With the NFL Draft approaching, we’re taking a team-by-team look at the needs of each club. Up next is the one with the No. 11 overall selection, the Tennessee Titans. The Titans have six total picks, short a third-rounder from last year’s deal with the 49ers to move up to take wide receiver Justin Hunter.
Quarterback: Jake Locker’s probably down to his last chance with the Titans, to show development and to show he can stay on the field.
The fact he’s still working his way back from foot surgery complicates things as he’s not able to do much to make an impression on a new staff now.
New Titans boss Ken Whisenhunt is smart with his passers, putting them in good positions to succeed. He could probably do so with Locker, given enough time.
But time’s a question, as they face a decision on Locker’s fifth-year option before it’s time to make their first pick. And they might simply not want to take time away from the next guy, if they’re not convinced Locker has a chance to be the long-term answer.
As much as someone to take snaps and throw passes, the Titans need a bit of an identity, and if Locker’s not going to be the guy, they need to find another guy soon.
They’ve been linked to a lot of the second-tier quarterbacks such as Zach Mettenberger and Jimmy Garoppolo, but it shouldn’t be a surprise if they use their first-rounder on one.
Cornerback: Losing Alterraun Verner in free agency was a tough blow for the Titans, and left a hole opposite Jason McCourty.
At the moment, Blidi Wreh-Wilson would probably start, but they need an influx of talent there.
The re-tooling of the defense to suit Ray Horton’s 3-4 system has been done through free agency, filling the front seven with solid, capable players. But they need some guys in the back who can cover.
Running back: No, they did not want to pay Chris Johnson.
Yes, they still need to run the ball.
Getting rid of the expensive and explosive star left the Titans with Shonn Greene, and they desperately need someone to go with him.
While there’s probably not a player worth taking in the first round at the position, it’s one they need to address earlier rather than later, because with questions about the viability of their quarterback, they could use the stability the running game provides.
For several reasons, Auburn’s Tre Mason in the second seems like a natural fit, with the strength to handle a heavy workload, and the kind of big-play potential that would help fill the void left by Johnson.
Offensive line: They signed Michael Oher away from the Ravens to take the right tackle spot of David Stewart, but given their recent investments up front, you can’t rule it out.
They’re solid up the middle with last year’s free agent prize Andy Levitre and first-rounder Chance Warmack at guard, but adding some depth behind Michael Roos and Oher at tackle should be a priority.