2011 NFL Draft | Tennessee Titans Team Needs
The 2010 season began with high hopes for the Tennessee Titans.
In 2009, the team rebounded from an abysmal 0-6 start to finish the season 8-8, due in large part to replacing Kerry Collins with Vince Young after week six.
This past season did not go as planned, though, and the Titans finished 7-9. Young was benched, put on IR and essentially kicked off the team by head coach Jeff Fisher after a week 11 loss to the Washington Redskins.
On January 28th, the team parted ways with Fisher after 16 seasons on the job.
So, with the Titans apparently heading into rebuild mode, how should they approach the draft?
Biggest Needs: QB, G
If the Titans are unable to trade Vince Young, they’ll likely release him. So, clearly, the franchise has every intention of bringing in a new quarterback around which to rebuild.
It would make sense for Tennessee to try to bring in a veteran to start initially, such as Donovan McNabb or Marc Bulger. They’ll also be looking to solidify the position in the draft.
Blaine Gabbert, Cameron Newton, Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett are likely the top four prospects. After them, you have guys like Delaware’s Pat Devlin, TCU’s Andy Dalton, Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick and Florida State’s Christian Ponder.
Unless you boast a defense of similar caliber to the 2000 Baltimore Ravens or 2006 Chicago Bears, you need a top-tier quarterback to truly compete in today’s NFL. Needless to say, the Titans don’t have one.
Chris Johnson rushed for over 2,000 yards in 2009, but his production dipped a bit last season, when he ran for 1,364 yards.
While that was still the fourth-highest total in the league, blocking on the interior of the offensive line was a problem for the Titans. The guards, Leroy Harris and Jake Scott, are unspectacular, and they’re very inexperienced at center with Fernando Velasco and Kevin Matthews.
TCU’s Marcus Cannon, Florida’s Mike Pouncey, Penn State’s Stefen Wisniewski and Florida State’s Rodney Hudson are the top interior linemen in this class.
Biggest Needs: DE, CB, ILB
The Titans have a decent defensive line, but have lacked a big-time impact defensive end since Jevon Kearse rolled through Nashville about a decade ago (intentionally excluding his two forgettable seasons at the end of his career).
With the eighth overall pick, the Titans will have several options from which to choose. Should Clemson’s DaQuan Bowers somehow fall (he won’t), they’d be foolish not to jump all over him. Cal’s Cameron Jordan‘s stock has been on the rise, and he’s looking like a very well-rounded prospect. Adrian Clayborn may be another option.
Tennessee also needs help at corner. Alterraun Verner proved to be a pretty decent steal as a fourth-round rookie last season, but the Titans’ pass defense as a unit underperformed.
If Nebraska’s Prince Amukamara is somehow still available at No. 8, he’d be a perfect fit. However, that seems unlikely, and the Titans may have to find a corner deeper into the draft. Former Texas Longhorns Aaron Williams and Curtis Brown are talented players, as are Virginia’s Ras-I Dowling and Virginia Tech’s Rashad Carmichael.
Inside linebacker is also a need. Keith Bulluck has moved on, and they need a guy that can cover the field sideline-to-sideline and rack up tackles. Potential fits here are Mario Harvey, Martez Wilson, Alex Wujciak and Bruce Carter.