Tennessee Titans Mock Draft: Best-Case Scenarios for Every Pick
Prospect rankings are going to change a bit over the next few months. Players who weren't even on the radar will become surefire first-rounders, and surefire first-rounders will drop to Day 3 of the draft.
Still, big risers and free-fallers are the exception, not the rule, and most of the prospects will stay ranked close to where they are now throughout the process; so even this far out, mock drafts can be fairly reliable.
The Tennessee Titans are lucky to have a lot of their needs match up with deep, talented groups of prospects, so they could end up with some very good players, if they get lucky.
Of course, a new regime could mean a lot of new things when it comes to the draft, so anything could happen. Here is an ideal mock draft for the Titans as things stand now.
Round 1, Pick 11: Anthony Barr, OLB/DE, UCLA
Chances are that the Titans will be shifting to a defense that features a lot more 3-4 looks. After all, new head coach Ken Whisenhunt has run a 3-4 most of his career, as has new defensive coordinator Ray Horton and new linebackers coach Lou Spanos.
Because of that, the Titans are going to need a pass-rusher who can play standing up. Enter Anthony Barr.
He is a converted running back who immediately made a splash as a pass-rusher. In the last two years, he has put up some impressive numbers, registering 23 sacks, 41 tackles for loss, six defended passes, six hurries, 10 forced fumbles and a total of 148 tackles.
Spanos is also his former defensive coordinator, so the Titans will probably have at least one person in the organization who is vouching for him.
At 6'4" and 248 pounds, he's also that rare rush linebacker who has enough size to play defensive end when the Titans are in the 4-3.
Given the short amount of time he's played as a pass-rusher, Barr's upside is through the roof, and there's no player the Titans would be better off taking.
Round 2, Pick 10: Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee
With David Stewart likely to be cut, the Titans will need a new right tackle. With Michael Roos getting older, they'll also need a left tackle to take over for him sometime in the future.
Antonio Richardson could fill both roles.
He forced Dallas Thomas, a good tackle, to slide inside to guard in the 2012 season, and he's been great ever since. Richardson gave as good as he got both times he faced Jadeveon Clowney, surrendering one sack against Clowney in two meetings and nearly shutting him down completely in the most recent matchup.
He was also the left tackle on arguably the best offensive line in college football for the last two years and has prototypical measurements (6'6", 327 pounds), quick feet and great tape. The only reason he might be available in the second round is because of the fantastic tackle class.
Other great tackle prospects like Jake Matthews, Greg Robinson, Taylor Lewan and Cyrus Kouandjio could push Richardson as late as the Titans' second pick. If he does fall that far, he'd be a fantastic grab.
Round 4, Pick 12: James White, RB, Wisconsin
The Titans gave up their third-rounder for this year to get Justin Hunter in 2013.
James White was the most impressive running back at the Senior Bowl. He rushed for 62 yards and scored the North team's only touchdown and the only rushing touchdown of the game.
He also looked pretty good doing it. He led all players in rushing yards, yards per carry, receptions and rushing touchdowns.
White has played behind guys like Montee Ball and Melvin Gordon but still has had an impressive career. In 2013, he rushed for 1,444 yards and 13 touchdowns and averaged a pretty hefty 6.5 yards per carry.
He also catches the occasional pass, with 300 receiving yards and two touchdowns to add to his totals. He's a short, powerful running back, which may look too similar to Shonn Greene, but he's surprisingly fast for a power runner.
He also will have an inside track to the Titans, who just picked up Wisconsin's offensive line coach Bob Bostad a few days ago. He'll certainly have a few nice things to say about White.
Round 5, Pick 11: Ben Gardner, DE, Stanford
The Titans don't have a real fit at 3-4 defensive end. Lavar Edwards is built perfectly for the position, but he may not be ready to start. Derrick Morgan and Karl Klug could play the position but aren't ideally suited for it. Even if they were, the Titans need more depth.
Ben Gardner might be just what the doctor ordered. After he went down with an injury, he lost some momentum, but for a while, he was playing every bit as well as his teammate Trent Murphy.
In nine games, he accumulated 7.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, eight hurries and a forced fumble. He wasn't as good against the run as the Titans would probably like, but for a fifth-rounder, he's a steal.
At 6'4" and 277 pounds, he's also the right size to play either a 4-3 defensive end or, more importantly, a 3-4 defensive end. Getting both Gardner and Barr in the draft would give the Titans pass rush an instant and much-needed boost.
Round 6, Pick 10: Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina
Wide receiver may not seem like a position that the Titans need to spend a draft pick on, but with only four receivers under contract in 2014, it's not out of the question.
If the Titans decide to use their free-agency money elsewhere, they might need to spend a mid- to late-round pick on a receiver to maintain depth at the position.
Furthermore, the Titans are decimated at kick returner. With Marc Mariani, Damian Williams and Leon Washington hitting free agency and Darius Reynaud already cut, the Titans don't have a regular kick returner on the roster.
Bruce Ellington, with his short stature (5'9", 196 pounds) and quickness, could be a solid kick and punt returner in the NFL. He did a little of both in 2013 but had a bit more experience returning in 2012, when he ran back 18 punts for 406 yards.
He's also a decent receiver, as he had 775 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in 2013. He could be a cheap, solid depth piece that would fill a big need on special teams.
Round 7, Pick 13: Kenny Ladler, S, Vanderbilt
When in doubt, go local. The Titans need to improve their safety depth. George Wilson is capable of taking over Bernard Pollard's starting role if the Titans can't sign a quality free-agent strong safety, but if that happens, then they need more backup options than just Daimion Stafford.
Kenny Ladler had a quality season for Vanderbilt, as the Commodores made their way to their third consecutive bowl game and their second consecutive victory.
Ladler is local, which is something fans always like, but he's also a ball hawk. In 2013, he snagged five interceptions, defended four more passes and forced five fumbles while also making a total of 91 tackles, including one for a loss.
He even picked off both Johnny Manziel and Mike Glennon, so as far as seventh-round picks go, he's about as good as they come.