The Tennessee Titans had the 11th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Did they choose a QB to compete with the oft injured Jake Locker or replace the once dazzling Chris “CJ2K,” Johnson at running back. Ken Whisenhunt first year on the job as head coach along with the death of long time owner and longest tenured NFL team owner Bud Adams, presents many challenges for the Titans. The Titans were active in signing their own free agents, cutting some of their dead “wood” overpaid players and securing some excellent talent from the free agent pool.
Players signed in free agency:
- Dexter McCluster WR, RB, from the Kansas City Chief–Primarily a wide receiver but also a running back and special teams return man. Great speed and flexibility at position Whisenhunt envisions him playing more at RB but that remains to be seen and this writer highly doubts.
- Al Woods DT, from the Pittsburgh Steelers–Should bolster the defensive line at tackle and should immediately shine in their 3-4 scheme as a run stuffer.
- Charlie Whitehurst QB, from the San Diego–Followed Whisenhunt from the San Diego Chargers to back up Jake Locker. Surprised many considering he replaces Ryan Fitzpatrick, arguably a better player but Whitehurst is a more accustomed to Whisenhunt’s offense. A good replacement if Locker winds up on the injured reserve again.
- Wesley Woodyard MLB, from the Denver Broncos–Primarily used as nickel back linebacker in Denver, Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton will use him in situational times if a game. A pretty expensive player considering he won’t be on the field more than 40% of the time. Not a good run tackling defender so not sure if it was a wise move considering a veteran player, Paris Lenon took the starting spot from him in Denver last year. Only time will tell.
- Michael Oher OT, from the Baltimore Raven–Not sure what to make of this signing other than they overpaid for a player that had serious issues in Baltimore. Scares me to think that 4 years, $20 million is the going rate for a player who hasn’t “figured it out yet.” Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome has a nose for talent and he knows when to cut bait. This will be a clear case of a player busting out and a team overpaying for a right tackle.
Losing CJ2K and Alterraun Verner at CB and the injury of Jake Locker would suggest the Titans concentrate their draft at these positions, but that didn’t happen exactly.
2014 NFL Draft
Taylor Lewan OT Michigan Round 1 Pick #11
With Michael Roos play at OT leaving much to be desired, Titans use their first pick of the draft on this highly ranked Offensive Tackle. Overlooking the legal issue surrounding Taylor, he is a great pick because Roos is playing out his final year of his contract. Maturity level; is the only question. He is a top notch talent if he stays out of trouble, The Titans have their OT for the next 7 years.
Bishop Sankey RB Washington Round 2 Pick #22
An excellent value pick getting a top rated running back at overall #54 in the draft. He has all the tools to easily replace C2K and complement Shonn Greene and Dexter McCluster in the backfield.
DaQuan Jones DT Penn State Round 4 Pick #12
With this pick and the lack of a superstar edge rusher, we might see a defensive scheme change to take advantage of their players talent. 6’4″ 320 pounder bull rusher with technique. Easily sheds blocks and collapses the pocket. Problem with DaQuan seems to be motivation and hustle. Can be an asset if he embraces a work ethic on and off the field and fits nicely as a one technique 4-3 or a five technique 3-4 player.
Marqueston Huff Free Safety Wyoming Round 4 Pick #22
An often times lazy technique player with small hands and average ball awareness. Speedy, running a sub 4.5 at the NFL Combine and an aggressive tackler but with poor technique. A definite project for the Titans and Huff needs a patient secondary coach to get all the talent to come to the surface. Could be transitioned to take over for the loss of Alterraun Verner in free agency at Cornerback. Which looks to be the case as they didn’t draft any CBs. Look for Huff to be the Titans starting CB in 2014.
Avery Williamson ILB Kentucky Round 5 Pick #11
Suited to play inside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme. Good natural ability with a work ethic with a sound understanding of the game and the position. Could be an ideal candidate to transition to Strong Safety as he has the ability to play like a hybrid defensive back and inside linebacker. Has an issue getting away from a block and could be used in the nickel patrolling the middle.
Zach Mettenberger QB LSU Round 6 Pick #2
Drafted to be a third string QB behind Locker and Whitehurst, Mettenberger will have plenty of time getting up to speed on the NFL defensive packages. Coming off a college injury and not fully healed, found Mettenberger fall as a highly desired prospect to a 6th rounder. A low risk, high reward draft pick by Tennessee that Whisenhunt can work with considering Mettenberger is your typical strong arm, pocket passer. Needs some work seeing the field and has to work on his mechanics and shorten his release. His ACL injury is still suspect and his coming in out of shape and overweight in college. If they can clean up his delivery, take his blinders off and build his confidence, Mettenberger might be a starter one day, if he works hard and the stars all align in his favor. Personally, I think he is a career back up, and a short career at that.
Analysis and overall draft grade
Overall, The Titans had an ok draft. Taylor Lewan will be a big player for them as will Bishop Sankey. The rest are all mediocre talent with a chance to become everyday players. Some might not even make the 45 man roster on Sunday.
B minus– The Titans really needed to step up and get a replacement at CB. I understand their thinking on drafting Sankey, but with the devaluation of the running back position, they should have chosen a CB in the second round and got their RB later or tried to trade for one before the season began since Robert Turbin and a few others may be soon available.
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