6 Players the Titans Won't Draft (and Why)
The Tennessee Titans under Mike Munchak have been difficult to predict when it comes to the draft.
In 2011, mocking Nick Fairley to Tennessee was a no-brainer, but then they shocked everyone by selecting Jake Locker.
The following year, when Whitney Mercilus, Chandler Jones and David DeCastro all fell to within the Titans' reach, one of them had to be the pick. Again, the Titans shocked everyone by taking Baylor wideout Kendall Wright instead.
This year, I've come to expect the unexpected with Tennessee. However, here are six guys I feel pretty comfortable saying they will not draft.
1. Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
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Chance Warmack is one of the most popular selections for the Titans in mocks, which is why I included him first.
However, I don't think the Titans select him.
First of all, the Titans already signed an elite left guard, Andy Levitre, in the offseason, so Warmack would only be playing right guard.
Second, Warmack is only the second-best guard prospect in this year's class, the best being North Carolina's Jonathan Cooper.
Third, it doesn't make sense from a positional value standpoint. Guards were valuable in the time Mike Munchak was playing because the ground game was a more important part of an NFL offense than it is today.
Munchak is no idiot, and he knows that. A guard hasn't been taken in the top 10 since 1997 for a reason. I don't see that trend being broken this year, much less for the second-best prospect at the position.
2. Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida and 3. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
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This is another popular selection, and unlike Warmack, this one makes absolutely no sense.
Star Lotulelei is at the top of my big board as the draft's best overall player. Sharrif Floyd is near there for most others (even though I and now some others think his stock has been overinflated), so why wouldn't the Titans take the best player available?
Simple: it does not fit a need.
Right now, defensive tackle is the strongest position on the Titans' roster, with the possible exception of running back. The group is not only talented, but young as well.
Jurrell Casey now commands double teams consistently and is about to start just his third year as a player. He's been a borderline Pro Bowler both years.
Karl Klug is the same age, and has shown to be an effective interior pass rusher.
Mike Martin is coming off an impressive rookie year, and with his ridiculous strength, the sky is the limit.
Lastly, Sammie Hill was a very good rotational player for Detroit before Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh buried him in their depth chart. He is also the biggest player at the position that the Titans have.
The Titans have way too many areas in desperate need of improving to waste a selection on a position that they're already strong in.
4. D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
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This selection surprised me when I saw it. I'd seen mocks give the Titans Lane Johnson before, but not D.J. Fluker.
It makes sense on paper: Fluker could start at right guard right away, then move out to right tackle if David Stewart can't start the season or gets injured again. Then, of course, he could be the right tackle of the future, which the Titans need.
However, like guard, right tackle seems to be a position that's dropping in value. Pro Bowl-caliber right tackles Eric Winston (formerly of Houston and Kansas City) and Andre Smith (formerly of Cincinnati) are both free agents right now.
Several teams need right tackles, but no one has signed either of these two within a week of the draft. That tells me that teams seem to think the position isn't worth it.
If that's true, I don't see the Titans using a top-10 selection on a right tackle when it isn't a position of immediate need.
5. Tavon Austin, WR, WVU
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First of all, there's just no way a team would invest three out of five first-round selections on wide receivers. Ever.
Second of all, as talented as Tavon Austin is, he's severely lacking in an attribute the Titans need in their receiving corps: height.
With the departure of Jared Cook, the Titans are now without a tall passing threat. Kenny Britt is the tallest at 6'3", but he's yet to play a full season, so he isn't exactly reliable.
You can bet that whatever receiver the Titans target in the early rounds (and I expect they will target one on the second day), he'll be taller than prospects like Austin or Stedman Bailey.
6. Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
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As much as Bud Adams loves to see his team take players from Texas, and as much as the Titans need a safety, I don't see them taking Kenny Vaccaro.
The Titans are looking for someone who will contribute immediately. The coaching staff and front office are in the hot seat after a 6-10 season, so picking up someone who would start in 2014 won't do much for them.
Right now, the Titans are pretty much locked in with Michael Griffin as the starting free safety. If that wasn't the case, they would have cut him earlier in the offseason. He's being paid a lot, so that means they plan on him starting.
Vaccaro could start over Griffin, and he'd probably better, but the fact that Griffin is still on the team shows that they probably aren't very interested in Vaccaro.