Tennessee Titans 2012 Draft: 8 Prospects They Will Consider in Round 1
For teams like the Titans, this is good because they know they can eliminate some players and start narrowing their focus and ignoring players that will be snatched up much earlier, along with players that could be available in later rounds.
So, given the new information and the Titans' needs, who will they be considering for their first pick? Read on to find out.
1. Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
With Kenny Britt healing just fine and Lavelle Hawkins re-signed, wide receiver went from the biggest need to an ancillary issue for the Titans. However, if a great wide receiver falls to them in the first round, they just might take him.
Kendall Wright was listed as the No.1 wide receiver prospect on a lot of teams' big boards, but a disappointing 40 time in the combine (4.61 seconds) could make him drop all the way to the Titans.
If a couple of other guys the Titans had their eyes on were to be picked before the Titans have a shot at them, then Kendall might suddenly become the Wright choice (see what I did there?). After all, he has great playing speed, is an accomplished kick returner and would give the Titans two great deep threats.
We've already seen that Jake Locker likes to throw deep balls, so why not arm him with one more downfield threat? Wright's ceiling is very high (think DeSean Jackson without the attitude), and the Titans may take him as the best player available.
2. David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
David DeCastro is the best guard prospect to come out in a very long time. Now, even though Mike Munchak said that the Titans wouldn't be focusing on an offensive lineman in the first round, he qualified that statement with "unless you have a really special center or guard."
I think the player he had in mind when he said that was Stanford's David DeCastro. DeCastro has been the top guard prospect in the country from Day one, and he had a strong Combine performance which boosted his draft stock further.
Although the chances of DeCastro being there when the Titans pick are pretty slim (he may warrant a top 10 selection), but if he does fall, I think the Titans will actually take him.
3. Cordy Glenn, OG/OT, Georgia
Cordy Glenn is perhaps on the Titans' radar, but I think he's closer to the bottom of it.
Glenn is a monster, standing 6'5" tall and weighing 345 lbs, and his 40 time and 10-yard split time were even lower than DeCastro's. His arms were longer too.
However, Glenn is a little less powerful than DeCastro and may want to play tackle (and the Titans are set at tackle). He also needs to improve his stance and footwork.
Despite his superior measurables, Glenn isn't quite the prospect that DeCastro is, and since guards can be obtained in later rounds, I don't think the Titans will spend their first pick on Glenn.
4. Nick Perry, DE, USC
Nick Perry's listed weight made him too small to fit the Titans' system, but now that he put on an additional 21 pounds for the combine, he fits. Also, he had an absolutely dominant workout.
He ran a blazing 4.50 second 40 (unofficially), which is phenomenal for a defensive end. He played with speed all through the college season as well, so there's no concern that he'll play with less speed than he shows in drills.
He also showed the explosiveness that defensive ends need with a 38.5" vertical jump, and the power they need by repping 225 lbs. 35 times on the bench (only a few players did more).
After Quinton Coples and Melvin Ingram, Perry was the most impressive defensive end at the combine. If he's still there when the Titans are picking, I think he might be the one they go with.
5. Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
Whitney Mercilus didn't have as good a combine as Nick Perry, but he was so impressive during the season that his light weight won't take him off the table for the Titans.
Mercilus weighed in at slightly lighter than his listed weight at 261 lbs. That's still heavy enough to play defensive end, but isn't an ideal fit for the Titans' system. He'll need to add about 10 pounds in the offseason to be a better match.
He had a good 40 time (4.68 seconds) and a respectable performance on the bench (27 reps), but he fell a little short of my expectations.
That said, he had 16 sacks, 22 tackles for loss and nine forced fumbles this season. Despite the comparisons, he clearly isn't as athletic as Jason Pierre-Paul was, but he's got a killer work ethic and his ability to strip the ball is one of a kind.
If the Titans have to choose between Perry and Mercilus, it'll be a very tough choice. Mercilus has more on-field production, but Perry is more athletic. I'm leaning slightly toward Mercilus, myself.
6. Zach Brown, OLB, UNC
Zach Brown was, at one point, one of the internet's favorite selections for the Titans, but after questions about his character and work ethic arose, he fell out of favor.
With the combine performance he had, he'll be right back in the mix. Zach Brown had the lowest 10-yard split time (1.52 seconds) and then second lowest 40 time (4.44 seconds).
He also had a good weigh in, standing 6'1" and weighing 241 lbs. He also had long arms (33.25"), but didn't participate in the bench press.
Brown is rumored to be a major prima donna, and that will turn off a lot of teams. However, if he does well in the interviews or if those rumors turn out not to be true, then the Titans may consider selecting him with the 20th pick.
7. Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
If Cortland Finnegan isn't re-signed (which is looking more and more likely), then the Titans will need a new cornerback. Even if they're alright with starting Alterraun Verner and Jason McCourty, they'll need another corner to play in the nickel defense.
The only cornerback worth that might be available when the Titans are selecting and will be worth taking is Dre Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick, like Morris Claiborne and Janoris Jenkins, did not participate in the bench press, but looked good otherwise. He ran a 4.43 second 40 and a 1.56 second 10-yard split.
Since he was arrested for possession of marijuana, teams could pass on him and let him fall to the Titans. If he is there and the Titans have him high on their big board, they might select him.
Of course, it's unlikely that he'll be there at all, so even though corner isn't the biggest need for the Titans, he will almost certainly be the best player available.
8. Mark Barron, SS, Alabama
Mark Barron is an excellent strong safety prospect, but he's no Eric Berry. Mark Barron didn't participate in the 40-yard dash, the 10-yard split, either the vertical or broad jump, or the bench press.
Had he worked out and looked good, then he could have boosted his stock enough for the Titans to consider taking him in the first round. However, since he sat out, he didn't do enough to separate himself from other strong safeties.
Kentucky's Winston Guy Jr. had a great weigh-in and a decent 40 time.
Delano Howell also did very well, especially since he was coming off an injury.
Boise State's George Iokla and Notre Dame's Harrison Smith did even better. Iokla ran a 4.59 second 40 and had 20 reps on the bench, and Smith ran a 4.56 second 40 and had 19 reps.
Given that all of those guys will be available much later in the draft, why would the Titans spend their first pick on a guy who they can't be sure about physically?