Tennessee Titans 2013 NFL Draft: 10 Possible First Round Draft Targets
First Round Draft Targets for Tennessee Titans Include WR, DE, CB, LB, OG
How will that statement end? Will Titans fans follow it up with cheers or boos?
General manager Ruston Webster can choose from plenty of options. For the last two months, most fans have seemed to favor offensive guard Chance Warmack with a backup plan of offensive guard Jonathan Cooper. Those wishes barely shifted after the Titans signed Andy Levitre to a six-year, $46.8 million contract.
Due to multiple first and second-day signings in free agency, the Titans have given themselves much more flexibility with how they can use their pick. As of Mar. 14, this franchise needs a defensive end, cornerback and wide receiver. They could also use another wide receiver, especially if they don’t keep Nate Washington.
Should the Titans trade up? Should they stay put? Could they add more picks if they traded down? Can they afford to skip over one of the top two guards and use their second-round pick on Larry Warford? Which is more important: protecting Jake Locker or improving a defense that surrendered a franchise-record 471 points?
Expect the Titans to focus on players who are ready to become immediate contributors. Head coach Mike Munchak and his staff doesn’t have time to draft players who’ll need at least one season before they’re ready to take the field.
This slideshow features 10 players who the Titans may consider with their first-round pick. A few of these players won’t last until the 10th pick. Four of these players would involve trade-down scenarios. They’re listed from lowest personal interest to highest personal interest.
No. 10: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia (Trade Down)
Another wide receiver who has the speed to stretch the field. At the combine, Tavon Austin ran the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds and the 20-yard shuttle in 4.01 seconds. Austin will likely get taken around picks 15-25.
No. 9: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee (Trade Down)
Need star power? Cordarrelle Patterson is a wide receiver who many Titans enthusiasts will know from his time with the University of Tennessee. Since the Titans look like they’re parting ways with Washington, they’ll need to find someone who can play slot receiver with Kendall Wright and Kenny Britt.
No. 8: Barkevious Mingo, DE/LB, LSU
Barkevious Mingo would give them another pass-rusher option behind Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley. He’s not a bulky defensive lineman, which may keep the Titans from considering.
INTEREST: Below Average
No. 7: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Unlike Dee Milliner, the Titans should have a good chance at taking Xavier Rhodes at No. 10. At 6-1 and 210 pounds with a 40.5” vertical jump, Rhodes has a physical presence that could work well on the outside.
Despite his physical attributes, Rhodes has numerous questions. Can he stay healthy? He has limited experience as a nickelback. He struggles in zone coverage.
There are too many questions to take him at No. 10. Maybe if they trade down into the late teens.
INTEREST: Below Average
No. 6: Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah, DE, BYU
At 6-5 and 271 pounds, Ezekiel Ansah started playing football in 2010. Ansah is a raw player who’ll need some time to develop and gain strength. The Titans would have to decide on whether they’re willing to use their 10th pick on a rotational player, at least for the first season.
No. 5: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU (Trade Down)
Want some bulk on the defensive line? At 6-8 and 277 pounds, Margus Hunt showed off his remarkable size, strength and athleticism at the combine when he did 38 bench reps and a 4.60 40-yard dash. He projects as either a 5-technique in a 3-4 defense or a left defensive end in a 4-3 defense.
One downside is that Hunt is 26 years old (in July). He’s also a project, something that the Titans probably won’t take up because of their do-or-die mentality in 2013. He could still make for a good rotational defensive end who’d excel on special teams. He finished his collegiate football career with 17 blocked kicks.
If the Titans could trade back into the late teens or early 20s before acquiring Hunt, then I’m for it. No way he goes at 10 though, not with his age.
INTEREST: Above Average
No. 4: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Don’t expect Dee Milliner to stick around this late. If Milliner is available, the Titans could pair him with Jason McCourty on the outside. That would allow Alterraun Verner to move inside.
No. 3: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State (Trade Down)
Want some physicality on defense? Here’s a long-shot candidate who could replace Colin McCarthy at middle linebacker. At 6-0 and 241 pounds, Arthur Brown is another undersized linebacker whose draft stock is rising. Brown is a superb tackler who has the athleticism to cover running backs, tight ends or even slot receivers.
Although McCarthy has been oft-injured during his first two seasons, the Titans probably won’t quit on him. They’ll either use free agency or a mid to late-round pick to add depth at middle linebacker. They can’t enter next season with Tim Shaw as the top reserve.
INTEREST: Very High
No. 2: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Picture an offensive line starring Michael Roos, Levitre, Fernando Velasco, David Stewart and either Cooper or Warmack. The Titans must protect Locker, especially from Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.
INTEREST: Very Higher