Tennessee Titans 2013 Mock Draft: 7 Round Predictions, 1 Week Ahead of Draft
The draft is just a week away (it begins on April 25), so the draft stock of the 2013 prospects is getting to as close to clear as it can be.
Despite the draft being just days away, it's still tough to predict what the Titans will do. No one saw the picks of Jake Locker or Kendall Wright coming, even right before the draft.
I expect the front office will be just as difficult to predict this year, but we can at least try to make an educated guess.
So, without further ado, here is a seven-round mock for the Tennessee Titans.
Round 1, Pick 10: Jonathan Cooper, OG/OC, North Carolina
Mock drafts across the web are finally starting to see that Jonathan Cooper is a better prospect than Chance Warmack.
He's a better pass blocker, he's got more physical strength, he's much faster and he has better game tape. He lacks the mauling functional strength of Warmack, but he's no pushover.
He also happens to be a better fit for the Titans. He's a former wrestler, which seems to be something this regime values in draft picks. More importantly, he has versatility.
Cooper can play either guard spot or center, and center is a much more important position than right guard. The Titans still have Fernando Velasco, but as of right now, he has not signed any kind of long term contract so they could be in need again soon.
Cooper could fill in for Velasco if needed, and could actually be an elite center.
Round 2, Pick 40: Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
If the Titans don't use their first pick on a corner, they'll almost certainly use their second one.
Jamar Taylor has seen his stock rise over the last couple of weeks. In fact, he's got an outside chance at being a first-round selection, depending on how early Xavier Rhodes, Desmond Trufant and perhaps Johnthan Banks go.
Taylor, like many Boise prospects, suffers the stigma of an easy set of opponents, but he got good reviews at the Senior Bowl, then killed the scouting combine with 22 reps on the bench and a blistering 40 time of 4.39 seconds.
Since then, his stock has been steadily climbing. In a strong cornerback class, it's hard to say where he'll fall, but he could be around when the Titans pick. If he is, he'd be a tempting selection.
Round 3, Pick 70: Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn
Corey Lemonier may not make it to the Titans in the third round, but with such a deep class of pass rushers, it's certainly possible.
Lemonier had a disappointing junior season, totaling only 5.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss. He did, however, register 12 quarterback hurries, so he can rush the passer to some degree.
His injury history was keeping his stock down, but a great performance at the combine raised it right back up. There, Lemonier ran the 40 yard dash in 4.53 seconds, one of the fastest times among defensive linemen.
He also had an impressive bench press (27 reps), vertical jump (33") and long jump (119"). Then there's the fact that the Titans' defensive line coach was the defensive line coach at Auburn when Lemonier was recruited.
If Lemonier is there in the third, and the Titans haven't picked up an edge rusher yet, you can bet he'll be the pick.
Round 3, Pick 97: Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia
With Kenny Britt in the last year of his contract and rumors of the Titans seeking to trade Nate Washington, they may be looking for another receiver for Jake Locker to utilize. One of the best who could still be on the board this late is Stedman Bailey.
Now his teammates Geno Smith and Tavon Austin are receiving most of the draft buzz, but Bailey is no slouch. On the season, Bailey had 114 catches for 1,622 yards and 25 touchdowns.
By comparison, Austin had the same number of catches, 1,289 yards, and 12 touchdowns, but is considered an early first-round pick.
Now numbers don't tell the whole story, but because of his teammates, Bailey may be overlooked enough to be a steal this late in the draft.
Round 4, Pick 107: J.J. Wilcox, S, Georgia Southern
The Titans signed two safeties this offseason: former Raven Bernard Pollard and former Bill George Wilson, so safety isn't a big priority right now.
However, Pollard only signed a one-year deal, Wilson is already 32 and Michael Griffin, the starting free safety, is coming off of his worst year. Safety could turn into a big need very soon.
J.J. Wilcox could potentially play either safety spot. He has great speed and man-coverage abilities, and could be that guy that the Titans have been looking for to cover tight ends.
He won't get there immediately, but with a need at strong safety just a year away and most of the Titans' other needs addressed, a developmental safety in the fourth round could be a wise choice.
Round 5, Pick 142: Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin
At one time, I thought Ricky Wagner could be a first-round pick, but a lackluster season and a horrible offseason have decimated his draft stock.
It's tough to provide stats for a tackle, but Wagner had a lot of trouble in pass blocking situations all season long. What he did do well was run-block. He isn't a mauler like DJ Fluker or Brennan Williams, but he's decent.
That, along with his prototypical size might be enough to make the Titans spend a late-round selection on him and see if he can be coached up.
If he does improve his pass blocking, and keeps a good ground game, he could develop into the right tackle of the future.
Round 6, Pick 202: Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt
The Titans are set at running back for the time being, but they seem to like Stacy enough to hold a private meeting with him, and since Jamie Harper hasn't shown much since being selected with a fourth rounder, the team may choose to look in a different direction.
And there is a lot to like about Stacy. First of all, he's local, which is always a plus. Second, he killed the combine, with 27 reps on the bench (fourth highest among running backs) and a quick 4.5 second 40 time.
Then there's his build. Stacy looks very Jones-Drew-like at 5'8" and 216 lbs. Running backs with low centers of gravity are always great.
Lastly, in the sixth round it's hard to find players who will make the team, much less impact players. A solid backup with potential is a bargain in the late rounds.
Round 7, Pick 216: Travis Long, OLB, Washington State
The Titans need outside linebacker depth, even though it's perhaps the strongest position on the team at the moment. Right now, the only outside linebackers on the Titans' roster are the starters, Zach Brown and Akeem Ayers, Patrick Bailey and practice squad regular Thaddeus Gibson.
Travis Long, were he available here, could perhaps outplay Bailey and earn a spot on the roster.
Like Ayers and Brown, Long has some pass rush ability, with 8.5 sacks and three quarterback pressures on the season. He's also a decent run defender, with 12 tackles for loss to his name.
Were the Titans to lose one of their starters, Long could come in and at least be used in the same way they are. He wouldn't be as effective, but at least they wouldn't have to change their defensive packages.
Round 7, Pick 248: Johnny Adams, CB, Michigan State
Picks this late in the draft are always tough to figure out, but when in doubt, draft someone who used to have some hype.
Johnny Adams is one such player. He was thought of as a potential first rounder at the season's start, but got burned for quite a few touchdowns over the course of the season, and his draft stock went into a free fall.
However, he had a decent showing at the combine, so all is not lost. If nothing else, there's a good chance he could contribute on special teams.
That's about all you can ask for from a player who'd be only a few spots away from Mr. Irrelevant.