With the NFL Draft approaching, we’re taking a team-by-team look at the needs of each club. Up next is the team with the No. 10 overall selection, the Tennessee Titans. They have four picks in the first 97, and could be in the mood to move after an aggressive offseason.
Guard: The Titans spent (or should we say overspent) to make a quick deal with Bills free agent Andy Levitre (six years, $46.8 million). That took the top free agent at the position off the market, and made a splash. But they needed to make moves here in bulk. They also signed free agents Robert Turner and Chris Spencer, but they’re far from finished.
If one of the top guards available — Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper — are there at 10, there’s a good chance the Titans could move in that direction, and solidify their line from the inside out (in the image of their head coach Mike Munchak).
Defensive end: The one spot the Titans didn’t address in free agency was the pass-rush. The Titans got better there over the second half of last season, and they feel OK about starters Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley. But it’s a group that lacks what you’d call quality depth, and they could make an early move for one of the many rushers in this class. They brought Dion Jordan in for a visit, and he figures to go well before 10, but he’d be a dangerous player there.
Wide receiver: They found a complementary runner in Shonn Greene, and replaced tight end defection Jared Cook with Delanie Walker, but their offense still lacks much of a dynamic quality outside. The Titans have receivers with potential, but a legitimate threat opposite Kendall Wright would make life easier for quarterback Jake Locker.
Safety: If not for their free agent splurge, this would have been atop the needs list. But a quick move for former Bills safety George Wilson, then the later acquisition of Bernard Pollard gives them a solid pair to work with Michael Griffin. But having some young legs behind them wouldn’t be the worst idea.
The Titans are in at once an enviable but tricky spot. They spent in free agency to cover most of the positions which would ordinarily be described as needs. And while it’s good that they have an owner who is willing to fling money at a problem, that also creates an expectation of immediate results. For all the money, however, it’s hard to say they’re significantly better at any spot than they were a year ago, with the exception of Levitre.
So much of the future of the franchise hinges on the development of Locker. If he progresses well, he has the opportunity to run a versatile offense, which is built on a foundation of running with Chris Johnson. That’s a good place to start, and takes some of the pressure off him.
But if Locker doesn’t start looking like a Top 10 pick, and soon, the rebuild in Tennessee is going to be significant, and will include coaches and players alike.