Tennessee Titans: Power Ranking Top Choices in 1st Round of NFL Draft
The Titans have the 11th overall pick, and that pick will give us a strong idea of which way Ken Whisenhunt wants to take his new team.
Plenty of possibilities will be available at the 11th overall pick, and here are the top-ten choices for the Titans.
No. 10: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama
Even though the safety position isn't a glaring need for the Titans right now, drafting the top-rated safety in the draft wouldn't be a terrible pick.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is a guy who could come in as an instant starter and make an impact on the defense. He's solid in coverage and is also reliable in stopping the run, according to Rob Rang of CBSSports.com.
If some of the Titans' top choices fall off the board before their 11th pick, then Clinton-Dix isn't a bad idea. We still don't know if the Titans will be able to retain Bernard Pollard, so that's a potential need that could arise.
No. 9: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
There's only one quarterback I could see the Titans taking at 11th overall that will still be on the board, and that quarterback is Derek Carr.
Carr had a very impressive Senior Bowl, according to NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com. That strong outing should give him a shot at getting taken in the first round.
What Carr brings to the table is a very strong arm to go along with great pocket awareness. He's also a high-character guy who seems to have a high ceiling.
The Titans can't afford to reach too far for a quarterback at 11th overall because they have too many other glaring needs that can't be ignored. Carr is the only quarterback who might make sense, and that's only if the Titans decide that Jake Locker just isn't the clear-cut answer anymore.
No. 8: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
The Titans still have to be thinking about improving their pass rush for next season, and they must address that need early in the draft.
There will be several promising pass-rushers available at 11th overall, and Kony Ealy should be one of them.
Ealy has some crazy athleticism and speed off the edge, something the Titans desperately need. He's a guy who could come in and make an instant impact as a rookie, replacing a likely departed Kamerion Wimbley.
If the Titans choose to go with a defensive end, Ealy is one of the top choices at the position.
No. 7: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
With David Stewart likely not returning, the Titans are going to have a need at offensive tackle. There are a handful of promising prospects that the Titans will have to choose from in the first round.
Taylor Lewan is a guy who relies on the ever-important intimidation factor in his blocking, according to a scouting report from Dan Kadar of SBNation.com.
The Titans drafted one offensive lineman that fit that mold last year, when they took center Brian Schwenke. Stocking their offensive line full of guys with a mean streak could have a positive effect on the entire offense.
Lewan has exceptional strength to be a strong pass-blocker. His only real weakness is his quickness. He can improve on that in the NFL with the right coaching. This would not be a bad pick at all for the Titans if a few other offensive tackles fall off the board early.
No.6: Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
Dee Ford probably improved his draft stock more than any other Senior Bowl participant with his two sacks and MVP honors.
The Titans need to add another pass-rusher to the mix next season, whether it's on the defensive line or at linebacker.
Ford is the best choice for the Titans if they choose to go defensive end or pass-rushing outside linebacker with their first-round pick. One thing to remember about Ford is that he's really more of an outside 'backer than he is a defensive end. His size doesn't really lend itself to being a big-time DE.
What it does say about him is that he's versatile and will give a defense options on how to use him effectively.
It may be somewhat of a reach if the Titans were to take him this high up in the draft. If many of the Titans' other choices are taken, then Ford wouldn't be a reach by any stretch of the imagination.
No. 5: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
An even better option for the Titans at offensive tackle might be Auburn's Greg Robinson. He's really surged up the draft boards after a 2013 season that saw his team go the BCS National Championship Game.
According to Chase Goodbread of NFL.com, Robinson got a great review from an NFL scout who noted that the big left tackle is blessed with an excellent blend of athleticism and strength.
This would be smart pick for the Titans to replace David Stewart and beef up the offensive line even more with some young talent. The Titans are never going to completely fix the quarterback situation until they solidify the offensive line.
No. 4: Kyle Van Noy, OLB, Brigham Young
Kyle Van Noy is one of the most balanced linebackers in this draft class, and his instincts are what really set him apart, according to Rob Rang of CBSSports.com.
The Titans are definitely back in the market for a talented outside linebacker to be added to their new defensive system that they're employing under defensive coordinator Ray Horton.
Van Noy has to fine tune his game a little bit, but his reaction skills give him a great foundation heading to the next level. He could end up being the second-best option for the Titans at linebacker.
This would be wise pick for the Titans, and Van Noy will more than likely be there for the taking when they are on the clock.
No. 3: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Here is another pass-rushing prospect who would fit a big need for the Titans.
Khalil Mack is a guy who has unquestionable skills to wreak havoc in the backfield. If you can get past the fact that he played in a weak conference, then Mack becomes a very intriguing possibility for the Titans.
You also can't forget that Mack, even though he wasn't going up against particularly the best competition, did have to deal with plenty of double-teams. Despite that obstacle, Mack still put up the production.
Nolan Nawrocki's scouting report on Mack has the linebacker prospect looking the part of a great performer at the next level.
It's hard to argue that the Titans shouldn't go linebacker with their first pick of the draft, and that linebacker has to have the pass-rushing abilities necessary to make an immediate impact on the Titans defense.
Mack should be available if the Titans want to pull the trigger and add a major component to their improving defense.
No. 2: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
This is where we get down to the meat and potatoes for the Titans.
If they can land an elite offensive tackle prospect like Jake Matthews, they will have a very successful first round. It would mark the second straight year that the Titans arguably got the best offensive lineman in the draft, after having taken Chance Warmack with last year's first-round pick.
Whether Matthews slips to the Titans is all up for debate. After all, Matthews is widely considered the top offensive tackle prospect in a class deep at the position. A report from NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks on NFL.com has Matthews as the leader of this talented group.
Matthews would be a likely replacement to David Stewart, who is not expected to return.
With a little bit of luck falling on the side of the Titans on draft day, they'll have a great opportunity to beef up their offensive line with a fairly safe pick.
No. 1: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
So who could possibly top Jake Matthews as a safe first-round pick for Tennessee?
How about the best linebacker in the country.
Barr is still projected to go to the Titans in Rob Rang's latest mock draft on CBSSports.com. It's not a foregone conclusion that Barr slips out of the top ten on draft day, but the Titans would be hard pressed to pass him up if he were available when they selected at No. 11 overall.
The Titans would be getting a guy who has an undeniable motor and freakish ability to make plays in the open field. He's extremely balanced and just needs to keep improving in pass coverage. His value in every other area would far out-weigh his room for improvement in guarding against the pass.
A recent report from Dan Greenspan of NFL.com included glowing reviews from Jim Mora. The UCLA head coach may be a little biased, but given Mora's coaching background at the NFL level, his review of Barr is still something to take into account.
Barr would the best choice for the Titans when they make their first pick under new head coach Ken Whisenhunt.