Following the conclusion of the 2018 NFL Combine, we can begin to paint a clearer picture of who the Tennessee Titans might/can draft.
The 2018 NFL Scouting Combine is complete, and it came and went without much of a bang. Outside of Shaquem Griffin’s awesome storyline and performance at Lucas Oil Stadium, there weren’t too many shocking performances, good or bad. Despite that, the Tennessee Titans and many other teams got valuable information on players they might be interested in. Given some of those players’ performances, the Titans may be more likely or less likely to be able to draft them at pick #25.
More Likely Options
Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
Vander Esch didn’t quite test out of the water at the Combine, but he came close and now has firmly found himself on the end of the first round radar with a very good overall performance. The mammoth linebacker measured in at 6-4, 256 with 33 7/8 arms. He ran a 4.65 in the 40, benched 20 reps, jumped 39.5 inches vertically and 124 inches in the broad jump, and had very respectable 3 cone and shuttle times. His athletic profile is now very impressive following the Combine. Vander Esch’s size and athleticism appear to be what Mike Vrabel is looking for in a “front multiplicity” defense, so he will likely be highly considered at pick #25.
Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Jackson has an argument for being the best cornerback prospect in this class, but the argument likely took a hit after the Combine. Jackson ran an underwhelming 4.56 in the 40 and his 123 inch broad jump was middle of the pack at the position. Thankfully, his vertical jump and 20 yard shuttle were rather impressive, so it wasn’t all doom and gloom for his athletic profile, especially considering he’s 6-1, 192. But many teams were likely expecting a better 40 time or him to just rip up the Combine since his tape is so enticing. That makes it a better possibility that Jackson falls to the end of the first round, where the Titans could be tempted to snag him and create a formidable cornerback trio.
Lorenzo Carter, EDGE, Georgia
I mentioned Carter as a player to keep an eye on at the Combine, and he did not disappoint. The 6-5, 250 pound defensive line/outside linebacker tweener showed off the athleticism he showcased from time to time at Georgia. Carter ran a 4.50 in the 40, recorded a 36 inch vertical jump and a 130 inch broad jump. The main concern with Carter is his production, as he was a rotational player for the entirety of his college career, but he was still a key contributor on a stacked Georgia defense. His flashes of dominance and unmatched athleticism at the position very well could bump him into the end of the first round. His ability to play on the line or standing up will intrigue Vrabel and DC Dean Pees. Originally considered a third round type, Carter has made himself a lot of money during the offseason.
Now Unlikely Options
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
For those hopeful optimists who were dreaming about the possibility of pairing Ward with his college cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs, the Combine shut all of that optimism down. AT 5-10, 191, Ward ran a blazing fast 4.32 40 yard dash, jumped 39 inches in the vertical and recorded a ridiculous 136 inch broad jump. Those who have watched his college games will not be surprised by these numbers. His insane speed and athleticism is on display in every game you watch of him. Ward was an unlikely option to begin with, as he was constantly projected to go in the top 20 picks, but he might be a lock to go top 10 now.
Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
The somewhat polarizing prospect put all athleticism concerns to rest with his Combine performance. He measured in at 6-3, 252 with decently long arms. Landry put up 24 reps on the bench press, ran a 4.64 in the 40 yard dash and jumped 119 inches in the broad jump and 36 inches in the vertical jump. His 3 cone drill and shuttle times were near the top of the class. Those hoping for Landry to fall to 25 will likely have their dreams shattered in late April. Landry needed to bomb the Combine for him to fall that far. Teams have seen enough on tape for him to know he’ll be an impact pass-rusher at the next level.
Ronald Jones II, RB, USC
This is a but unfair to Jones, but not being able to participate in the Combine will hurt his draft stock and likely push him out of the first round. A supremely athletic player, Jones was expected to light up the 40 yard dash and the subsequent drills. Unfortunately, he began pulling up midway through his first run through the 40 and was done for the day with a hamstring injury. He somehow ended up running a 4.66 despite being hampered by a pulled hamstring for more than half of the run. His inability to participate will likely knock him down a bit as other players shined in Indianapolis, meaning he’s likely no longer a consideration at #25 for the Titans.