Thursday, April 23, 2009
Titans on draft value charts, draft prospects
By Paul Kuharsky
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
NASHVILLE -- A while back, a reader asked about whether the high salaries attached to the earliest picks of the draft had altered the draft value charts around the league. Teams use such charts, which assign a point value to every pick, to weigh and balance trades. GMs and coaches like to talk about how theirs are different, but the general construct is similar.
I asked Titans GM Mike Reinfeldt this week if he's got a new chart and if he thought most teams had altered theirs.
"Some of the trade charts have changed addressing the trade value of those top picks and it has gone down," he said. "What those picks were, it's not that way anymore. I think it's there is a burden associated with having those top 10 picks.
"...But you have two sets of charts -- depending on which way you're going, up or down, you pull out the appropriate one," he added as we laughed.
The early phone check-ins are usually 50-50 with teams talking about expecting to look to move up or back, Reinfeldt said. This time more people are talking about moving back.
Here are a few highlights from the Titans' pre-draft news conference Thursday:
- National supervisor of college scouting C.O. Brocato said USC linebacker Rey Maualuga can play inside or outside, and he thinks his college teammate Brian Cushing, an outside backer by trade, can play inside. He said he views the third USC linebacker, Clay Matthews, as strictly an outside guy.
- Brocato likes the crop of linebackers and tight ends but said running backs have fallen off.
- Scouting coordinator Blake Beddingfield said there "is a value on every player" and that the Titans hadn't taken anyone off the board. But he joined the laughter when asked if Florida receiver Percy Harvin was a seventh-rounder on the Titans' board.
- I believe the Titans will steer clear of Harvin because of the issues surrounding him. But director of college scouting for the Eastern region Mike Ackerley said Harvin is "the most explosive player in this draft by far," that he has no doubt Harvin can run routes and be a top receiver who can also work as a return man and that "he can play wherever he wants."
- Reinfeldt said a number of receivers have grades that would make them worthy of the 30th pick, and such grades mean those players should be able to be productive early.
- Weight gained by Hakeem Nicks after the combine was not a concern, Ackerley said. So much of a premium is put on 40 times at the combine, everyone drops weight for that, then gets bigger and stronger by the time pro days arrive.
- Malcolm Jenkins, Vontae Davis and Alphonso Smith have separated themselves into the first tier of corners, but there is not that much space between them and the next group, Ackerley said.
- Reinfeldt was coy when asked questions that were clearly aimed at getting him to show if the Titans have any real interest in trading for Anquan Boldin or Braylon Edwards. He said at some point the Titans would like to add a veteran receiver to the mix, which made it sound like it wasn't going to be a top name. He mentioned that after the draft some veterans would shake free. Asked if the team has to have another veteran wideout, he said: "It would be nice; I don't think it's a necessity."
- Brocato gave a rave review of Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman. "He's got everything you want for a quarterback," he said.