- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Tennessee Titans are one of the great mysteries of the first half of the first round of the NFL draft.
Picking at No. 11, they aren’t going to address their one clear-cut need -- running back.
They could go virtually any other direction, though three years after spending the No. 8 pick on quarterback Jake Locker, I do not envision them taking a quarterback.
So this week we’ll look at five possibilities for the Titans at No. 11, in no particular order.
UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr
The good: He’s an extremely athletic player with great potential. I’ve heard and read raves about his agility, balance and speed. While the Titans are now reasonably well stocked at outside linebacker for their new defensive front, they can use a young force. He’s connected to Titans linebacker coach Lou Spanos, who was defensive coordinator at UCLA.
The bad: He may not be physically equipped to be an every-down player from the start and will need some time to develop strength. Despite that athleticism, he will enter the league with questions about his abilities as a run defender and dropping into coverage. He has only played defense for a couple years.
Room for him: The Titans have veterans Shaun Phillips and Kamerion Wimbley as pass-rushing outside linebackers in their 3-4 and Derrick Morgan is expected to work as the position as well. Akeem Ayers is in line to be the primary presence on the strong side. So while the Titans could use a young guy and Barr would have potential to be a long-term force, there is not a huge current need. But OLB in a 3-4 is a position where teams like to have significant numbers.
How ESPN.com’s resident scout, Matt Williamson, sees him fitting with the Titans: "Barr has some similarities to Barkevious Mingo, who Titans defensive coordinator Ray Horton was associated with this time last year with the Browns. I am not a huge Barr believer and think he is far too much of a finesse player with limited defensive experience, which shows up in his recognition skills presently. But he does have upside, especially as a 3-4 OLB."
Positives from our scouting report: Rates as exceptional in height-weight-speed, intangibles and above average in instincts/recognition, range versus the run and third-down capabilities. “Ideal length and initial burst to gain edge. Flashes quick hands and can dip inside shoulder to turn the corner.”
Negatives from our scouting reports: Rates as average in production, durability, tackling and take-on skills, “Tends to throttle down prior to contact, rather than exploding through. Leaves his feet too often and misses too many attempted arm tackles.”
Likelihood in my eyes he’s available at No. 11: Very high.