Titans 2013 Mock Draft: The Smartest Pick Tennessee Can Make at Every Spot
The 2012 season came and went, leaving Tennessee Titans fans with more questions than they had heading into the season.
Despite ending the season with an exciting 38-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, it was done in a completely unsustainable manner.
The offense was deplorable, and Jake Locker seemed to only regress as the season wore on. The defense showed a few signs of life, but ultimately had the worst scoring defense in franchise history.
How the Titans go about fixing some of the team's personnel issues is a few months in the making; however, here's an early look at how things would shake out for Tennessee if things went perfectly.
Round 1: CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
Last season, after finding a pass-rusher, drafting a corner was seen as one of the top needs after Cortland Finnegan's departure.
Many, including myself, felt the team would be okay with Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner being the team's starters, but Tennessee's pass defense ranking tumbled from 14th in 2011 to 26th in 2012.
That's with an ever-so-slightly improved pass rush, but in my favor is the 2010 season. In 2010, the Titans ranked eighth in the league in sacks yet still ranked 29th in pass defense.
Obviously, Jordan Babineaux and Michael Griffin are weaknesses as well, but there aren't any safeties worth a top-10 pick in this year's draft.
Dee Milliner has totaled 51 tackles, two interceptions, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble and 18 passes broken up in 2012. He's tied for second in the nation with 20 total passes defensed.
At 6'1", he has the size and speed combination to be a dominant corner in the NFL to go along with his man-to-man coverage skills.
Round 2: DE Ezekiel Ansah, Brigham Young
Speaking of lousy pass rushes...
That whole moving Kamerion Wimbley to defensive end thing didn't have the immediate impact many had hoped for.
Wimbley has the size and ability to be a quality defensive end with a full year at the position under his belt, and Derrick Morgan finally showed signs of being a first-round pick.
Still, it's better safe than sorry. The Titans have no depth behind Wimbley or Morgan and Ezekiel Ansah has the intangibles of a great pass-rusher without the experience.
Ansah signed on with BYU as a member of the track team from Ghana. He entered the 2012 season devoid of any career starts and had just 10 tackles.
At the end of the year, he racked up 62 tackles in 2012, including 13 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.
Having Ansah as depth would give the Titans some quality depth and allow him the time he needs to develop further.
Round 3: OG Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State
Entering the 2102 season, the huge question hanging over the Titans offense was whether the running game woes were due to the offensive line or Chris Johnson.
Evidently, it's a bit of a mix of both. Upon his departure, former Titans running back coach Jim Skipper had this to say about CJ2k (h/t Jim Wyatt, The Tennessean):
Chris is the type of back that’s going to need help, you know? He’s not the kind of guy who is going to make his own holes. But I think he is in the right direction. He’s just had a run of bad luck. If they can get some stability on the offensive line, he’ll be fine.
Johnson has made statements to the same affect himself, but watching this season it became crystal clear. Johnson is a speed back who gets exactly what's opened up for him by the O-line.
He doesn't make cuts or make you miss, he just beats you down the field. That comes off as harsh, but as long as Johnson has the speed, he's an upper-echelon running back in the NFL.
So Tennessee has to fix the line. Much like the Wimbley signing, the Steve Hutchinson signing failed to produce the desired results. Hutchinson is on the downside of his career and clearly Minnesota knew that when they let him walk.
Leroy Harris hasn't been a world beater either so bringing in some reinforcements is a must.
Round 4: OG Alvin Bailey, Arkansas
It might seem crazy to draft the same position in back-to-back rounds, but the interior of Tennessee's offensive line has been that bad the last two seasons.
The Titans need to stop defenses from bursting into the backfield, not only for Johnson's sake but for the development of Jake Locker as a quarterback.
Locker missed several games this season due to a separated shoulder. An injury for which he still needs to go under the knife.
Gabe Jackson and Alvin Bailey could form a great tandem for years to come.
Round 5: TE Ryan Otten, San Jose State
The Likely departure of Jared Cook means there's a hole to fill on the tight end depth chart. Craig Stevens remains the team's best blocking tight end but has showcased the ability to make catches.
Taylor Thompson is still a work in progress as he continues to develop his route-running and pass-catching skills.
Ryan Otten showcased great downfield ability to go along with his great size (6'5", 245 lbs). Otten is the national leader for average yards per catch by a tight end with at least 40 receptions.
He finished the season with 47 catches for 742 yards and four TDs.
Round 6: None
The Titans traded their sixth-round pick in the 2013 draft to the Minnesota Vikings in order to draft Scott Solomon in the 2012 draft.
Round 7: S Drew Frey, Cincinnati
The Titans seem to draft a defensive back late in the draft every year, and the coaching staff seems to have no faith in Jordan Babineaux or Al Afalava at strong safety.
Drew Frey doesn't necessarily represent a threat to taking over the starting job, but adding competition to the position couldn't hurt.