Tennessee Titans Round 1 Big Board Ahead of the Combine

Chad Minton@@chad_mintonCorrespondent IFebruary 18, 2014

Jake Matthews should be towards the top of the Titans' list.
Jake Matthews should be towards the top of the Titans' list.Associated Press

With the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine just days away, the Tennessee Titans have to start sorting out what they're going to do with their 11th overall pick in the NFL draft.

The current positional needs for the Titans remain to be primarily at linebacker and defensive line. However, there are other directions that the Titans could decide to go in.

Here is the current 1st round big board for the Titans.


25. Aaron Donald (DT, Pittsburgh): A lot of progress was made by Donald at the Senior Bowl, per a report from Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com. However, he might be undersized for the next level. There are too many promising prospects ahead of Donald for the Titans to really make that leap so high up in the draft.


24. Marqise Lee (WR, Southern California): Yes, it's true that the Titans aren't desperate for another wide receiver right now. However, Lee is an explosive player who would certainly make this Titans offense more vertical for head coach Ken Whisenhunt. He's way down their big board, but don't forget about Lee.


23. Calvin Pryor (FS, Louisville): You're safe to bet against the Titans selecting Calvin Pryor. With that said, Pryor offers appeal at both safety and cornerback, according to a piece written by Rob Hoff of Yahoo! Sports. He's a safety who offers the hard-hitting ability that you love to see in free safeties. We still don't know what Michael Griffin's long-term future is with the Titans. Pryor's a major long shot, but he still is an interesting prospect.


22. Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson): It's highly unlikely that Sammy Watkins falls out of the top 10, but the Titans have to be prepared for the unexpected. In the event that Watkins does slip for some reason, it would be an opportunity for the Titans to get a prospect anointed by CBSSports.com as the best receiver in the draft. Sometimes you can't pass up the best player on the board.


21. Eric Ebron (TE, North Carolina): The Titans have their No.1 guy at tight end with Delanie Walker, but who is going to step in and be a complementary type of guy to him? Craig Stevens slipped in a major way in 2013, and Taylor Thompson just isn't panning out. It would be a huge curveball if the Titans took Eric Ebron, but we've seen crazier things.


20. Ra'Shede Hageman (DT/DE, Minnesota): There will be higher rated prospects at this position when the Titans pick at 11th overall, but Hageman still deserves a spot on their big board. His versatility and physical frame will offer a great addition to whichever NFL defense ends up with him. It could be the Titans if they really like him.


19.  Darqueze Dennard (CB, Michigan State): A big part of that ferocious Michigan State defense from 2013 was Darqueze Dennard. The guy really showed up in the Big Ten title game against Ohio State, and he's a player to watch at the NFL Scouting Combine. He still has a little bit to prove if a team is going to take him high in the first round and feel comfortable about it. With Alterraun Verner's return a question mark in free agency, the Titans should be paying attention to the top cornerback prospects.


18. Antonio Richardson (OT, Tennessee): The offensive tackle position is an obvious need for the Titans with the probable departure of David Stewart. Michael Roos is also a free agent after this upcoming season. Antonio Richardson isn't the best offensive tackle in this draft class, but he does offer a lot of upside for whoever takes him. If offensive tackles drop off the board early, then the Titans might be inclined to reach for Richardson.


17. Zach Martin (T/G, Notre Dame): As NFLDraft Scout.com noted, Zach Martin was a huge beneficiary from the Senior Bow. Martin also showed great durability, versatility and progression in four seasons at Notre Dame. For those reasons, he's on the Titans' current big board for the first round. He would be a reach at 11th overall unless a ton of the Titans' first options fall off the board in the top 10 picks. It just shows how loaded this draft class is with offensive line prospects.


16. Stephon Tuitt (DT, Notre Dame): There is a ton of upside with Stephon Tuitt when it comes to physical tools. However, Tuitt's collegiate career was up and down at Notre Dame. He would be a major gamble for the Titans at 11th overall with what should be the availability of so many other promising prospects. The Titans may indeed choose to address their defensive line with their first pick, but Tuitt at No. 11 overall is a bit of a gamble.


15. Cyrus Kouandjio ( OT, Alabama): To really no one's surprise, the Crimson Tide have a ton of stud prospects in this draft class. Cyrus Kouandjio is one of them at offensive tackle. He's very athletic, but has plenty of room for improvement as well. Rob Rang's scouting report of the big tackle compares him to D.J. Fluker of the San Diego Chargers, another former Alabama star lineman who was ironically drafted 11th overall last season. The Titans have the 11th pick this season, and it wouldn't be huge shocker if they took Kouandjio over a few of the other top offensive tackles in the draft class.


14. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (FS, Alabama): The only way the Titans take a safety with their first pick is if they decide that for some reason Clinton-Dix is the best player available. Safety isn't a glaring need, even though Bernard Pollard's return is uncertain. Furthermore, a recent report from Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean also says that Michael Griffin is uncertain if he will return in 2014. That suddenly makes the safety position not so stable. Clinton-Dix has all of the makings to be a stud at the next level.


13. Timmy Jernigan (DT, Florida State):  The size of Jernigan is the only thing holding him back from being much higher on draft boards. Nolan Nawrocki's scouting report on NFL.com has him as an ideal nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme, which the Titans could end up changing to in 2014. 


12. Louis Nix III (DT, Notre Dame): If the Titans want to add some size to their defensive line then Nix would be a great addition. This guy does an excellent job at eating up space in defending against the run. It wouldn't be that big of a reach if the Titans select him at 11th overall.


11. Derek Carr (QB, Fresno State): The only quarterback who would still be available and worth the risk at No. 11 overall is Carr. According to Dan Kadar of SB Nation, Carr had a great Senior Bowl outing, one that showcased his powerful arm. Who knows what the Titans are thinking about in regards to their quarterback situation. It's really anybody's guess. If they want a quarterback, Carr is the guy to take assuming that Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater don't get passed over by teams desperate for a quarterback.


10. Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma State): The raw speed of Gilbert makes him an intriguing prospect for any NFL defense. If the Titans end up losing Alterraun Verner to free agency, then Gilbert would be a solid replacement. Gilbert really surged up the draft boards in 2013 thanks to some terrific production. His kick returning abilities raises his value even more. It would be a surprising pick for the Titans, but a smart one if Verner ends up leaving.


9. Kony Ealy (DE, Missouri): The Titans have been searching for that premiere pass rusher at defensive end for several years now. Derrick Morgan seems to be coming along, but the Titans are still thin at the position. Kony Ealy has crazy speed and initial quickness, so if the Titans want to add a blazing fast defensive end to their arsenal, then Ealy is a great choice.


8. Greg Robinson (OT, Auburn): Few offensive tackles in this draft class are as battle tested as Robinson, who handled all of the speed-rushers the SEC had to offer. Robinson has surged up draft boards as Auburn made their improbable run to the national title game. He may be a bit of a gamble unless a few other offensive tackles are taken off the board before the Titans get on the clock. SB Nation's Matthew Fairburn observed that, even though you can't question his run-blocking abilities, Robinson's pass-blocking leaves something to be desired. Still, he remains a decent option for the Titans, if only to help improve their running game in 2014.


7. Dee Ford (DE, Auburn): Another product out of Auburn that should be on the Titans big board is Dee Ford. Ford made the most out of a Senior Bowl appearance that helped propel him to his current late-first-round draft status. NFL.com analyst Charles Davis sees Ford best utilized as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Ford may be just what the Titans are looking for. 


6. C.J. Mosley (MLB, Alabama): Perhaps the best all-around linebacker in the draft class, but does Mosley really fit the specific need that the Titans have at the position? They need edge-rushers more than they do an anchor in the middle of the field. It's not a knock on Mosley. I still think Colin McCarthy has a chance to make a return to the starting lineup in 2014. However, there's no denying Mosley's high ceiling. If the Titans do take him, they would be a getting balanced linebacker who should make an immediate impact.


5. Taylor Lewan (OT, Michigan): If the Titans want to add another offensive lineman with a mean streak, then Taylor Lewan is the best choice. He had a very productive collegiate career at Michigan and should be there for the taking if the Titans want him. ESPN's Pat Yasinskas has Lewan as a guy who could really elevate his stock with a strong showing at the NFL Scouting Combine. If he performs well in Indianapolis, then the Titans may have their guy at 11th overall.


4. Kyle Van Noy (OLB, BYU): Look for Van Noy to almost certainly be around when the Titans make their first pick. He's a guy that has superb field vision and also has excellent intangibles. If a couple other linebackers fall off the board early, he's a great choice for the Titans. It's very possible that it unfolds that way if the Titans are married to getting a linebacker in the first round.


3. Jake Matthews (OT, Texas A&M): Despite the surge of other offensive tackle prospects, Matthews is still the safest pick in this deep class of offensive tackles. He's the son of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews. The most recent mock draft from Fairburn of SB Nation has the Titans making an "easy choice" with Matthews at No. 11 overall. He would be an instant replacement to the departed David Stewart. It comes down to what's most important for the Titans right now—solidifying the offensive line or adding more to the pass rush.


2. Khalil Mack (OLB, Buffalo): Maybe the best pass-rusher in this draft class is Khalil Mack of the University of Buffalo. Sure, he didn't play against SEC talent every week, but still, it's hard to find a downside with him. He would fit perfectly into the 3-4 scheme the Titans are wanting to implement under new defensive coordinator Ray Horton. For the Titans to improve into a playoff team, their defense has to return to being an intimidating unit. Mack would be just the solution to that problem.  


1. Anthony Barr (OLB, UCLA): The offensive line may need some work, but it doesn't trump the team's need to build its defense into an elite one. Just look at the success of the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers to understand how important a strong defense is. The Titans can grind out wins if their defense becomes elite. Anthony Barr is a guy around whom the Titans can continue to build their defense.

He needs to improve in defense against the run, something the Titans can live with if he's able to step in right away and make plays in the other team's backfield. Barr has to be Tennessee's top choice if he's available.