Assigning Odds to Every Potential Titans First-Round Pick
With the major haul of free agents the Titans have brought in this offseason, general manager Ruston Webster has the opportunity to select the best player available with all nine of the team's draft selections.
The Titans' two biggest needs remain guard and defensive end, but the team also is in need of difference-making talent on both sides of the ball. The only player that we know is capable of changing the momentum of the game in an instant is Chris Johnson.
Obviously, there's a need for more, but the decision ultimately falls to Webster. Here are the odds on who the Titans will select with the 10th overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Coach Mike Munchak and Webster were focused on getting bigger along the defensive line and accomplished that goal by signing the 6'4", 320-plus pound defensive tackle Sammie Lee Hill and the 6'8", 310-plus pound defensive end Ropati Pitoitua.
However, the team still could decide to bring in a rookie with the potential to make a splash by drafting the also-large Star Lotulelei. Since the departure of the infamous Albert Haynesworth, the Titans have not had a player capable of collapsing the pocket.
Karl Klug seemed to fall out of favor in 2012, as his play count fell from 520 during his rookie season to 253 last year, according to Pro Football Focus.
Lotulelei racked up 20.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 during the last two seasons in the PAC-12 and could provide the push up the middle to help the Titans' defensive ends get better shots at opposing quarterbacks.
Odds: 16 percent
Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
A healthy Derrick Morgan proved himself to be a quality left end last season, but Kamerion Wimbley left much to be desired. Wimbley will turn 30 in October and that tends to signal the downside of defensive end careers.
Barkevious Mingo needs to add bulk to his frame to withstand the rigors of NFL life, but at 6'4", he has room to do so. In his rookie season, Mingo could excel in a situational pass-rusher role.
His combination of length, speed and strength make him a freakish talent with a ceiling higher than most other prospects. Despite the team's excitement over Akeem Ayers' improvements in rushing the quarterback, the team needs a down lineman capable of offering the same to field an elite pass rush.
* If Brigham Young's Ezekiel Ansah is available by the time the Titans pick, the following odds would increase drastically.
Odds: 27 Percent
Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Alterraun Verner is in the final year of his rookie contract, and there are no guarantees that he can be brought back at an affordable rate or that the team would want to do so. The Titans need someone who could possibly replace Verner, if necessary, and is capable of playing outside immediately.
When the Titans bring out their nickel defense, Verner is easily the team's best option for playing in the slot. However, when Verner is moved inside, there is no one on the roster capable of standing up to a challenge to replace him on the outside.
The team often opted to leave Verner outside and tried its hands with three players in the slot instead. Xavier Rhodes is a guy capable of filling all of the Titans' needs at the position.
Rhodes thrives in physical press coverage, something few college players can put on their resume. At times, his tackling technique is questionable, but Rhodes will make his living locking up boundary receivers with a balanced and strong jam followed up by enough speed to stick in their hip pocket. Just don't ask him to play in zone, because Rhodes shows tight movements when forced to pass receivers to a separate area. His game is somewhat scheme dependent, but expect Rhodes to be selected in the first 50 picks. - NFL.com.
Odds: 18 Percent
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
If the Titans are serious about trading or releasing Nate Washington, they cannot be serious about Kevin Walter being his replacement. If he wasn't good enough to be the Houston Texans' No. 2 wideout with Andre Johnson across from him, then why would the mind-boggling Kenny Britt provide a good pairing?
Speaking of Britt, this is the final year of his rookie contract, and he has much to prove on and off the field. If Tennessee opts to select a wide receiver early, Tavon Austin provides the type of big-play ability the team needs.
Austin can line up anywhere on the field and similar to Chris Johnson, he is capable of taking off for a touchdown on any play. The Titans would have a strong, young receiving duo for years to come and would field a more dynamic offense.
Odds: 9 Percent
Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
The Titans have done much to revamp the interior of their offensive line, starting with the signing of Andy Levitre to be the new left guard. Rob Turner and Chris Spencer are two signings with a truckload of starting experience to compete for the other starting guard spot.
Drafting another guard isn't an absolute necessity, but Jonathan Cooper brings elite talent and athleticism to the position. NFL.com's "bottom line" on Cooper speaks volumes about the guard's future prospects:
Cooper, an extremely athletic left guard, racked up a number of all-conference awards during his four years starting, capping it off with a first-team All-American selection as a senior. He has the athleticism to play in a number of different schemes. Due to his ability to lead the way on runs and outstanding pass protection skills, he projects to be one of the first guards selected in the draft. He showed improvement on his functional strength in his senior season, but he needs to continue adding bulk and strength.
Adding Cooper to the lineup would provide the interior of the offensive line with three quality starters and depth should the team experience the injury woes it did last season.
* The following odds are equal for Alabama's Chance Warmack.
Odds: 30 Percent
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