Everything Titans Fans Needs to Know About the 2013 Combine

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistFebruary 22, 2013

Will the Titans take a big Chance?
Will the Titans take a big Chance?Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The draft can be a sexy event, even if it eventually does result in large, grunty men in very small pants running into each other all day.

For the Tennessee Titans, the 2013 draft will be anything but sexy.

They have a quarterback.

They have good receivers.

They have a big-time runner.

As the 2013 scouting combine rolls on in Indianapolis, the Titans are going to have to fill some of the less exciting holes on the roster.

They need linemen.

With the team sending out a direct press release that they've signed safety George Wilson from the Bills, the focus for the draft shifts up front on both offense and defense for Tennessee.

Here's everything the Titans fan needs to know about the combine.

Know What You Don't Know

The Titans still have a lot of moves to make before we get a handle on what their draft focus will be.

With cap room to work with, Tennessee could go a long way to shoring up the offensive line or the defensive front before April ever arrives.

It's one thing to guess about a team's needs in February, but GMs know the roster often looks quite different come draft day.

Additionally, the Titans are at the mercy of the teams in front of them. It's fun to target players and get your hopes up, but unless a team has one of the first few picks in the draft, the scouting net has to be quite wide.

You just never have any idea who will actually be available when the team is up to pick.

Know What You Do Know

Adding Wilson doesn't automatically take a safety off the board for the Titans, but it does lessen the immediate need to take one early.

It's also clear that the line is going to be an issue in Tennessee this offseason.

The Titans love skill players in the first round, and have drafted one in the first round of four of the last five drafts and five of the last seven. Of course, that also means that most of those slots are full.

The addition of Gregg Williams to the coaching staff portends a rise in blitz-heavy looks and puts a premium on pass-rushers.

Add all this data up, and what do you get?

The Titans are a team that likes to make a splash in the draft. Keep a close eye on difference-making linemen who can get after the passer.

What to Watch

Injuries matter, especially to first rounders. They can also help a team grab an elite player much lower than expected.

For that reason above all others, listen to rumblings about medical reports. Nothing can affect draft stock as much as injuries.

The real value in the combine comes from private interviews and standardized measuring of prospects, but ultimately, it's a second- or even third-tier evaluation tool. What a player has done on tape matters far more than his 40 time does.

The Titans likely have a pool of players in mind, and they are watching to be sure that there's nothing out of the ordinary.

What Not to Watch

Don't watch the guys whose stock skyrockets, unless it has to do with previous health issues.

Worry more about players who disqualify themselves from consideration than players "combining" their way into the conversation.

Smart teams are using film and live scouting to evaluate top players. They aren't about to be swayed by a stopwatch time in underwear when there's plenty of tape that says whether or not a guy can play.

Players to Ponder

If you really want to keep a close eye on players in Indianapolis, here's a good starting list based on who top experts have slated to the Titans.

Matt Miller: Chance Warmack, OG Alabama

Mel Kiper Jr.: Barkevious Mingo, DE LSU

Todd McShay: Chance Warmack, OG Alabama

Bucky Brooks: Jonathan Cooper, OG North Carolina

Pete Prisco: Dee Milliner, CB Alabama

There's a heavy emphasis on interior linemen among experts, but it's difficult for a team to invest a top-10 pick in a guard. Guards tend to be so fungible that drafting one early feels like a missed opportunity to get a real difference-maker.

Remember that most mock drafting is merely the act of pairing up a value list with a list of needs. The Titans do in fact need to rebuild their offensive line, but that doesn't mean they won't do it before the draft ever comes.


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