Tennessee Titans: Power Ranking the Draft Class by Immediate Impact

Chad MintonCorrespondent IMay 6, 2012

Tennessee Titans: Power Ranking the Draft Class by Immediate Impact

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    This season's draft class may not be creating as much buzz as last season's draft class, but they're still going to be vital to the success of the Tennessee Titans.

    Last seasons proved that the Titans are just a few pieces away from making a return to the postseason, and these new guys in town will have to make immediate impacts for this young team.

    Last season guys like Karl Klug, Colin McCarthy and Jurrell Casey stepped up and made immediate impacts to help the Titans achieve a 9-7 record that very few thought they would get.

    Now the goal is the postseason, and these seven guys of the 2012 Titans draft class will need to make impacts right out of the gate.

7. Taylor Thompson, Tight End, SMU

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    The tight end position certainly wasn't a weak one for the Titans heading into the draft, but they added Taylor Thompson in the 5th round by trading with the Dolphins to move up.

    Thompson has great size to make it at the next level at a number of positions. He actually played defensive end his junior season at Southern Methodist.

    However, Thompson received All-State honors as a tight end in high school, so it will be interesting to see what role Thompson will play in his rookie season.

    If anything, this pick gives the Titans more depth at two different positions, if needed.

    Since there is already two solid tight ends in Jared Cook and Craig Stevens ahead of him, it may take a while for Thompson to find the field.

6. Coty Sensabaugh, CB, Clemson

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    The Titans added some depth at cornerback in the 4th round with the speedy Coty Sensabaugh.

    After losing Cortland Finnegan in free agency, it was vital that the Titans drafted a cornerback.

    Sensabaugh most likely won't be the starter right out of the gate with Alterraun Verner and Jason McCourty more than capable of holding down the starting roles.

    However, Sensabaugh could find some playing time in nickel packages, and he may have an important role on special teams as well.

    Overall, this was a smart pick by the Titans in the middle rounds of the draft. If Verner or McCourty do begin to slip up, then the Titans have a very fast cornerback to turn to.

5. Markelle Martin, FS, Oklahoma State

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    It's not often that you get one of the best at a particular position in the 6th round, but that's what the Titans did by snagging Markelle Martin as the 190th overall pick.

    Even though it was a predominantly weak class at the safety position, this was a steal for the Titans.

    Martin brings a hard-hitting attitude to a team that just decided to not bring back veteran Chris Hope, another guy who made an NFL career out of dishing out hard hits.

    With Michael Griffin and Jordan Babineaux figuring to be the starters, Martin will probably be a special teams player to start off.

    He could eventually end up finding the field as a starter in 2012, if Babineaux drops off from a surprisingly solid 2011 campaign.

    If Griffin is let go in the near future, then that is Martin's job for the taking since Martin is more of a free safety than a strong safety.

4. Scott Solomon, DE, Rice

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    Scott Solomon is a very powerful defensive end prospect that uses his strength to overcome blockers, and that's exactly what the Titans need to improve that terrible 2011 total of 28 team sacks.

    With Matt Schaub and Andrew Luck in the division, the Titans have to get better at rushing the passer.

    Many thought that the Titans would take a defensive end in the 1st round, but they decided to wait until the 7th round to take their only defensive end.

    Solomon figures to see his fair share of playing time behind Kamerion Wimbley and Derrick Morgan. You also have veteran Dave Ball in the mix.

    He won't be a mainstay on the defensive line, but he'll get plenty of opportunities to contribute throughout the season.

    Sometimes the best picks end up coming late in the draft, and this would be one that could vastly improve the Titans' playoff chances if he makes an immediate impact on the pass rush.

3. Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina

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    Zach Brown has an excellent chance at being a Week 1 starter if he has a solid training camp.

    A couple veterans in Will Witherspoon and Gerald McRath stand in his way of being an initial starter as a rookie.

    The Titans already got a ton out of two rookies linebackers last season, and Brown is very capable of being another one.

    Brown has great speed and works well from sideline to sideline, which is really what the Titans have been lacking since Keith Bulluck left.

    Even if Brown isn't able to be the initial starter, he'll contribute heavily on special teams.

    Anytime you have 230 tackles of college production coming onto your team, you've probably got something good.

2. Mike Martin, DT, Michigan

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    Mike Martin may have a lot of competition on the depth chart, but his talent will help him eventually rise to the top this season.

    Draft gurus Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. had nothing but positive things to say about this guy.

    He's known as a solid run stopper, which will come in handy against Jacksonville and Houston.

    Expect to see Martin a lot this season in short-yardage situations when the opposition is fighting for those tough yards in the trenches.

    The Titans struggled often in that department, and it led to a good portion of those seven losses.

    Now Karl Klug is still the main guy at defensive tackle, but Sen' Derrick Marks and Shaun Smith don't bring to the table what Martin does.

    A hardworking, no nonsense prospect joins the Titans this season and will really help get this defense back to where it once was.

1. Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

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    New Titans GM Ruston Webster threw everyone a curveball by drafting Kendall Wright in the 1st round over a defensive prospect.

    It's clear that the Titans want to add as many weapons as possible for when Jake Locker takes over, and Wright certainly helps the Titans stretch the field more.

    Wright will primarily be a deep threat for the Titans out of the slot.

    If the Titans were willing to use their 1st round pick on Wright, then they must think highly enough of him to use him early and often.

    Wright has plenty of critics who say his size is a concern, but his speed should make up for it. He's also not a bad route runner.

    With the Titans adding another deep threat, it should also relieve some pressure for Chris Johnson between the tackles.

    If there's one rookie out of this draft class who's going to make an immediate impact this season, it will be Wright. He'll get the most opportunities to make sparks for a Titans offense that figures to put plenty of points on the scoreboard.