The NFL Scouting Combine is going on this week, and the Tennessee Titans are going to have a lot to watch.
While fans watch the Combine for spectacular performances, NFL teams are focused more on prospects staying above key thresholds. For example, breaking the record on bench press doesn’t have a lot of value, but many teams want to make sure that players that have to have that brute strength (like centers, guards, and defensive tackles) stay above 12 reps as mentioned here by Todd McShay.
This doesn’t mean that teams don’t care about positive outliers. I’m not sure if you remember, but the Titans were so blown away by a running back’s 40-time that they drafted him in the first round, a guy named Chris Johnson. That worked out pretty well for them.
The top-end numbers are always great, but the Tennessee Titans have a pretty small “needs” list this year so they can focus on specific position groups a little bit harder.
Anyone who mentions defense being a need is either projecting Harold Landry to leave in free agency or some shocking cuts to happen, so all eyes will likely be on offensive prospects.
Wide receiver and tight end are getting a lot of attention, but there are probably going to be some big changes on the offensive line as well. Even if Dillon Radunz and Aaron Brewer step into starting spots, there might be multiple positions open due to cuts and/or trades.
One key drill for the Tennessee Titans to watch
The Tennessee Titans have traditionally targeted the right combination of size and speed on the offensive line (with one exception), and there is a reason why that works more often than not.
More than anything, the short shuttle seems to be the drill that best identifies good offensive line prospects.
Josh Norris did a great job cataloging that, and while the group isn’t perfect, there are almost no busts on that list. Meaning that if you draft someone with good tape and that kind of athleticism, you are very likely to add a long-time starter with Pro Bowl upside.
There may not be any linemen that qualify for this list, but if they do the Tennessee Titans should move around in the draft in a way that gives them the best chance to land one of these players even if it means moving out of the first round to do it.
Jon Robinson still has several decisions to make before draft day including cuts, extensions, re-signings, free agency, trades, etc. so offensive lineman might not end up being a need when it is all said and done. However, if it is then you already know what to look for when you are doing your mock drafts.