Tennessee Titans Day 2 2014 NFL Draft Primer
The Tennessee Titans passed on such quarterbacks as Johnny Manziel, Derek Carr and Teddy Bridgewater to address a position that isn't an immediate need. They took offensive tackle Taylor Lewan out of Michigan.
Even though the pick lacked excitement, it definitely addressed a need that could arise next offseason. Lewan is a very athletic offensive tackle with a mean streak that will translate well to the NFL. He will most likely end up being the eventual replacement to Michael Roos, or Michael Oher if he doesn't return after one season.
On the other hand, the picture hasn't gotten any clearer on what the Titans will do in the rest of the draft. Taking a quarterback in the second round has to be in serious play for the Titans at this point.
As suspenseful as the first round may have been, look for the second day of the draft to be even more exciting for the Titans.
Day 1 Recap and Analysis
This pick may baffle some people, but the patient person might see sense in this pick.
The Titans were looking ahead when they took Taylor Lewan to be the future at offensive tackle. Yes, the Titans have their two starters heading into this season with Michael Roos and Michael Oher. They may not have either one at this time next year, though.
There were players such as Darqueze Dennard, Kyle Fuller and even Johnny Manziel that could have fit other needs. The Titans may have been better suited to trade this pick to gain more picks. Maybe there weren't any takers for a trade.
In the end, this pick gives the Titans insurance at this position, They got arguably the best offensive tackle in the draft after getting possibly the best offensive lineman in the entire draft last year when they took Chance Warmack.
Lewan has a great mean streak and excellent athleticism for the position. He ran a 4.87 40-yard dash, per NFL.com.
The Titans are definitely building a formidable offensive line.
Now the Titans have to be aggressive on Day 2 of the draft and address the offensive side of the ball. A quarterback and running back will both be in play. There's no point in having a strong offensive line if you have nothing to protect.
Updated Needs for Titans
The Titans may have drafted some insurance by taking Taylor Lewan, but they still have needs at two vital positions: Quarterback and running back.
Both of these positions deserve strong consideration on Day 2 of the draft. The Titans have a good shot at several projected quarterbacks with their second-round pick.
Derek Carr is still a strong possibility, and it would be a very productive pick if he slips to the Titans at 42nd overall.
A need for a replacement to Chris Johnson is also in play on Day 2 of the draft. The draft class at running back is very deep, and the Titans will be able to decide from a large group of them which one fits their system best.
Taking a running back in the second round is probably a reach, but sometimes you have to reach to get the guy you really want. It will be tempting for the Titans to take a running back such as Jeremy Hill, Tre Mason or Carlos Hyde.
The Titans are currently absent of a third-round pick. It doesn't look like they're going to get that pick back unless they trade away their second-round pick. That wouldn't make any logical sense, so it will be interesting to see how the Titans use their second-round pick. A lot of options are on the table.
Top Day 2 Targets
Here's the current Titans draft big board heading into the second round:
1. Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
The Titans have the offensive line to protect their quarterback. Now they have to make sure they actually have a reliable quarterback to protect.
For all we know, Jake Locker will put up great numbers in 2014 and put this quarterback discussion to bed. With the track record for Locker not promising, the Titans have to go get the best quarterback on the board.
Derek Carr is hands down the best quarterback available after the first round of the draft. If he falls to the Titans, they have to take the strong arm of Carr.
Carr could sit behind Locker in 2014, and then the Titans can make a decision next year on who's the guy moving forward.
2. Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Even though the Titans do need a running back, they also need another pass-rusher. They missed out on Anthony Barr, but they can still get defensive end Kony Ealy.
Rob Rang of CBSSports.com has Ealy's athleticism as "jumping off the tape." The Titans need another guy like that rushing the passer in their new hybrid 3-4 defense.
The main defensive ends on the Titans roster are Derrick Morgan and Ropati Pitoitua. That just doesn't cut it.
Ealy would be a steal at the 42nd overall pick.
3. Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU
It may be a reach here, but the Titans can't be shy about getting the guy they want in the second round with no third-round pick available.
There's no telling what kind of talent will come off the board in the third round. It would leave the Titans in a bad place when they finally pick again on Day 3 of the draft.
Jeremy Hill is the best fit for the Titans out of the draft class. He may not be the best running back, but he's the best for the Titans. He has a great blend of power and speed. You just have to be willing to let go of some of his issues off the field.
4. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
If the Titans really want a quarterback in the second round, then A.J. McCarron is the next-best choice after Derek Carr.
Zach Mettenberger was originally the choice here. That should no longer be the case thanks to back issues and a diluted urine sample that has been reported by Josh Sanchez of SI.com.
The Titans can't afford to take a risk on another injury-prone quarterback. They have enough problems with Jake Locker.
This is why McCarron may fit in here. It may be a reach, but you have to fill the need while it presents itself to be filled. McCarron has great intangibles and would work behind Locker for at least a year. It would give the Titans a Plan B for the future at quarterback.
McCarron also has shown that his leadership qualities should earn him the opportunity to polish his game on an NFL roster. He's not a Week 1 starter in 2014.
This by no means should be their top choice in the second round. However, it may be their only choice that fills a need.
What Are the Experts Saying?
Nate Davis of USA Today: A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
They did not pick up the 2015 option on starting QB Jake Locker, and new coach Ken Whisenhunt's offense runs better with a more accurate passer anyway. McCarron completed 67% of his throws for the Crimson Tide and would seem to fit Whisenhunt's scheme well.
Can you imagine how many more "Roll Tide" chants will be going through the Nashville city limits if A.J. McCarron is drafted in the second round?
The Titans do need a quarterback badly at some point. Derek Carr should still be on the top of the list, but there's a good chance he'll be off the board within the nine picks before the Titans pick at 42nd overall.
McCarron brings solid leadership and a moderate arm. He would be a major project and a guy who would need plenty of time before being ready to take on the NFL as a starter. The Titans would almost be better off taking one of the prospects at running back before reaching here for McCarron.
WalterFootball.com: Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU
The Titans have gotten rid of Chris Johnson, who was signed by the Jets. Tennessee will obviously be searching for a new lead running back
You have to question if it would be a reach to take a running back this early. Especially considering the Titans have Shonn Greene and Dexter McCluster in the mix. You also can't forget about Jackie Battle and Leon Washington.
Jeremy Hill is the best fit out of all the running back for the Titans. He has great power, but also deceptive speed. If the Titans really feel they need a running back in this draft, the second round is probably their best bet at getting one that can make an immediate impact.
Matt Miller of Bleacher Report: Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice
After the pick of Lewan, this pick isn't logical anymore. The Titans have to address running back and quarterback before they address anything else.
A replacement of Alterraun Verner is a need, but not as a starter. The Titans already have two capable guys who can step in and compete for a starting role next season.
Depth does need to be added in the fifth round or later.
Predictions for Day 2
Titans will draft either a running back or quarterback
One of these positions is going to be addressed by the Titans in the second round. It's a matter of which one.
Both are important, but which one is more important? With the running back class being so deep, I think the Titans have to get their quarterback with their one pick in rounds two and three.
Derek Carr may or may not slip to when the Titans pick 10th in the second round. If he falls that far, it's a home run choice for the Titans. If he doesn't, then a running back could make more sense.
Carr falls off the board, Titans go with Jeremy Hill
The Houston Texans currently have the first pick of the second round, and they're definitely taking a quarterback. Derek Carr is the best quarterback left on the board, and the Texans will pull the trigger on him.
That leaves the Titans with quarterbacks like Zach Mettenberger, Jimmy Garoppolo, Tom Savage and A.J. McCarron to choose from.
If this happens, then the Titans will be better suited waiting until the fourth round to get a project quarterback like Aaron Murray. They'll have to keep their fingers crossed that Jake Locker bounces back in 2014 in a big way.
It's making more and more sense that the Titans go with a running back in the second round. Jeremy Hill makes the most sense. The Titans will be set at running back and offensive line with their first two picks.
Titans fail to get a third-round pick
The 11th overall pick that the Titans possessed was really the only bait they had at gaining more picks. I don't see them coming up with a trade scenario to gain a third-round pick, unless they trade away some later picks. That would be counterproductive.
It's somewhat of a failure that the Titans couldn't get a team to bite on their 11th pick. They're left in a tough situation with just five more picks left, and only one on the second day of the draft.
The third round will most likely be a boring one for Titans fans. They'll have to wait until the last day of the draft for the Titans to try to find some diamonds in the rough.
Updated Titans Mock Draft
Here's the latest mock draft after the Titans went with Taylor Lewan in the first round.
Round 2, 42nd Overall: Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU
The Titans address the offense once again by getting a replacement for Chris Johnson. However, Jeremy Hill is nowhere near the same type of running back as Johnson.
Hill relies on his power, but also has more speed than you may think. He'll be a nice complement to the other running backs on the Titans roster.
Round 4, 112th Overall: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
A quarterback of some sort absolutely has to be taken here if they don't get one in the second round.
Aaron Murray is a solid pick here. There's a good chance he'll be available for the Titans in the fourth round.
Unless Derek Carr slips to the Titans, then they're not getting their 2014 Week 1 starter in this draft. They'll have to draft a project. Murray is the perfect guy for this scenario. He offers great knowledge on how to play the position and put up great numbers against the best defenses college football has to offer.
Round 5, 151st Overall: Rashaad Reynolds, CB, Oregon State
Reynolds still makes sense here after the first round. The Titans need to add depth at cornerback at some point late in the draft.
Being undersized is the only major concern for Reynolds. He's physical and has a lot of potential to earn his way into starting role eventually. Gives the Titans plenty of options at cornerback.
Round 6, 186th Overall: A.C. Leonard, TE, Tennessee State
The Titans need another athletic tight end to help out Delanie Walker. He can't do it on his own like he did in 2013, even though he did have a solid first season in a Titans uniform.
Leonard offers a big frame and the ability to emerge as a hidden gem late in this draft.
Round 7, 228th Overall: Ken Bishop, DT, Northern Illinois
Adding depth is key in the final round of the draft. Bishop would come in and help as a rotational player to boost up the run defense and could easily become a future starter. He was a powerful force on defense for a successful Northern Illinois team in 2013.