On Apr. 25, the Tennessee Titans will be picking at No. 30 in the NFL Draft. With needs at wide receiver, defensive line, and cornerback, the team would seem to have a good slot to grab a solid talent at any of the three positions.
However, with names like Anquan Boldin, Julius Peppers, and Chad "my old surname was too dull" Ochocinco still out there on the trading block, is there any chance this pick will be used as trade bait to lure a star to Nashville? Or will it be mortgaged to move further up in the draft to select a top talent at one of these positions?
The Titans are not normally big movers or shakers on the first day of the draft, but with the team so close to the top of the NFL ladder, is this the year that Jeff Fisher, Bud Adams, et al pull the trigger on a trade to take Tennessee over the top?
Possible Trade No. 1: Titans send first and second round picks to Arizona for WR Anquan Boldin
It has recently become very apparent that Boldin wants out of Arizona, and despite the Cardinals' surprising playoff surge, the lack of success in the desert seems to have affected the star wideout adversely.
He's practically begging to be traded, and with Tennessee not having had a proper No. 1 receiver since Derrick Mason, it would seem prudent to at least consider trading for Boldin.
The Titans had a fantastic '08 year, but without a stud wide receiver, teams are going to gameplan specifically against the run and see how many times Kerry Collins can win a game with his arm.
The price suggested here is hefty, but with Tennessee's excellent D-line coach Jim Washburn turning the likes of Kevin Vickerson and Jason Jones into legitimate rotation players, you have to think Tennessee can find their desired D-line depth at almost any slot in the draft.
Boldin would make this offense tick far better, enabling Justin Gage to be the No. 2 guy while "Q" commands double teams. The Cardinals may want to retain Boldin, but if the Titans dangle two first-day picks at the Cards, it'll be hard for them to refuse, and Tennessee would acquire a star at a big need position. However, given the T's predilection for not signing WRs, this trade may never get beyond speculation.
Chance of fruition: 50 percent
Possible trade No. 2: Titans trade second-round pick to Bengals for WR Chad Ochocinco/Johnson
It's not exactly news that Ochocinco wants to leave Cincy, and with TJ Houshmandzadeh leaving for Seattle, his desires figure to have increased.
Despite the management's stubborn (and quite frankly pointless) refusal to let Johnson go, a first-day pick would seem to be enough to get the Who Dey nation to let the receiver go. They will be able to rid themselves of a huge locker-room disruption and begin rebuilding the team's chemistry.
As with Boldin, this would add a huge upgrade at a weak position, but with Ochocinco's anti-team antics so well publicized, it's unlikely Jeff Fisher would actually want him with the club.
Also, Chad would probably be less than excited to play for a small-market team who may win a lot, but aren't given the media attention of, say, the Jets or Patriots. He may want to leave, but even if he does, Nashville does not seem a likely destination.
Chance of fruition: 10 percent
Possible trade No. 3: Titans trade first and third round picks to San Diego to move up to spot No. 16 in round one to draft Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee/Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss
This would seem to be the most likely of all these hypothetical trades, as Tennessee needs to replace Albert Haynesworth, and improving their already good rotation would enable the Titans to continue pressuring the QB without blitzing.
San Diego is already laden with talent, and don't have gaping holes at any position that they won't be able to address at No. 30. If middle linebacker is their choice, Ohio State's James Laurinaitis figures to still be on the board. If it's running back, UConn's Donald Brown will likely be available.
This trade gives them another pick in the middle rounds to perhaps bolster their O-line or cornerback rotation, and Tennessee would now simply draft a wideout (like Penn State's Derrick Williams) or cornerback (like Vanderbilt's DJ Moore) in round two.
Tennessee would love to get Ayers, a pass-rusher who's stout against the run and played his college ball in the Volunteer State. If he's gone at No. 16, Peria Jerry from Ole Miss is a disruptive interior force with up-the-field penetration skills who would appear a perfect replacement at DT for Haynesworth.
Also, if Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins slips (as many have him doing), he could be the pick, as could Illinois' Vontae Davis (although the likelihood of the Titans drafting another first-round cornerback with character issues would appear slim).
If Tennessee does elect to trade their first-round selection, this would seem the most likely deal to get done.
Chance of fruition: 70 percent
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