NFL Draft 2012: Late-Round Sleepers for the Tennessee Titans to Consider

Chad Minton@@chad_mintonCorrespondent IApril 26, 2012

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - DECEMBER 20:  Wide receiver T. Y. Hilton #4 of the Florida International University Panthers rushes upfield  after a pass reception in the second quarter against the Marshall Thundering Herd December 20, 2011 in the Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Sometimes the best picks end up being the ones in the later rounds, and the Tennessee Titans have done a great job over the years at selecting talent late in the draft.

Guys like Cortland Finnegan, Marc Mariani and Jason McCourty all became mainstays in the lineup after being taken late in the draft.

With the Titans having plenty of needs, it will be important that they find another gem late in this year's draft.

It's still a complete toss-up as to which position the Titans choose to address first. It could be defensive line, but then again it could be the safety position.

In all likelihood the Titans will address the defensive side of the ball more than the offensive side in this draft.

However, with the recent signing of Kamerion Wimbley, the defensive end position is no longer as glaring of a weakness as it once was.

Depth is still need at the position, and that could mean that the Titans wait until the later rounds to get some value picks.

One guy that has to be mentioned is Tim Fugger out of Vanderbilt. The guy has an unbelievable motor and ranked in the top 10 in the SEC last season in tackles for loss and sacks.

That ranking may seem modest, but when you do it in the best conference in the nation, it's saying a lot.

The Titans have already hosted Fugger at Baptist Sports Park, along with three other Vanderbilt Commodores, so don't be surprised if the Titans take Fugger in the mid to late rounds.

Another defensive position that could use a little more depth is cornerback. It's simple logic to realize that someone will have to fill the shoes of the departed Cortland Finnegan.

Even though the Titans have two capable starters to step in for this season, they still need some more depth moving forward.

Dwight Bentley out of Louisiana-Lafayette is a player that really mirrors Finnegan's gritty playing style, and Bentley had an excellent combine performance.

Bentley could go as a high as the second round, but if he slips then the Titans should jump all over the opportunity to add a player that has his raw athletic ability.

Cornerbacks will be plentiful in this draft, so the Titans will have plenty to choose from if they wait until rounds five through seven to address this need.

Safety is another position that the Titans need to take a look at. They could really use a dynamic player to lock down one side of the field.

The Titans don't necessarily have to use this pick in the first round, but if Alabama's Mark Barron slips to the Titans grasp, then they'll have to go safety first.

However, there will be some promising safeties available later on in the draft.

Antonio Allen out of South Carolina is a guy that isn't getting a ton of hype despite being one of the top safeties in the SEC last season.

It's possible that the Titans could get Allen in the third or fourth round and solidify the safety position for 2012.

Finally, the offense could still use a spark plug for next season.

The offense improved greatly last season thanks to Matt Hasselbeck, but at times they were very predictable.

There's a player out of Florida International who could change that immediately and it's T.Y. Hilton.

With his smaller school tag on him, he could easily slip to at least the third round, and that would be a smart pick up for the Titans.

Hilton could change the way defenses would have to prepare for the Titans if he lined up in the slot with his speed.

He obviously wouldn't be an every-down player, but he could help the Titans stretch the field more.

These are just a handful of prospects that could slip late into the draft and become the next Finnegan for the Titans organization.

Last season the Titans couldn't necessarily say they were just a few pieces away from contending for a division title, but now they definitely can.

One of these mid-round projected players could certainly be that missing piece.


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