Tennessee Titans Mock Draft: 7-Round Predictions, Post-Combine
The NFL Scouting Combine came and went over the past few days, painting a clearer picture of what incoming prospects are capable of and their personalities.
Tennessee Titans scouts will have had the opportunity to discuss what the coaching staff is looking for talent-wise and adjust their scouting reports and pick projections accordingly.
What we've learned from the combine is that there is a lot of depth at several positions of need for the Titans. Linebacker and offensive tackle are two positions in particular that are deep this year.
Now that they've had the chance to meet the incoming prospects face to face and see them in action, let's take a look at how the draft might go for the Titans.
First Round: Anthony Barr
The growing consensus seems to be that Anthony Barr to the Titans is a lock when the 11th overall pick of the draft rolls around.
The hiring of Ray Horton will bring the incorporation of a 3-4 defensive front, and the Titans are in need of help when it comes to rushing the passer.
Akeem Ayers has proven himself to be a strong run defender who is adept at rushing the passer and should improve as an outside linebacker in the 3-4. Zach Brown has the size and speed to be a natural inside linebacker for Horton's defense.
There's also a strong crop of inside linebackers that are set to be free agents this offseason. Karlos Dansby, Brandon Spikes, Donald Butler and Daryl Smith will be available beginning March 11, while D'Qwell Jackson was released by the Browns and is available to sign with a team immediately.
All this makes the weak-side outside linebacker spot the final open position. Derrick Morgan has performed well over the past two seasons, but he doesn't appear to have the athleticism to handle the role. Barr is still a very raw talent, but he remains a dominant pass-rusher with rare combination of size, speed and power.
Second Round: Ra'Shede Hageman
The Titans have a defensive front seven that needs to become more scheme-versatile and Ra'Shede Hageman is a guy who fits the bill. He possesses rare size at 6'6", 311 pounds, but he's struggled with consistency and production throughout his college career.
His size, speed and athleticism will make him an option for teams for the first round, but ultimately, his lack of effort at times could knock him down the board.
One of Hageman's biggest issues is maintaining proper pad level. Too often, he exposes his chest to blockers and is taken out of a play. But when he plays with proper technique, he is a devastatingly dominant defensive lineman. There is a lot of boom-or-bust potential here, but it would be tough to resist Hageman's high ceiling this late in the draft.
With the right coaching, Hageman could be a steal and fits the mold of a hybrid defense talent in that he's fully capable of playing defensive tackle in a 4-3 front or end in the 3-4.
Third Round: None
In the 2013 draft, the Titans traded their third-round selection in this upcoming draft to the San Francisco 49ers, along with the 40th pick and the team's seventh-round selection of the 2013 draft, in exchange for the 49ers' second-round pick (34th overall).
The Titans then selected wide receiver Justin Hunter.
Fourth Round: Ja'Wuan James
David Stewart's level of play has dipped over the past couple of seasons, and when you combine that with him missing eight of the team's last 32 games and a $6.4 million price tag (according to OverTheCap.com), it doesn't appear likely he'll remain with the team through the offseason.
The Titans will be looking for a long-term solution at the position to fill the void and continue the overhaul of the offensive line that began last year.
While fellow tackle and former teammate Anthony "Tiny" Richardson garners more recognition, Ja'Wuan James has the talent to be a dominant starter in the NFL too. James is a 6'6" 311-pound monster who started every game of his collegiate career at the University of Tennessee. He will need to get in the weight room and work on his conditioning to succeed.
Having played in the SEC, James will be better prepared to deal with the increased speed of the NFL and could prove capable of starting immediately.
Fifth Round: Tyler Gaffney
Chris Johnson's time with the Titans appears to be running out, and the team is in need of a replacement. The Titans aren't in need of a workhorse, with Shonn Greene and Jackie Battle both already under contract.
Greene and Battle both run with physicality, and Stanford's Tyler Gaffney would fit the mold as another hard-nosed back. No one is quite sure what type of running back Ken Whisenhunt prefers, but he does employ a committee.
The Titans wanted to have a more physical ground game last offseason, and Gaffney helps them stay headed in that direction.
Sixth Round: Prince Shembo
At this stage in the draft, teams begin to look for talent that can provide depth. The Titans are in need of more talent at linebacker, and Notre Dame's Prince Shembo should fill the bill.
Shembo does carry some baggage due to accusations that he raped a student while attending Notre Dame; however, he appears to be cleared of any wrongdoing.
When it comes to the playing field, Shembo doesn't possess any special talent for rushing the quarterback, but he has performed well in the run game and would provide the team with another linebacker with enough size to step into a 3-4 defense.
Seventh Round: Alden Darby
With their final pick of the draft, the Titans should target a position group they consistently have success finding quality talent in.
They don't have much talent beyond George Wilson at strong safety that has shown the ability to perform. Alden Darby could slide in as a reserve behind Wilson and anyone else who may be added to the roster and given the opportunity to develop over time.