Tennessee Titans: 2017 NFL Draft Preview

Marshon Lattimore

If Robinson is fixed on taking care of his top two needs first, then cornerback Marshon Lattimore makes the most sense.

The Titans roller-coaster season ended with an injured quarterback and another playoff miss. But they reached nine wins for just the second time in eight years and now have two picks in the top 18 of the NFL Draft to help them get over the top.

Key additions

  • CB Logan Ryan
  • DT Sylvester Williams
  • KR Eric Weems
  • OL Tim Lelito
  • S Jonathan Cyprien
  • S Brynden Trawick

Key subtractions

  • CB Antwon Blake
  • CB Jason McCourty
  • ILB Sean Spence
  • OG Chance Warmack
  • OT Byron Bell
  • S Rashad Johnson
  • S Damion Stafford
  • TE Anthony Fasano
  • WR Kendall Wright

Priority needs (Offense)

WR…Tajae Sharpe has promise and Rishard Matthews is underrated, but this team needs a star to grow with QB Marcus Mariota. Andre Johnson (retired) and Kendall Wright (FA) might not have been key players for the Titans last season, but with both gone and Harry Douglas aging this position needs more depth as well.

TE/FB…With Anthony Fasano off to Miami the Titans need to find either a quality blocking fullback to pick up the slack or a good back-up tight end and eventual starter with blocking skills like a Michael Roberts from Toledo. Of course they could also say “what the hell” and take O.J. Howard early.

Priority needs (Defense)

CB…Logan Ryan takes over for the departed Jason McCourty, but that still leaves the Titans without a top No. 2. Promising second-year corner LeShaun Sims will fight for the part and the solid Brice McCain is no slouch. Still, if the Titans are serious about building a championship defense they’re going to have to add another quality player back here.

ILB…With Avery Williamson entering his contract year the Titans should look for his replacement. He’s not exactly a world-beater either.

OLB…Executive V.P. Jon Robinson has good cap space and he’s going to need it and more after this season for DaQuan Jones and Taylor Lewan as well as for Jurrell Casey and Derrick Morgan after next season. That means Brian Orakpo’s days are probably numbered. If that’s so, the prudent move would be to search for another linebacker at some point next week. Kevin Dodd, last year’s second-round pick who was taken as future insurance for this very reason is an intriguing talent, but he’s coming off a foot injury that basically redshirt most of his rookie season and he does have previous injury issues.

Final analysis

With the fifth pick in the draft the options are simple. If Robinson is fixed on taking care of his top two needs first, then cornerback Marshon Lattimore makes the most sense because it’s probably a bit too early to go with Howard. If Robinson is concerned about resigning DaQuan Jones or even Jurrell Casey for that matter, he could draft a player like Jonathan Allen or Solomon Thomas. And even though he has good depth at safety, Jamal Adams has special player traits that could make him too good to pass up. At 18, the options are more plentiful. My money is on either a linebacker or a receiver as long as Lattimore goes first. A position to watch on day three is a long-term back-up for Mariota. Now that the Titans have their franchise quarterback they need to add a good young No. 2 who can help them win games down the road if necessary. Matt Cassel will be 35 next season and I’m not even sure why he’s still around. Also, without a second-round pick the Titans are one of several teams who could be looking to trade down as long as they feel good about getting a cornerback they like before dropping too far.

Top first-round options (5th pick)

  • CB Marshon Lattimore
  • DE Solomon Thomas
  • DT Jonathan Allen
  • SS Jamal Adams
  • TE O.J. Howard

Top first-round options (18th pick)

  • CB Gareon Conley
  • CB Marlon Humphrey
  • CB Tre’Davious White
  • LB Reuben Foster
  • LB Haason Reddick
  • TE David Njoku
  • WR Corey Davis
  • WR John Ross
  • WR Mike Williams
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