5 Potential First-Round Scenarios For The Tennessee Titans In 2014 NFL Draft
5 First-Round Scenarios
After a second consecutive losing season in 2013, the Tennessee Titans have entered an offseason of change. That change began with the firing of former head coach Mike Munchack, who was let go after three years on the job and a 22-26 overall record.
That change continued with the hiring of Ken Whisenhunt as the club's new head coach. And that change will culminate with free agency and the NFL Draft as several key questions regarding the Titans' roster must be answered this offseason.
Those questions include whether or not running back Chris Johnson should be cut to save cap space, if Jake Locker is the long-term answer at quarterback and should Alterraun Verner be compensated like one of the league's top cornerbacks? Add in new defensive coordinator Ray Horton's likely switch to a 3-4 defense, and it's safe to say that the Titans have a busy offseason ahead of them.
Like with any rebuilding project, May's draft will serve an excellent opportunity for the Titans to load up on young, promising talent that is capable of reversing the franchise's fortunes.
Tennessee is sitting in an awkward spot with the No. 11 overall pick. The class' top quarterback prospects will likely be long gone by then, and many of the rookies who would fill an area of need aren't projected to be selected until much later in the first-round.
The draft can be incredibly unpredictable at times, though, so there is always a chance that an elite talent will fall into the Titans' lap. Here are five scenarios for Tennessee's first-round.
Cody Strahm is an NFL contributor for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @CodyJStrahm.
5. Louis Nix III
Considering the Titans' likely switch to a 3-4 defense, finding a reliable nose tackle to consistently demand double teams in order to open up lanes for the second line of defense has become a priority. Tennessee has a couple of in-house candidates who could potentially fill in, but securing the draft class' top nose tackle is a potential scenario with the team's first-round choice. Taking Notre Dame's Louis Nix III with the No. 11 pick would be considered a reach, so the Titans should consider trading down if he becomes the target.
4. Take Best Offensive Tackle Available
Both of the Titans' starting offensive tackles -- Michael Roos and David Steward -- are 31 years of age. While the two are still serviceable starters, Tennessee could look to stay ahead of the curve by nabbing some young blood at the position during the draft. The Titans would be incredibly fortunate if Texas A&M's Jake Matthews is still on the board. Matthews is considered the top offensive line prospect of the class, and some mock drafts have him penciled in as high as the second pick. If he's not available, Michigan's Taylor Lewan could provide some consolation at the position.
3. C.J. Mosley
Despite owning a relatively solid defense in 2013, the Titans struggled to defend opposing rushing attacks at times and finished the year ranked 20th in that category. Upgrading the linebacker corps should be in order, especially considering the team's looming transition to a 3-4 scheme. Alabama's C.J. Mosley would be a nice addition. He's a well-rounded linebacker who possesses the size and athleticism to start as a rookie.
2. Anthony Barr
As previously noted, the Titans are projected to switch to a 3-4 defense in 2014. As a result, the front seven will likely be under heavy construction all offseason. Expect Tennessee to strongly consider taking an edge rusher with its first-round pick. UCLA's Anthony Barr would be among those candidates under consideration, and he would be close to a perfect fit. Barr has the athleticism and strength to become a high-impact player from day one in Nashville. He's a bit raw as a pass rusher, but his ceiling is high an every-down linebacker.
1. Khalil Mack
Another way the Titans could improve their pass rush would be to snag Buffalo's Khalil Mack. Chances are Mack will already be off the board when the commissioner announces that Tennessee is on the clock. But if a push for the draft's top four quarterbacks knocks Khalil out of the top 10, the Titans could land a perennial double-digit sack artist. The athletic freak dominated the MAC conference on his way to 75 tackles for loss, which tied the NCAA record, and 28.5 career sacks.