The most urgent area of need for the Titans is, arguably, a premier pass-rusher. The switch to a more 3-4 hybrid defense appears likely to improve the play of linebackers Zach Brown and Kamerion Wimbley.
Akeem Ayers has been miscast as a 4-3 outside linebacker so far in his career, and the switch should help take him to the next level.
Wimbley was a quality 3-4 outside linebacker early in his career, before coming to Tennessee to play end. Allowing him to play at a position he has excelled at at this level of competition should be a boon.
Also in the mix is free-agent signee Shaun Phillips, who has made a living off getting to the quarterback—racking up 79.5 sacks in 10 seasons.
However, Phillips will be turning 33 in May and Wimbley is 30 going on 31 midway through the season. This draft appears to have just two clear-cut gems that can the rush the passer as 3-4 outside linebackers: Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr.
As the draft draws nearer, Barr has slipped down draft boards while Mack appears to be a lock to be taken in the top eight picks. Mack is the most coveted pass-rusher after Jadaveon Clowney.
In order for him to fall into the Titans laps, it would take a lot. Three quarterbacks and three offensive tackles would definitely need to be selected before the Titans pick.
The four remaining selections would have to fall under the "need" category rather than "want."
Here's one conceivable scenario:
HOU - Jadaveon Clowney
STL - Sammy Watkins
JAX - Blake Bortles
CLE - Johnny Manziel
- OAK - Greg Robinson
ATL - Jake Matthews
- T.B. - Mike Evans
- MIN - Teddy Bridgewater
BUF - Eric Ebron
DET - Justin Gilbert
Mack would be a perfect fit for Ray Horton's high-pressure, disguised blitzes defensive scheme. He is capable of playing any of the linebacker positions and has the size to put his hand down in a 4-3 front.