The Tennessee Titans made their second trade up of the 2017 NFL Draft, moving up nine spots in the fifth round through a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles to select UCLA linebacker Jayon Brown.
In order to execute the move up, Tennessee general manager Jon Robinson swapped his own fifth-round choice, No. 164 overall, and the Titans’ second sixth-round pick (No. 214) to the Eagles for the right to move up. On Friday night, Tennessee traded up in round three to choose Western Kentucky wide receiver Taywan Taylor at No. 72 overall.
It is the second consecutive year the Titans have drafted a linebacker from UCLA, last year spending a seventh-round choice on Aaron Wallace, who became valuable as a backup at both inside and outside linebacker
Me and Aaron (Wallace) played together a couple of years at UCLA and we know each other pretty well,” Brown said, “so it will be good having a former teammate on the Titans to look up to and have to show me the ropes.”
Brown, 6-0, 231 pounds, is a bit undersized, but likely projects as a nickel linebacker with the Titans. He had three interceptions in his career and also has extensive experience on special teams.
Brown got his opportunity to show what he could do for the Bruins when All-American linebacker Myles Jack was lost with an injury in 2015.
“When he went down, my world expanded on the defense in Jack’s spot in the nickel defense. My role expanded tremendously when he got injured,” Brown said.
The Titans had needed a nickel linebacker type to spell Wesley Woodyard on passing downs. Last year, Sean Spence manned that role, but he departed to the Indianapolis Colts as a free agent.
Also, the Titans have a question mark on the outside at linebacker too, with last year’s second-round pick, Kevin Dodd, still not 100 percent healthy after having a screw inserted into his right foot last May due to a fifth metatarsal injury.