Jason La Canfora of NFL.com reports that there is a divide among the Titans’ coaching staff as to whom Tennessee should draft with the eighth overall selection.
The defensive coaches want Nick Fairley.
The offensive coaches want Andy Dalton.
Several league sources tell La Canfora that the Titans’ offensive staff considers Dalton “an elite prospect” with low bust potential, compared to the rest of the 2011 quarterback class. La Canfora “would not be surprised” if Tennessee drafted Dalton with the eighth pick in the draft.
The Titans’ defensive staff has obvious connections to Fairley because line coach Tracy Rocker performed the same role at Auburn last year. There isn’t an NFL team more familiar with Nick Fairley.
We suspect Fairley is higher on Tennessee’s draft board. But at the same time, quarterback is a more valuable position in the NFL, and the Titans don’t pick again until No. 39.
With one or two quarterback runs expected on the draft’s first day, the Titans may not have the luxury of waiting for theirs.
And if they truly believe Dalton is a franchise-caliber passer, there’s no sense in waiting for the second round, when Dalton easily could be off the board.