Tennessee Titans' 2014 Draft: The Good, the Bad and the Baffling

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystMay 10, 2014

Tennessee Titans' 2014 Draft: The Good, the Bad and the Baffling

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    The Tennessee Titans entered the 2014 NFL draft in something of a pickle.

    After a 7-9 2013 season that led to the firing of head coach Mike Munchak, the Titans had plenty of needs on both sides of the football, especially given a change in defensive scheme and the departure of running back Chris Johnson in free agency.

    Unfortunately, the Titans also didn't have a ton of picks with which to fill those holes.

    Still, with the six picks the Titans did have, they once again bolstered the offensive front with Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan, added the running back they so badly needed and filled some holes up front.

    Here's a look back at the good, the bad and the baffling from the Titans' 2014 draft.

List of All 2014 Draft Selections

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    Before we begin the breakdowns, here's a quick look back at the six players drafted by the Tennessee Titans in 2014.


    Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan: Round 1, Pick 11 (11)

    Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington: Round 2, Pick 22 (54)

    DaQuan Jones, DT, Penn State: Round 4, Pick 12 (112)

    Marqueston Huff, CB, Wyoming: Round 4, Pick 22 (122)

    Avery Williamson, ILB, Kentucky: Round 5, Pick 11 (151)

    Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU: Round 6, Pick 2 (178)


The Good

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    With only six picks in 2014 and plenty of needs to address, the Titans badly needed to get the most bang for their buck with each selection in the draft.

    With these players at least, the Titans were successful in that regard:


    Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan: Round 1, Pick 11 (11)

    Yes, there were areas that were bigger "needs" for the Titans than tackle. Yes, there were "sexier" picks on the board, including a certain Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback.

    Still, in Michigan's Taylor Lewan, the Titans were able to get the top offensive lineman on some pundits' boards, a potential immediate starter and a player capable of manning both tackle spots.

    Remember, left tackle Michael Roos is well past 30, and free-agent acquisition Michael Oher looked a lot better in that Sandra Bullock flick than he has in the NFL.

    In a draft where the Titans can't afford mistakes (especially early), the safe call wasn't a bad one at all.


    Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington: Round 2, Pick 22 (54)

    With Chris Johnson now in New York, running back was certainly a position of need for the Titans. Shonn Greene is a serviceable back as part of a committee, but he isn't the sort of back a team wants to base its ground game on.

    It was a bit surprising to see the Titans be the first team to take a running back, and differing pundits had differing pecking orders at the position, but it's hard to argue against Washington's Bishop Sankey at least meriting consideration as the first player at his position off the board.

    The 5'10" 209-pounder, who topped 1,800 yards on the ground for the Huskies last year, is a "natural football player who is better than the sum of his parts," according to Rob Rang of CBS Sports.

    Rang compared Sankey to Giovani Bernard of the Cincinnati Bengals, and it's not hard to envision the Titans employing a committee attack similar to Cincinnati's a season ago.


    Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU: Round 6, Pick 2 (178)

    Make no mistake, there are plenty of question marks surrounding LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

    An inconsistent 2013 season in Baton Rouge that ended with a torn ACL. A failed drug test at February's combine, reportedly due to a diluted urine sample.

    However, Mettenberger is also a 6'5" signal-caller who threw for more than 3,000 yards last year, a player who Dane Brugler of CBS Sports said has "rocket arm strength and plus velocity to deliver frozen ropes."

    He was also far and away the best quarterback left on the board, and the Titans can "redshirt" Mettenberger this year while Jake Locker plays out the final year of his rookie deal.


The Bad

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    For a team with as many problems to address as the Titans, with as few picks as they possessed in the 2014 NFL draft, every "miss" is magnified.

    It's still early to say definitively that this player won't pan out, but it's fair to question the Titans' thinking in taking him where they did:


    Marqueston Huff, CB, Wyoming: Round 4, Pick 22 (122)

    Purely from a talent perspective, Wyoming defensive back Marqueston Huff is a solid pick, a 5'11", 196-pounder whom Rob Rang of CBS Sports ranked among the top five at his position while writing that he "looks the part of an NFL defensive back, showing a smooth build and solid, athletic frame."

    The issue is the position at which he's ranked..

    The majority of pundits, including Rang and the NFL Network analysts covering the draft live, predict that Huff will switch to free safety in the NFL, so this pick did nothing to address the void at corner left by Alterraun Verner's departure in free agency.

    With cornerbacks like Walt Aikens of Liberty and Pierre Desir of Lindenwood still available here, this pick was a "miss," at least from a need standpoint.

The Baffling

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    The old saying that "You can please some of the people all of the time, etc," certainly applies to the NFL draft.

    No matter the pick, there will people that love it. And hate it.

    Then there's picks like these, that just leave everyone saying "huhwhowhat?"


    Daquan Jones, DT, Penn State: Round 4, Pick 12 (112)

    On some level, this is kind of nitpicking.

    After all, with the Titans making the move to a 3-4 front in 2014 the team needed a beefeater to man the nose tackle spot, and at 322 pounds Jones would appear to qualify.

    Still, Jones played mainly three-technique with the Nittany Lions, so a move to the nose could be problematic, especially given that Jones "Will struggle with leverage and lacks ideal range," according to Dane Brugler of CBS Sports.

    The truly puzzling aspect of this pick, however, was that much like their AFC South counterparts in Houston, the Titans appeared to be pretending all is well under center in Nashville, eschewing the quarterback spot despite several options still being available.

    It isn't.


    Avery Williamson, ILB, Kentucky: Round 5, Pick 11 (151)

    The Titans still hadn't addressed the quarterback position at this point, but that horse has suffered enough. Besides, with the Titans moving to the 3-4, inside linebacker (especially larger, run-stuffing SILB types) was a priority for the Titans this year.

    In that regard, 6'1" 246-pound Avery Williamson of Kentucky was a good call.

    However, there were any number of other, better options available.

    Max Bullough of Michigan State was still on the board. So were Yawin Smallwood of Connecticut and Andrew Jackson of Western Kentucky.

    Bullough is more polished. Jackson and Smallwood have more athleticism and higher ceilings.

    The fact that the Titans needed help inside is only thing keeping this selection off the "bad" list.


    Gary Davenport is an NFL Analyst at Bleacher Report and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Gary on Twitter @IDPManor.