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NFL Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans: NFL Combine Provides New Targets for 2014 NFL Draft

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Tennessee Titans: NFL Combine Provides New Targets for 2014 NFL Draft

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Titans finished last season with a disappointing 7-9 record and missed out on the playoffs. It’s even more disappointing when you see the circumstances from which they lost. Bad injuries to Jake Locker right when he was looking like he could lead the team to the playoffs were followed by horrible decision making by backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in late-game situations.

Tennessee responded to the disappointing season by firing head coach Mike Munchak and hiring former Arizona Cardinals head coach and last season’s offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers' Ken Whisenhunt. He will be looking to add key pieces to a team that was already skirting the edges of the playoffs last season by hopefully choosing impact players in the 2014 NFL Draft.

The Titans have a lot of offseason questions. Chris Johnson is due a major salary after a lackluster season, safety Bernard Pollard is going into free agency and cornerback Alterraun Verner is also going int free agency. On top of that, Whisenhunt, who has already implied that he will stick with Locker at quarterback, will probably draft a quarterback at some point in the draft just to beef of competition. A successful draft is essential to addressing these needs.

One key to a successful draft is evaluating the players who showed out in the NFL combine. With the combine just having completed recently, here is a look at five players that the Titans should at least take a look at. I’ve tried to include a few from the Middle Tennessee area who showed out in the combine as well.

Taylor Sturm is an SEC Basketball Writer for Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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No. 5 Andre Hal – CB Vanderbilt

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The first of the two Commodores on this list, Hal didn’t have a spectacular combine but was in the top 15 in most events. The Titans lack depth at the cornerback position, especially with the possibility of Alterraun Verner leaving, but have other areas that need to be addressed with early draft picks. Hal could be a seventh round pick up, or even an undrafted free agent. Expect the Titans to at least check him out before the season begins.

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No. 4 Connor Shaw – QB South Carolina

Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Not only was he a top performer in the broad jump, but he ran a 4.66 40-yard dash, faster than Johnny Manziel. Tennessee needs to draft a quarterback somewhere in the draft to get some competition at the position. He could easily fall to the fifth or sixth round and be a great pickup for the Titans. Don’t forget, Shaw only threw one interception last season in the SEC.

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No. 3 Kenny Ladler – S Vanderbilt

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Personally, I believe Ladler could start for some NFL teams, now. He fell in the 40-yard dash, but looked good in other aspects of his game. The Titans could easily pick him up in the fourth or fifth round.

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No. 2 A.C. Leonard – TE Tennessee State

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

With Delanie Walker leading the Tennessee tight ends, the Titans need a solid second TE. Leonard ran the fastest 40 by a tenth of a second as well as impressed in the broad jump and bench press. Hailing from Nashville’s own TSU, he could easily get a look extremely late in the draft.

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No. 1 Khalil Mack – LB Buffalo

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Most likely the Titans’ top target of this draft anyway, Mack showed out in the combine with a 40 time of 4.65. His stock is soaring, and Tennessee may not end up with him. However, if he lasts until No. 11 overall, the Titans cannot afford to pass on him.