Tennessee Titans Options at Pick Number 18

Nov 12, 2016; Fayetteville, AR, USA; LSU Tigers cornerback Tre'Davious White (18) is tackled by Arkansas Razorbacks defensive back Ryder Lucas (24) during the first quarter of the game at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 12, 2016; Fayetteville, AR, USA; LSU Tigers cornerback Tre'Davious White (18) is tackled by Arkansas Razorbacks defensive back Ryder Lucas (24) during the first quarter of the game at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tennessee Titans have the luxury of two top twenty picks and at 18, they still have the ability to get an impact player. With Jason McCourty being cut, this will lead to more talk about the Titans taking a cornerback in the first round.  Most mock drafts will have them taking Marshon Lattimore at pick number five. As much as the Titans may love the fit, I would be concerned about taking him at five. I have explained in my recent post all of the prospects the Titans may have the ability to take at that pick.

I believe the fifth pick is a selection that the Titans should go best player available, regardless of need. At pick 18, I think that they need to attempt to fill a need.  In my opinion, the top five needs for them would be:

  1. Cornerback
  2. Wide Receiver
  3. Linebacker
  4. Tight end
  5. Edge rusher

I will break down each position, who might be available, and who I think is the best option for the Titans. Starting at cornerback, there are a few options that have the possibility of being available at eighteen. I have listed the players at the position with Matt Miller’s big board rankings:

  • Quincy Wilson- Florida- Number 12
  • Gareon Conley- Ohio State- Number 15
  • Tre’Davious White-LSU- Number 31
  • Sidney Jones- Washington- Number 33,
  • Kevin King- Washington- Number 47,
  • Adoree’ Jackson- USC- Number 48,
  • Marlon Humphrey-Alabama- Unranked

Dan Hatman, from The Scouting Academy, has said on the mid-day 180 that each of these cornerbacks has their flaws, but most teams will be able to find a corner that fits their scheme. I think Dan is right here, as there is a lot of depth at the position. I think the Titans will have a number of options at number eighteen if they decide to go cornerback.

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Out of the seven corners, I really like Tre’Davious White, and I think he fits the mold of a Titan.  He is a team first guy, a prospect who has stayed in college for all four years. White said he stayed in college because he wanted to graduate college but also to finish what he started at LSU. I like that in a player and I think he would be a great fit. Another prospect I like is Gareon Conley from Ohio State; he has been consistent throughout the years and some say he’s a better corner than Marshon Lattimore. I think either would be great addition to the team’s biggest need.

In my recent post I discuss that I don’t think the Titans will select a wide out in the first round. Corey Davis, Mike Williams or John Ross can all still be on the board at eighteen due to the red flags each have. All three receivers have been on visits to the facility, which makes me think they are doing a lot of homework on these prospects. Ultimately, I believe  the Titans will pass on taking a wide receiver at eighteen due to the quality depth that can still be available in later rounds.

The third need I have for the Titans is linebacker. Outside of Reuben Foster, I think the following players, which are ranked using Matt Miller’s big board, might be there at eighteen:

  • Haason Reddick- Temple- Number 19
  • Jarrad Davis- Florida- Number 32
  • Raekwon McMillan- Ohio State- Number 43
  • Zach Cunningham- Vanderbilt- Number 44

Selecting a linebacker really depends on the Titans big board and how they rank each prospect. Looking at each prospect, I do think that Reddick is the best option for them because of his versatility. He can play inside linebacker, then on third down he can put his hand in the dirt and rush the passer. Being a walk-on to becoming one of the top prospects in this year’s draft shows he is willing to work hard and is determined to prove others wrong. He has come a long way and we do know that Jon Robinson loves his walk-ons (i.e. Jack Conklin). If Reddick is available, I would have no issues with the Titans making this selection.

Since the departure of Anthony Fasano, tight end has become a bigger need and my fourth need for the Titans. O. J. Howard, the Alabama tight end, will be off the board early and some say maybe even enter into the top ten. This leaves David Njoku, University of Miami tight end and the number 10 ranked prospect on Matt Miller’s big board left. Njoku is a dynamic athlete at the position and does show that he is willing to block, but he played more of the slot role at Miami. I agree with Kyle Zwiazek that the Titans pass on a tight end in the first round. This is another position with a ton of good prospects that can be drafted in later rounds.

My fifth need for the Titans is a need that a team can never have enough of: edge rushers. The Titans do have two quality pass rushers in Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo, and the jury is still out there on Kevin Dodd. I think the following players, which are ranked using Matt Miller’s big board, might be there at eighteen:

  • Charles Harris- Missouri-16
  • Taco Charlton- Michigan- 21
  • Derek Barnett- Tennessee-25
  • Takkarist McKinley- UCLA- 30
  • T.J. Watt- Wisconsin- 38

Two players that I enjoyed watching all season were Watt and Barnett. Barnett might not have tested the greatest, but he shows grit and determination to get to the quarterback. His play speaks to that, recording 32 sacks in three years at the University of Tennessee against elite SEC talent. Most draft experts think he is a 4-3 defensive end, but I think he can make the transition to play in a 3-4 scheme.

T.J. Watt might have the highest ceiling next to Myles Garrett. Watt was really raw at Wisconsin and has the ability to be a great edge rusher in the NFL. I think continuing to learn from his older brother will only develop him into becoming an even better pro. If the Titans select either player, I would be perfectly fine with this. Watt coming off the board that high might be a stretch because of his raw ability.

Lastly, if the Titans don’t select for need, there are two players that the Titans need to consider. The first prospect, Jonathan Allen, ranks eight on Matt Miller’s big board. Some draft experts are saying that Allen is falling down boards because of poor testing and his shoulder injuries concerns. Allen was a top five player coming into this year and I think if he is there at eighteen, he needs to be considered.

The next player, Jabrill Peppers, has slid down draft boards and maybe even into the second round. Peppers is a hybrid linebacker/safety out of Michigan. I think the Titans can consider him at eighteen because of his ability to play numerous positions. Peppers also has great return ability, which the Titans have lacked for a few years. This free agency, the Titans have emphasized special teams adding quality players that will be key contributors on special teams. I think if both prospects are there, they should be consider but I think will pass on both.

On draft day, if I am the Titans, I am doing my best to work out a deal to trade back. Acquiring more selections might be the best solution because the draft is so deep and they can get quality players in later rounds. I will take a deeper dive into why I think the Titans will trade both picks and who they will trade with in my next article.