Titans go off the beaten path in 2017 draft

Titans go off the beaten path in 2017 draft

When you look at the Tennessee Titans draft class as a whole, there are a few picks that are a little off college football’s beaten path.
The Titans traded and dealt their way into nine picks overall, and more than half those choices are from non-power five conferences.
In fact, of the four players chosen who are from the major college conferences, three – Southern California cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, UCLA linebacker Jayon Brown and Cal running back Khalfani Muhammad – hail from the Pac-12. The other, seventh-round linebacker Josh Carraway of Texas Christian represents the Big 12.
Jon Robinson and his staff instead beat the bushes and found players from such schools as Western Michigan, Western Kentucky, Florida International, Chattanooga and Villanova.
Even Corey Davis, chosen Thursday night with the fifth overall pick, played in the Mid-American Conference at Western Michigan.
It marked the first time since 1979 – when Bum Phillips and Earl Campbell were the franchise cornerstones – that the club bypassed both the Southeastern Conference and the Big Ten in the draft altogether.
For general manager Jon Robinson in assessing the players the Titans selected and addressing their college pedigrees, he said that where they played – nor where they were drafted – does not matter to him. Only whether they can play the way the Titans want them to does.
“I tell all these guys when I talk to them, whether they played at some big school or some small school, we don’t care where you came from,” Robinson said. “If you can play football and if you’ll buy into our philosophy and our style of football, you can play for the Tennessee Titans. You can be a productive player in this locker room and on the field. It doesn’t matter where you came from.”
That is the approach Davis plans to take as he enters the NFL now with high expectations after being an afterthought to most coming out of high school with only one Division I scholarship offer. In fact, the same could be said for Taywan Taylor and Jonnu Smith.
“There’s a lot of doubt that all o these scouts put in my game,” Davis said, “ just because of the level of competition. I know what I’m capable of doing, and I”m not afraid to go up against anyone. I’m going to prove that really soon.”
As the Titans fleshed out their draft class on Saturday with five more choices in the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds, Robinson said the club had done its homework on each of the picks, spending quality time with them as they assessed them not only as players but as people.
“The guys we added today, I’ll just say we spent ,more than five, 10 or 15 minutes with each one of these guys,” Robinson said. “They either came in for a visit, or we went to their schools and spent a day or a half day with those guys, worked them out, got with them in the film room. We really got to know them and interview them, if you will, as fits for the football team. We’re excited about the competition level they’ll add to our roster.”
Coach Mike Mualrkey echoed Robinson’s sentiment, saying that the players taken in the late rounds, and even the undrafted players who will be added over the weekend, are here to compete for a job, not just to be fodder for camp.
“We’re not trying to fill numbers. We’re trying to bring people in here that can compete and win a job,” Mularkey said.

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