Barrett Jones and a Look Ahead to the Tennessee Titans' 2013 NFL Draft

Zach Law@zach_lawContributor IJune 25, 2012

Barrett Jones and a Look Ahead to the Tennessee Titans' 2013 NFL Draft

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    While the Tennessee Titans are on a bit of a break between minicamp and training camp, the football action never really stops.

    Despite a promising last couple of drafts, the team still has major holes that it will have to address in the 2013 draft. 

    While the draft is still approximately 300 days away, it's never too early to project whom the Titans will select with their six current picks. (The Titans traded their 2013 sixth-round pick in the deal to get Scott Solomon in this year's seventh round.)

    Interior offensive line, defensive line, the secondary and even running back are positions to look at as the Titans continue to build.

Jackson Jeffcoat, Defensive End, Texas

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    Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley have to hold up all year for the Titans to have a competent pass rush.

    Competent would be a big improvement over 2011. 

    The Titans barely touched the position in the 2012 draft, with seventh-round pick Scott Solomon the only addition to the defensive-end rotation. While the Titans have hit on some seventh-rounders in recent years, Solomon could end up on the practice squad. 

    If Morgan doesn't fully recover from his 2010 ACL tear or if Wimbley turns out to be too slight to play the position full-time, an addition will be necessary.'s very early 2013 mock draft has the Titans selecting Jackson Jeffcoat of Texas in the first round. His father is Jim Jeffcoat, who won two Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys

    The younger Jeffcoat was an All-American in high school and had 7.5 sacks as a sophomore. Note that all 7.5 sacks came after game six of the season.

    He'll remind fans of Jevon Kearse.

    Other Top Defensive-End Prospects

    Barkevious Mingo, LSU

    Sam Montgomery, LSU

    Jarvis Jones, Georgia

    Alex Okafor, Texas

Barrett Jones, Guard, Alabama

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    The Titans put a piece of duct tape on the broken windshield that is their interior offensive line when they signed Steve Hutchinson. He was a bit of a consolation prize when the Peyton Manning sweepstakes didn't go the Titans' way.

    Hutchinson, like Manning, is at the tail end of his career, and it's going to be tough to expect 16 starts out of him at left guard. 

    With Eugene Amano and Leroy Harris being Eugene Amano and Leroy Harris, an upgrade's going to be necessary. The Titans haven't taken an offensive lineman before the third round since Michael Roos in 2005.

    Barrett Jones could turn that around.

    He started 14 games at right guard last year for Alabama and was an All-American. Jones won the 2011 Outland Trophy as the nation's best interior lineman. 

    Mike Munchak might see a kindred spirit in Jones and break the Titans' unwritten rule on waiting on drafting offensive linemen.

    Other Top G/C Prospects

    Jonathan Cooper, Guard UNC

    Travis Frederick, Guard Wisconsin

    Khaled Holmes, C USC

Johnathan Jenkins, Defensive Tackle, Georgia

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    While the Titans had great returns from rookies Jurrell Casey and Karl Klug last year and third-round pick Mike Martin is going to be a mainstay in the rotation, the team's missing that Albert Haynesworth-type difference-maker in the interior.

    Yes, Haynesworth used to be good.

    Tennessee could do worse than picking up another SEC standout in Johnathan Jenkins of Georgia. Jenkins hurt his shoulder in the fourth quarter of Georgia's 33-30 Outback Bowl loss to Michigan State and decided to return for his senior season. 

    When a guy's listed at 351 pounds, you know that he's a space-eater. For the Titans to get back in the top 10 of the NFL in defense, they need guys who can take on double-teams and shut down the run.

    Jenkins is a prime candidate.

    Other Top Defensive-Tackle Prospects

    Star Lotulelei, Utah

    Johnathon Hankins, Ohio State

    Bennie Logan, LSU

    Margus Hunt, SMU

    Jesse Williams, Alabama

T.J. McDonald, Safety, USC

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    Jordan Babineaux filled in at strong safety in 2011 so well that he earned a contract extension with the club.

    While the team just locked down Michael Griffin for five years, the strong safety spot is not presently filled with a difference-maker.

    T.J. McDonald had a chance to enter the 2012 NFL Draft, but instead he decided to go back for his senior season and try to win a national title with teammate Matt Barkley. McDonald was a first-team All-American by Pro Football Weekly and The Sporting News

    He's a team captain, and the Titans need more leaders like McDonald. 

    Other Top Safety Prospects

    Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma

    Ray Ray Armstrong, Miami

    Robert Lester, Alabama

David Amerson, Cornerback, North Carolina State

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    There is a lot of confidence in the Titans' young cornerbacks, but it's possible that Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner looked so good in their starts because Cortland Finnegan was lined up on the opposite side.

    If one or both fail when moving up in the depth chart, the Titans will have to consider taking a cornerback early in next year's draft.

    David Amerson of North Carolina State is the current top prospect.

    As a sophomore he had 13 interceptions, and that led the nation. While cornerbacks are traditionally no taller than six feet, Amerson is 6'3". 

    The Titans may not need a cornerback next year.

    If they do, Amerson's the guy. 

    Other Top Cornerback Prospects

    Xavier Rhodes, Florida State

    Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State

    Tyrann Mathieu, LSU

    DeMarcus Milliner, Alabama

Rex Burkhead, Running Back, Nebraska

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    One sign that the Titans are going away from the run-first mantra of the Jeff Fisher era was that the team did not draft a running back in 2011.

    Under Fisher, the Titans kept chipping away at the position until they hit with Chris Johnson in 2008. 

    After this season, they may need another running back. Backup Javon Ringer will be a free agent and second-year player Jamie Harper was not impressive in limited touches. Neither player is a good option to be a change-of-pace guy.

    Burkhead has the name of a bruising back. He led the Cornhuskers with 1,357 rushing yards in their first Big Ten season. Burkhead has 49 career receptions, so he's not just a one-trick running back. 

    Johnson's going to start and play out his contract.

    The franchise needs to think about his long-term backup.

    Other Top Running-Back Prospects

    Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina

    Michael Dyer, Arkansas State

    Montee Ball, Wisconsin

    Giovanni Bernard, North Carolina

    Stephan Taylor, Stanford

    All prospects listed in this article are from the draft scouting site Walter Football. 

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