2012 NFL Draft: Tennessee Titans' Picks
The deeper into the season the Titans go, the better the draft class of 2011 looks. Akeem Ayers and Colin McCarthy look like they'll be starting linebackers for years to come, Jake Locker is showing a lot of good things, and Jurrell Casey and Karl Klug are already the best defensive tackles on the team.
Still, the Titans have a lot of needs they'll have to address in the draft this year. So who will they be targeting among the 2012 class? Here are four guys in the first three rounds that I think the Titans will have their eyes on.
First Round: Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina
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Given the Titans' needs and who will be available in the middle of the first round, I think UNC's Zach Brown has to be at the top of their big board. They've had trouble with tackling along the edge, and a new weakside linebacker would help that need considerably.
The Titans will need a replacement for weakside linebacker Will Witherspoon by next season, and Zach Brown would be a considerable upgrade. Brown has accumulated 10 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and a couple of interceptions as well.
At 6'2" and 230 lbs, Brown is a little small, but he ought to be able to add another 10 pounds of muscle on an NFL workout routine.
With Akeem Ayers and Colin McCarthy entrenched at strongside and middle linebacker, respectively, the selection of Zach Brown would complete a young trio of linebackers who would grow and develop together into a formidable group.
First Round: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
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With Kenny Britt constantly injured and Damien Williams still struggling to be consistent, wide receiver is a big need for the Titans. If they want to address that need in the first round, Michael Floyd will likely be the best available.
Floyd has been a beast this year for Notre Dame, catching 87 balls for 1014 yards and seven touchdowns. He's also a big, physical receiver, standing 6'3" tall and weighing in at 224 lbs.
From a pure talent perspective, Floyd is on the same level as the University of South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery, but his off-the-field issues will scare some teams away. Still, he's the best available at a position of need.
I think Brown will be the Titans' first choice, but if he's gone, I think they're likely to take Floyd. He's too good to pass up.
First Round: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
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The Titans need some help at their interior offensive line and David DeCastro is one of the best guard prospects that has come around in years.
I still think he'd only be the third choice for the Titans because they don't draft linemen in the first round. The last time the Titans took an offensive linemen in the first round was in 1993.
Still, if Brown and Floyd are both gone, DeCastro is the best player that makes sense for the Titans. He's been flawless in pass protection for Andrew Luck this season and is a punishing run blocker who will open up holes for Chris Johnson all day.
With a new head coach who happened to be a first round interior linemen himself, the Titans may break with tradition and grab DeCastro in the first round anyway.
First Round: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
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Corner is not a need for the Titans. Cortland Finnegan is having a great year after a slightly off 2010, Devin McCourty has improved greatly, and Alterraun Verner is a great corner as well.
However, Finnegan will be a free agent after this season, and if the Titans don't re-sign him, then they will need someone new, and the corner class this year is so good that it'd be tough to pass on one even if their top choices were off-the-board.
Dennard is probably a better corner than his former teammate Prince Amukamara. He has no interceptions this season, but that's because quarterbacks tend to stay away from him.
If the Titans need a corner, then Dennard would be a great pickup.
Second Round: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
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If the Titans don't pick up Floyd in the first round, then they're likely to take a receiver in the second round, and Mohamed Sanu would likely be the best one available.
If the Titans expect Kenny Britt to continue as their No. 1 target, why not take his former teammate as their second option?
Sanu has a prototypical size at 6'2" and 215 lbs. and has been a beast this season. He has 100 receptions for 1011 yards and seven touchdowns for the Scarlet Knights.
He is also free of the off-the-field concerns that would come along with Michael Floyd, so he'd be a great pickup halfway into the second round.
Second Round: Michael Brewster, C, Ohio State
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The Titans could use an upgrade at center as well, and Brewster would be a good one.
Brewster started the year as the top center prospect in the country, but he has slipped a bit. He's still, however, a standout center for the Buckeyes.
At 6'5" and 305 lbs., Brewster is big enough to start immediately and has beaten many of the defensive tackles he has been paired up against.
Eugene Amano hasn't been great at center, but he might still be serviceable at left guard. Selecting Brewster would allow the Titans to move Amano back to left guard if they need to and fix both positions in one go.
Second Round: Danny Trevathan, OLB, Kentucky
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If the need for weakside linebacker isn't addressed in the first round, it could be fixed in the second with the selection of the standout Kentucky product.
Trevathan is a tackling machine with 136 total tackles, including three sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss and four interceptions. Not too shabby.
He's listed as 6'1" and 235 lbs., but he's probably a little bit lighter than that. If he can show up to the combine at that weight or only a little smaller, it won't hurt his draft stock. He'd be a perfect fit for the Titans.
Second Round: Mark Barron, SS, Alabama
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Chris Hope has been one of the worst starters on the Titans' defense for a couple of years now, and both he and Jordan Babineaux will be free agents by the season's end.
Mark Barron is the best strong safety in the draft, and if he was available in the second round, he'd be a steal. Given the depth of the class of corners and wide receivers, I wouldn't be surprised if enough teams passed on Barron for him to fall to the Titans.
Depending on who they'd selected in the first round and who else was available, Barron could be the pick.
Third Round: William Vlachos, C, Alabama
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Another Alabama kid. The Titans will take an interior linemen early in the draft, one way or another.
If they address the defense and wide receiver positions in the first two rounds, I think they'll take a center or guard in the third round if they can.
Outside of Wisconsin's Peter Konz and Ohio State's Michael Brewster, William Vlachos is the best center prospect in the draft. He has been great at opening up holes for Trent Richardson and gets to practice against the best defensive front in college football, so he'll be used to tough competition.
He'd be a fantastic fit for the Titans.
Third Round: LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
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This pick only makes sense if the Titans cut ties with Chris Johnson. If CJ2K doesn't return to being an elite player by the end of the season, they might look to trade him for whatever value they can get. If they do, then they'll need another speedy running back to replace him.
LaMichael James will be one of the fastest players in the draft, and would be a great replacement for Chris Johnson if it came to that.
In 2010, James led the nation in rushing yards with 1731. This season, he's put up 1285 and 13 touchdowns as well.
If the Titans get rid of Johnson, and LaMichael James is available when the Titans are selecting, you can bet he'll be the pick.
Third Round: T.Y. Hilton, WR, FIU
After the success of guys like Pierre Garcon, small school receivers get a lot more attention nowadays, and T.Y. Hilton is one of the best small school guys out there.
He's a little small at 5'10" and 183 lbs., but he's as quick as lightning and has been pretty productive so far, catching 61 passes for 934 yards and six touchdowns.
With Damien Williams looking decent on the field now, the Titans could decide that the need at receiver isn't that critical. Furthermore, with the depth of the wide receiver class this season, it may make more sense to take a guy later in the draft.
Third Round: Rokevious Watkins, OG, South Carolina
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Leroy Harris has been pretty terrible this season and Jake Scott is getting older, so the Titans need a guard upgrade soon.
Watkins is a monster guard at 6'4" and a honking 340 lbs. He may need to slim up a little to get quicker, but he has bulk to spare. Even if he loses quite a bit of weight to gain some speed, he'll have great size for a guard.
He's also a great run blocker. You may have heard of Marcus Lattimore.
Taking Watkins in the middle of the third round might be a bit of a reach right now, but if he performs well at the combine, it would be a fine pick.