send the Chargers their 2nd overall pick and their third round pick (#66).

In that scenario, Tennessee would have basically selected Philip Rivers number two overall…while having the 33rd and 48th pick in the second round. With no third round pick, the Titans’ next selection would be in the fourth round (#100).

Ok, let’s get to work.

With Rivers in the fold, Tennessee’s main priority is to keep him upright, even if that means passing on a potential stud receiver at 33 and addressing the glaring hole at right tackle.

Oregon offensive tackle Jake Fisher is a perfect fit, and could be a second round steal when looking back in three years. Paired with second year starter Taylor Lewan (left tackle), Tennessee…and Rivers specifically, would have their bookends set up front for the immediate and foreseeable future.

With pick number 48, their second in round two, Tennessee should take a flyer on Michigan te/wr Devin Funchess. Projected to go in the second round, Funchess gives Rivers a tall versatile, tight end/ wide receiver hybrid type of weapon. A poor man’s version of Antonio Gates.

Nov 30, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines tight end Devin Funchess (87) hurdles Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Doran Grant (12) in the second quarter at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Like Gates, Funchess will not wow you with speed, but will with his athleticism. He positions himself between the defender and the ball the way a basketball player boxes out for a rebound. He’s just fast enough to outrun a linebacker, and tall and crafty enough to win one on one battles with safety’s.

Some say that Funchess overachieved at Michigan given the quality of play out of their qb position his last two years. With a qb like Rivers, the sky is the limit for a player with his skillset.

With no pick in the third round, the Titans should shift their focus to the best player available at a position of need with their later round picks. By choosing to trade for Rivers, Tennessee is saying that his presence alone is enough to raise the level of play out of the offensive starters that we have.

To his credit, Rivers has shown over his career to be able to turn relatively anonymous rosters into winners. Add some line help and a reliable young chain moving receiver at the top of the draft, then fill holes as you deem necessary with your remaining four picks.

Tomorrow we will discuss the best way to build around potential draftee Marcus Mariota.

Next: Can Tennessee Titans Become A Contender With Philip Rivers?

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