Mel Kiper Jr. has the Tennessee Titans selecting RB Ronald Jones II in his latest mock draft. How far off is Kiper, or does it make sense?
We are a few months away from the 2018 NFL Draft. Most people predict the Tennessee Titans to draft defense in the first round–preferably an edge rusher or inside linebacker. Noted draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN doesn’t have the best track record when hypothesizing the Titans’ draft choices. Let’s examine the last five years.
In 2013, Kiper had the Titans going defense and selecting DE Sheldon Richardson. Instead, Tennessee went offense and selected G Chance Warmack.
In 2014, Kiper had the Titans selecting LB Anthony Barr. The Titans, once again, went offense and selected LT Taylor Lewan.
In 2016, Kiper believed the Titans would pick WR Josh Doctson. GM Jon Robinson would wheel-and-deal, and trade back up into the top 10 to select RT Jack Conklin.
Last year, Kiper had the Titans choosing S Jamal Adams with their fifth overall pick. Wrong. The Titans made WR Corey Davis their top selection.
Kiper did predict the Titans would take a receiver in the first round, but not until their second pick. He envisioned WR John Ross III in two-tone blue. Instead, the Titans picked CB Adoree’ Jackson.
Kiper only had one prediction come to fruition in the past five drafts. In 2015, he predicted Tennessee would pick their future franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota, but who didn’t predict Mariota to the Music City?
One key observation can be made when evaluating Kiper’s past five-year Titans draft flops. When Mel thinks offense, the Titans go defense and vice-versa.
In his latest mock draft, Kiper has the Titans drafting USC RB Ronald Jones II.
Ronald Jones II
If the Titans were to select a running back in the first, many predict it to be RB Sony Michel. Most expect Michel to be long gone by the time the Titans are on the clock for their second pick.
Picking Michel in the first wouldn’t please the entire fan base, but it would satisfy a good portion. Many believe the Titans must go defense with their early picks, as there are suitable running backs capable of serving a complementary role that can be found in the later rounds.
Would Jones II be a bad selection? No. Jones II is a very good player and would be a solid fit in Tennessee’s backfield. The problem is, it’s possible he could be available in the second round when the Titans are on the clock.
The NFL combine will have influence on some of the upcoming draftees’ draft position and grade. Unless Jones II shows out and does enough to make him a “can’t miss” player in the eyes of the Titans brass, don’t expect him to be high on their radar; at least not in the first round.