10 NFL Draft Prospects Every Tennessee Titans Fan Should Know About
It's that time of year again: Teams have to start looking intently into the 2014 NFL Draft, which will be held in May.
For the Tennessee Titans, they have some tough decisions to make regarding what they're going to do in the first couple of rounds. After seeing how they did in 2013 with a 7-9 record, this team could just be a few key draft picks away from getting over the hump.
There are plenty of intriguing prospects on both offense and defense that could end up helping the Titans immediately.
Here are 10 prospects you should know about as a Titans fan.
C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
Drafting a defensive player from the University of Alabama is usually a pretty safe bet, and C.J. Mosely figures to be the best linebacker in this draft class.
Mosley is an excellent tackler and also has the ability to make smart decisions. If the Titans are losing faith in Colin McCarthy or Moise Fokou, then selecting Mosley makes a lot of sense at 11th overall.
The only thing Mosley really lacks at this point is the chance to develop a little bit at the next level, but he has all of the tools to end up being a star in the NFL.
If the Titans are going to ever get back to being a feared defense in the NFL, they have to add a few more pieces in the early rounds. Mosley would fit into that equation and is projected to go to the Titans in Rob Rang's mock draft on CBSSports.com.
With Zach Brown and Akeem Ayers lining up on the outside, this could turn into an elite group of linebackers if Mosley meets the expectations of scouting reports.
Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
The Titans struggled once again to develop a consistent pass rush in 2013.
Derrick Morgan, who was drafted in the first round back in 2010, seems to be on the rise. Outside of him, the Titans are pretty thin at defensive end and need to start developing another guy that can make a quick impact as a rookie.
Since the Titans will be picking 11th overall, they have a good shot at getting Stephon Tuitt to add some serious athleticism at defensive end.
Tuitt posted 18.5 sacks in his last two seasons with Notre Dame and would add another quick pass-rusher to a Titans defensive line that sorely needs it. He's also scouted by CBSSports.com as offering a lot of versatility to a defensive scheme.
The Titans finished in the bottom half of the NFL in total sacks with 36, and a good chunk of them came from the interior of the defensive line.
It wouldn't be a bad idea for the Titans to go defensive end here, and Tuitt will be the best available at 11th overall.
A.J. McCarron-QB, Alabama
A.J. McCarron may have finished 0-2 with Alabama, but you still can't discount all of the other great things he did as the starting quarterback. Somehow leading his team to two consecutive national titles despite playing against such a difficult schedule should be tops on that list of accomplishments.
Whichever team ends up with McCarron will be getting a guy that is already as battle tested as a college quarterback can get entering the NFL.
The Titans have to start prepping for the worst case scenario in 2014, which would be that Jake Locker continues to have the same problems he's had in his first three NFL seasons.
McCarron may not be NFL-ready just yet. However, he's a guy that can sit on the bench and come in if needed. He's extremely intelligent when it comes to reading defenses, and he's a pro-style quarterback that the Titans need to run their offense if Locker can't get it done.
There's a wide consensus on where McCarron could fall in the draft according to Chase Goodbread of NFL.com. Unless a team really shows a desire for McCarron in the 1st round, then the Titans will be able to wait until the 2nd round or later to nab their quarterback.
The quarterback situation isn't bad enough for the Titans to reach for another quarterback in the 1st round. They have other needs that need to be taken care of with that 11th overall pick, especially considering how many quarterbacks are available in this draft class.
Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
What if the Titans choose to wait until late in the draft to get a quarterback? No need to worry—this draft class is loaded with quarterback prospects.
The major concern with Aaron Murray is how he is going to recover from knee surgery. According to a report from CBSSports.com back in December, his recovery is going "extremely well." That's a good sign for NFL teams interested in getting a quarterback later in the draft.
There's still an opportunity for Murray to answer some of the critics in his pro day if he can make all of the necessary throws.
However, Murray does not have ideal size for the position at 6'1". He's a guy that has a ton of experience in pro-style offenses, but development at the next level would be key. He's by no means a Week 1 starter.
Shorter quarterbacks can still be successful in the NFL, and it wouldn't be an enormous gamble to take Murray in the fifth round or later.
Terrence Brooks, FS, Florida State
Terrence Brooks made the transition from cornerback to free safety prior to the 2012 season, and he has excelled in that transition for the most part.
The versatility of Brooks makes him worthy of a Day 2 draft selection, and NFL.com has the safety position as one of the top three needs for the Titans at this early stage.
You have to remember that Bernard Pollard is an impending free agent, and George Wilson is getting up there in years. The Titans needs another young, physical presence in the secondary to really make this defense a feared one in the coming years.
Brooks is a mid-round prospect mainly because of the limited action he saw at safety. His production did improve from 2012 to 2013, and he was a very underrated piece to the puzzle for the Seminoles winning the National Championship.
Brooks once being a cornerback gives him a huge upside in pass coverage, and he's pretty strong in run defense as well.
The Titans are just a few pieces away from becoming an elite defense in 2014, and a couple successful draft picks could get them to that next level.
De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
We've all come to know how electrifying De'Anthony Thomas is with his rare elusiveness, but will that translate to the NFL? Having more than 5,000 all-purpose yards at Oregon has to count for something.
The NFL is evolving into a game that is full of potent offenses. Just see what the Eagles did with their surprising run to the postseason.
Thomas probably goes somewhere on Day 2 of the draft because of his small frame that may not hold up in the NFL. However, he's worth the gamble for the Titans if they take him at the right time.
He's projected as a surprising sixth-round draft pick, according to NFLDraftScout.com. Falling somewhere in the middle makes more sense, and the Titans will have the opportunity to take him and add another big playmaker to their offense.
Having a weapon like Thomas to add another element to the passing game would be a huge asset to Jake Locker in 2014.
Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
If the Titans want to shoot for a more traditional running back, then Andre Williams would fit that need. Running back may not jump off the page as being a glaring need, but we still don't know what's going to happen with Chris Johnson.
A report from Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean says that Johnson isn't happy with the way he's been used in the offense. It's unclear if the new head coach will want any part of that drama heading into his first season.
Williams is a guy that seeks out contact and looks to always gain every yard that he can—kind of the opposite of what Johnson brings to the table. He's also got all of the production you could want, and even put up impressive numbers when he was a backup as an underclassman.
The main concern with Williams is durability, as he has had some problems with that in the past. However, he is a true workhorse that every NFL team looks for in their starting running back. He would be worth a hard look from the Titans in the third or fourth round. The Titans have to stay one step ahead of the storm that would come if Johnson doesn't return.
Wesley Johnson, OT, Vanderbilt
Having a reliable and durable offensive line is something you always want in an offensive line. It helps your entire offense build chemistry if the offensive line can stay healthy.
The track record for Wesley Johnson out of Vanderbilt spells out durability, as Johnson started 50 consecutive games after his start against Wake Forest in the 2013 season finale.
Johnson was able to achieve All-SEC First Team honors from the coaches, and that's another solid indicator that this guy will make a great offensive tackle at the next level.
A big reason why the Commodores were able to build a successful rushing attack over the past few seasons has been thanks to Johnson's strong play against some of the nation's best pass-rushers in the SEC.
The Titans are aging a bit at offensive tackle, so this would be a wise pick in the later rounds of the draft. He should be available for the taking at that point, according to WalterFootball.com.
James Gayle, DE, Virginia Tech
James Gayle played a big role in making Virginia Tech a very respected defense nationally. He has great power and quickness, despite his smaller frame.
At some point the Titans will need to grab a defensive end, and Gayle would be somewhat of a steal if they were to get him past the third round.
Yes, the Titans do have Derrick Morgan lining up on one side of the defensive line. He seems to be getting better every season, but there's about to be a major hole on the other side unless Ropati Pitoitua returns. The jury is still out on of Pitoitua is what the Titans need in a pass-rusher.
Gayle had a respectable senior season for the Hokies and is very worthy of a draft selection on Day 2. The only concern is adding more bulk, but he has the natural skills that give him a lot of upside.
Arthur Lynch, TE, Georgia
Assuming you can forget Arthur Lynch's rough outing in the Gator Bowl, he figures to be one of the better tight end prospects in this draft class.
Lynch's game is balanced as he can make an impact in run blocking, but also has good enough hands to make big catches in the middle of the field. Despite not being used a ton in the passing game, Lynch still managed five touchdown catches in 2013.
The Titans struggled to find any production at tight end outside of Delanie Walker, and the offense fell apart when he missed some time. They have to add some more depth here. Taylor Thompson doesn't seem to be panning out, and Craig Stevens was virtually invisible last season.