Tennessee Titans 7th best option in the 2019 NFL Draft: Erik McCoy

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 24: Trevor Knight #8 of the Texas A&M Aggies celebrates his touchdown with Erik McCoy #64 against the Arkansas Razorbacks in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 24: Trevor Knight #8 of the Texas A&M Aggies celebrates his touchdown with Erik McCoy #64 against the Arkansas Razorbacks in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Get ready for a controversial opinion for the Tennessee Titans 7th best option in the draft.

The Tennessee Titans are in the middle of rebuilding the offensive line, and you could argue that finishing that project is the most important goal for GM Jon Robinson this offseason.

I think there are several players that could finish the Titans rebuild. On this list alone I have mentioned two players in Cody Ford and Garrett Bradbury.

One player who isn’t getting nearly enough attention is the top center in the draft. In a vacuum I don’t think that there is anyone in this class who can do the things he did at the college level.

That is why I think he is the 7th highest rated player on my list.

First, a quick reminder on what this list really is and who is eligible:

-Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams and Josh Allen will be impossible to land barring a trade into the top-3 or 4. They can’t be included in this list.

-This is a list specifically on which of the players available make the Tennessee Titans better?

-Don’t treat this as a big board, some positions won’t be brought up because there is no one talented enough that can come in and be an instant improvement over what the Titans already have.

-While long term help is important, consider what this player does for Tennessee short term and if they will help reduce the hit of free agent departures in the future.

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Which player is the 7th best option for the Tennessee Titans in the 1st round?

Erik McCoy IOL, Texas A&M

Sometimes we like to make football complicated for no reason. Sure, there are plenty of metrics and data points that you should look for to indicate a player’s potential for future success but data isn’t better than tape.

The two need to work hand in hand if you are going to consistently find the best players at the best value in the draft.

At just 21 years old, he has already started 39 straight games in the SEC and got better every year. That is hard to do when you consider the names he has faced. Here is a list of the top talent that in that he has faced during his tenure:

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Jonathan Allen (1st round)

Marcus Davenport (1st round)

Daron Payne (1st round)

Taven Bryant (1st round)

-Christian Wilkins (Projected 1st round)

-Quinnen Williams (Projected 1st round)

-Jeffery Simmons (Projected 1st round)

-Derrick Brown (Projected 1st round in 2020)

-Raekwon Davis (Projected 1st round in 2020)

Dalvin Tomlinson (2nd round)

-Dexter Lawrence (projected 2nd round)

-Rashard Lawrence (projected 2nd round in 2020)

Eddie Vanderdoes (3rd round)

Montravius Adams (3rd round)

-Isaiah Buggs (Projected 4th round)

-Da’shawn Hand (4th round)

-Armon Watts (Projected 4th round)

Davon Godchaux (5th round)

That is just the highlights. By my count that is at least18 NFL-caliber players that he has already played against before even leaving college.

Not only has he played them, but he has played them well and often held up better than anyone else has against them. He is rock solid in pass protection, showing the ability to mirror athletic DTs or to get into the body of power rushers before they can build up steam.

In the run game he finds ways to move players from point A to point B or at the very least wall them off so that the running back can find a crease. One reason he is so successful at this is because he just doesn’t stop. It is so common to see an offensive lineman block for a few seconds and then pull up, because in all likelihood the play is either already past him or already blown up by that point.

However, with McCoy you frequently see him adjusting his position and sticking with defenders to make sure that his running backs are given a cutback lane. Even if he loses on first contact, his effort and athleticism put him in position to get his job done even if it doesn’t always look picture perfect.

Every year he has started, no matter who the coach is at Texas A&M or who the running back is, he has made the running game better. The best example of this is that in each of his three seasons as a starter the Aggies passed 2,000 yards rushing.

I know a lot of people are going to have a problem with me putting McCoy over Bradbury and I understand those concerns, but here is why I did it.

Firstly, Bradbury is a scheme specific center. If you put him outside of a ZBS I think you are setting him up to fail. He struggles with power and while I think he could still be good at helping you set up runs to the B/C gaps, your A-gap plays would get killed by bigger DTs.

So, if the Titans were to switch to a new OC in 2020 or 2021 (which seems inevitable based on how quickly Tennessee changes OCs) he is at risk of being out of place in just a year or two. Imagine taking a big bodied 5-tech only to switch from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 defense the next year. Now you are stuck with a round peg and a square hole.

Secondly, I think that Bradbury is more of a concern in pass protection than people want to admit. Again, if you put him in a ZBS offense that sets up defenders by forcing them to play gaps instead of penetrating at will, then I think you are fine. If not, you are at risk.

Finally, I just think that while Bradbury has a higher floor, McCoy is as proven as you are going to get at the position. After facing nearly two dozen current and future NFL defensive linemen, he has plenty of experience against good player.

In fact, if you want to see how the two compare I would encourage you to go check out both of their matchups against Clemson. Bradbury was constantly off balance and overwhelmed, while McCoy handled Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence much better, frequently winning those assignments.

I understand that Bradbury is a bigger name because he has flashier clips (as flashy as you can get from the IOL) but the holes in his game concern me more than the holes in McCoy’s game.

So if you take the names out of it here is the comparison:

-A 24 year old, who is an elite athlete who struggles with power, but would be an excellent fit in a ZBS.

-A 21 year old, who is a very good athlete and who has a lower ceiling, but a higher floor and he fits any blocking scheme.

For my money, I would rather take the second player to round out and offensive line that already has a few great pieces.