Tuesday, February 19, 2013
How Titans needs line up with draft talent
By Paul Kuharsky
No team in the AFC South has needs that align with the strengths of the draft any better than the Tennessee Titans.
Mike Munchak’s team needs help on the interior line, off the edge in the pass rush and at strong safety. Those positions are widely rated as strengths in the draft that will unfold at the end of April.
If the Titans can address at least one of those spots in free agency, they’ll buy themselves a little additional freedom in the draft to take the best player available instead of focusing on filling the biggest needs.
Mike Mayock of the NFL Network talked extensively with other media this week in a pre-combine conference call, and he simply raved about the draft’s top two guards -- Chance Warmack out of Alabama and Jonathan Cooper out of North Carolina.
“That's what (the Titans) need,” Mayock said. “To be honest with you, there are two beautiful players sitting there. I mean, Chance Warmack from Alabama is the best football player I saw on tape this year. And Jonathan Cooper from North Carolina is just a tiny notch behind him. As a matter of fact, Cooper's probably a better athlete.
“So if either of those players are on the board at 10, I'd jump all over them. I (couldn’t) care less about whether or not that's a position of value or not. Remember especially this year, if I had to list a top eight or 10 players, they'd probably be offensive linemen or defensive linemen. I'm not seeing some of those impact guys in some of the skill positions.”
I think it could boil down to two big questions for the Titans:
- How big is the gap between those two guards and the next best guy -- probably Kentucky’s Larry Warford -- compared to the gap between the sort of defense lineman they can get at No. 10 and the one that could be left for them in the second round?
- Munchak is a Pro Football Hall of Fame guard with another Hall of Fame lineman, Bruce Matthews, as his offensive line coach. They've said they intend to rebuild the line. Do they believe they need to do it with a player the caliber of Warmack or Cooper?
If the Titans are able to add a veteran like guard Andy Levitre or a defensive end like Cincinnati’s Michael Johnson it could change the Titans' needs and alter their draft strategy in a big way.
Of course if they wanted to add Levitre and Warmack, Chris Johnson and Jake Locker would probably feel OK with that.