Today we continue our series profiling the Tennessee Titans, and the three players most heavily rumored to be their week one starting qb. We’ve already discussed the potential draft strategies for Chargers veteran qb Philip Rivers and rookie first round prospect Marcus Mariota.
We conclude our series by profiling current starting qb Zach Mettenberger, and the best draft strategy for building around him.
While there are still plenty of unanswered questions regarding Mettenberger, and his ability to lead a franchise, there are things the Titans do know about their second year qb.
1. He has a cannon for an arm.
2. He has limited mobility, and tends to stand in the pocket a second or two too long.
3. With the exception of tight end Delanie Walker, few skill players stepped up and made plays for the rookie.
Armed with the variables they do know, the Titans must then draft accordingly. Remember, we are basing this series around Tennessee keeping their picks. By keeping Mettenberger, the Titans now have….
The second overall pick in the draft. 1 second round pick (#33). 1 third round pick (#66). 1 fourth round pick (#100). We are only discussing the top four picks.
So let’s get to work.
With the second overall pick in the draft, the Tennessee Titans should select Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper. Arguably the most polished offensive prospect in this year’s draft, Cooper gives Mettenberger a dynamic true number 1 receiver.
He is surgical with his rout running, and led the nation in receptions last year (124). Cooper played in a pro style system in college, and should have a seamless transition to the pro level. A mature, sure handed receiver tailor made for Ken Whisenhunt’s passing attack.
As we’ve previously discussed, Mettenberger has limited mobility, often causing him to take way too many hits last year. Keeping him upright is paramount.
With the 33rd pick, Tennessee should select Oregon offensive tackle Jake Fisher. At 6’6, 306, Fisher provides an immediate upgrade over the various plug in players that struggled mightily at that position last year. Taylor Lewan was selected 11th overall last season to be the left tackle of the future. Fisher, at right tackle, now gives the Titans their young book ends to anchor their offensive line for the next several years.
With the 66th pick (third round), Tennessee should select Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates. The Titans desperately needed a down field threat last season, and that just happens to be Coates’ specialty. Clocking in the 4.3’s in some reported 40 times, Coates gives Mettenberger, and his cannon arm, a home run hitter.
Nov 1, 2014; Oxford, MS, USA; Auburn Tigers wide receiver Sammie Coates (18) catches a pass defended by Ole Miss Rebels defensive back Senquez Golson (21) at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Auburn defeated Ole Miss 35-31. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
While Amari Cooper will do most of the heavy lifting, Coates provides that speedster in the slot to test the safety a few times a game. With a 41 inch vertical, Mettenberger can literally just wing it up there. Coates will come down with it more times than not.
Having a speedster to stretch the field also opens things up underneath for Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker to do their work.
A well balanced receiving corp is a young qb’s best friend.
And speaking of qb, the Titans would be kidding themselves to think that they could keep Mettenberger and not bring in an arm to push him at the very least.
With the 100th pick (fourth round), the Tennessee Titans should select Colorado State qb Garrett Grayson. Yes, Charlie Whitehurst is a Whisenhunt guy, and he already has a grasp of the system, but he cannot be the backup qb again this season.
Grayson provides the Titans a younger, more athletic option to Whitehurst. He lacks the cannon of Mettenberger, but has better mobility…in and out of the pocket. Whisenhunt is known as a qb guru, so Grayson could blossom into a viable starting qb one day.
8 days and counting….