2011 NFL Draft: Tennessee Titans Are on the Clock with the Eighth Pick

Alex BarrettContributor IApril 12, 2011

The Titans sure won't be going after Mark Ingram ...
The Titans sure won't be going after Mark Ingram ...Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Tennessee Titans

2010 record: 6-10 (.375)

Team Needs: QB, DL, LB, OL

The Vince Young era in Tennessee is over. The Jeff Fisher era in Tennessee is over. Heralded is the rise of new head coach Mike Munchak and his completely revamped stable of coordinators and assistants.

The Titans have had a few up-and-down years over the past four seasons, having two losing campaigns, and two winning campaigns, including an early first-round ejection two seasons ago after starting the 2008 season with 10 straight wins.

In the offseason, team owner Bud Adams showed his age by flicking off crowds, and ultimately declaring he would either trade or release Young, who showed promise early in his career; of course, this promise did not come without plenty of drawbacks as Young was constantly in the news for his conduct.

Fisher's job appeared safe after Adams announced the team would part ways with the former Rookie of the Year QB, and then less than a week later he also announced they would be also be separating with one of the league's best coaches, and the longest tenured at that.

Fisher will for sure get opportunities elsewhere, as will Young, but Munchak and his newly assembled coaching staff is in a real pickle looking at the draft, where there is plenty of talent, but plenty of questions on when to reach for it.

Obviously, the QB answer doesn't lie with Kerry Collins, or second-year player Rusty Smith at the helm, so there is a definite need there, but for one of the league's most stingy defenses almost every season, they have to address defensive line and linebacker issues that saw the team drop from the top tier in the league to allowing nearly 30 points a game to opposing squads in five of their 10 losses last season.

With the top two "elite" quarterbacks presumably off the board by the Titans' No. 8 pick, (Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert), the wisest decision may be to shore up the D-line as long as there is an explosive player available that can help out right away.

The Titans should wait until their second pick, number 39 overall, to take a QB in the second tier that could develop into a prime-time player after having a year to sit behind Collins (assuming the team doesn't splash for a passer in free agency or on the trade market.)

There is no shortage of second-tier QBs in the draft this year: Ryan Mallet, Christian Ponder, Jake Locker and Andy Dalton just to name a few.

I believe the Titans couldn't be too upset if they happen to have DT Nick Fairley fall into their laps at number eight, and then seek to grab a passer in the second round. Fairley would be a great addition to a team that has lost Albert Haynesworth and Kyle Vanden Bosch over the past two seasons, helping to shore up a line that has no lack of talent, but no lack of past injuries either.

Of their 11 picks in the draft this year, seeing them move from the seventh pick in the second round back into the first round wouldn't be that odd of an occurrence, and if they think they can land a top-three defensive presence as well as move back in to get a top-five QB, it seems that the trigger has to be pulled.

Another option lies with the Washington Redskins at the 10th pick; if there is a QB they may be coveting still on the board, a trade with the Titans to move down to 10 wouldn't be a bad idea.

The 'Skins are looking to move QB Donovan McNabb, and the Titans would be in a great spot if they could acquire McNabb, their QB of the future in the second round, and only move back two spots in the draft.

The Titans also have Young to deal, to any team who thinks this whole situation is what he needed to mature into the athletic anomaly we all know he can be on the field.

Notable No. 8 picks in NFL history:

  • RB Larry Csonka, 1968
  • S Ronnie Lott, 1981
  • DL Sam Adams, 1995
  • OT Jordan Gross, 2003
  • LB Rolando McClain, 2010