Looking Ahead to Tennessee Titans' 2014 NFL Draft

Chad MintonCorrespondent INovember 19, 2013

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 09:  Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies celebrates a touchdown pass in the third quarter during the game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Kyle Field on November 9, 2013 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The Tennessee Titans may be in the middle of making a push for the playoffs, but it's never too early to start looking ahead to the 2014 NFL draft.

It's still yet to be determined if the Titans had a successful draft last season, one in which they took Chance Warmack in the first round to help revamp their offensive line.

When you look ahead to next year's draft, you can't help but wonder if the Titans still have faith in Jake Locker as their franchise quarterback. If they don't, then that will have a major impact on how they approach the draft.

An early mock draft by Rob Rang of CBSSports.com has the Titans possibly going with Johnny Manziel in the first round. It's safe to say that a pick like that would get people energized in Nashville.

If the Titans go with Manziel, then it could mean that the team is prepared to yet again go into a rebuilding mode. It would be an exciting pick, but it would mean that Tennessee has taken another step back to try to go two steps forward in a couple years.

The first obvious need that the Titans seem to have is a future replacement for Kenny Britt at wide receiver, who is likely gone at the end of the season. There are also other key receivers who are going to be free agents, and it's unlikely that the Titans can retain all of them.

Jordan Matthews, the local product out of Vanderbilt, is a guy who could make an immediate impact on the Titans as a rookie. He has great size and is a solid route-runner who will translate well into the NFL. Given Vanderbilt's relative proximity, the Titans probably have had ample opportunity to see Matthews perform in the person, and unless Tennessee surges up the standings and picks late in the first round, it likely will be in position to draft Matthews and add an impact receiver.

Another need that the Titans may need to address is getting future replacements for offensive tackles David Stewart and Michael Roos, who are both 31 years of age.

There are a couple guys who could fill this need in the first round of draft. Michigan left tackle Taylor Lewan has a mean streak about him that the Titans need on the offensive line, and ESPN's Todd McShay thinks Lewan is one of the better prospects in the entire draft.

Iowa's Brandon Scherff is another promising Big Ten tackle who could step in and help right away.

The Titans focused heavily on the offensive line last season, but the problems with run-blocking still don't seem to be fixed.

Notable 2014 Titans Free Agents
Alterraun VernerCB4 years24
Kenny BrittWR5 years25
Marc MarianiWR4 years26
Damian WilliamsWR4 years25
Michael OttoOT6 years30
Ropati PitoituaDE4 years28
Bernard PollardS8 years28
NFL Trade Rumors

Finally, you got impending free agent cornerback Alterraun Verner, who is currently having a breakout season with five interceptions. If the Titans aren't prepared to pay him a hefty contract, then they could end up having a major hole at cornerback heading into next season.

Oklahoma State corner Justin Gilbert is a possibility in the first round if Verner walks. Gilbert has a ton of speed, which also makes him potentially valuable as a return specialist. The Titans could be in serious need of a returner as concerns over Marc Mariani's durability persist.

What the Titans do later in the draft is really anybody's guess, but adding some depth in the secondary and along the defensive line looks like a safe bet at this point.