It is time again for the annual TitanInsider mock draft. And with the draft being here in Nashville this year, it will be all the more exciting as the picks come off the board.
With the Titans set to pick at No. 19, there are all sorts of possibilities and much will depend, of course, on what happens with the picks in front of them. Most draftniks are pointing to the Titans needing help on the defensive line, at outside linebacker and on the interior of the offensive line. The draft appears loaded with edge rushers and interior defensive linemen, giving the Titans a chance to address those needs with potential top talent.
Of late, there have been reports that the Titans are interested in Missouri QB Drew Lock, who, if that took place, would join a crowded quarterback room and would certainly make Marcus Mariota’s days as a Titan more short-lived than many expected. But at this time of year, you have to take everything with a grain of salt – including this mock draft.
But without further adieu, here we go:
1.Brian Burns, OLB, Florida State, 6-5 249
Despite drafting Harold Landry last year, edge rusher still appears to be the Titans’ top need due to the retirement of Brian Orakpo and not re-signing Derrick Morgan as a free agent. Tennessee brought in Cameron Wake, but at 37, he is a short-term option. The Titans may be able to pick from a pool of guys between Burns, Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell, Florida’s Jachai Polite and Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat. Burns had 10 sacks as a junior for the Seminoles last year, and had 8.5 sacks his freshman year when he played in only eight games. So, he knows how to get to the quarterback with his speed, and that is something the Titans need more of.
2.Erik McCoy, C, Texas A&M, 6-4, 303
The Titans have an opening on the offensive line after releasing right guard Josh Kline in the off-season. They also may have a need at center in the future as Ben Jones is in the final year of his contract. McCoy makes sense because he could play center and shift Jones over to right guard, where he played well last season when the Titans made a halftime adjustment against the Jets. McCoy has the strength and size to bolster the middle for a while for Tennessee.
3. Isaiah Buggs, DL, Alabama, 6-3, 306
It is no secret that the Titans need help for Jurrell Casey on the front three. The Titans Pro Bowl defensive end is double teamed quite often by opposing offensive linemen. Buggs has the size and strength to come in and help, playing as a five-technique end opposite Casey. He was overshadowed by his own linemate Quinnen Williams at Bama, but should be able to hold his own and provide some relief for Casey on the opposite side.
4. Amani Hooker, S, Iowa, 5-11, 210
Hooker, who was one of the Titans 30 pre-draft visits, fits the mold for what they look for in a defensive back. He is smart, athletic has good ball skills and is versatile. Hooker could come in and play special teams for the Titans right away, perhaps even serving as a punt return candidate. The Titans are set with starting safeties Kevin Byard and Kenny Vaccaro, but are thin in numbers behind them. Hooker could come in and claim a backup/situational role.
5. Drew Sample, TE, Washington, 6-5, 255
The Titans wanted to retain blocking tight end Luke Stocker, but he left to sign with the Falcons. Sample could provide the type of blocking that a run-based team needs on the edge. He also is a good route runner, which could allow him to slip out on underneath and seam routes to make some catches to move the chains.
6. Jalen Hurd, WR, Baylor, 6-5, 226
Hurd’s story is a familiar one to local fans. He starred at Beech High School in Hendersonville and then at the University of Tennessee as a running back until he got sideways with Butch Jones and left the program. He resurfaced at Baylor, where the Bears allowed him to play wide receiver. He caught 69 passes last season, and has the versatility and athleticism to carve out a niche at the NFL level. The baggage from the UT fallout probably dropped his stock a couple of rounds, but the Titans can always use another big target who can catch the ball over the middle.