The Titans made great strides in 2016, and they figure to keep improving, thanks to this selection. Owning the No. 5 overall pick because of the Rams' incompetence, Tennessee wouldn't be in a position to snatch a blue-chip prospect if they never moved down last year. That, however, is the case, as the Titans won one of the most lopsided trades in NFL history.
Many expect this to be a defensive selection, but don't be surprised if Mike Williams is the pick. This may seem early for Williams because he didn't test well at the combine, but believe it or not, there are still teams that study film to determine where they have prospects on their board. Williams would give Marcus Mariota another dynamic weapon to work with, making Mariota even more dangerous in the red zone, which is scary.
*** OTHER 2017 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. O.J. Howard, TE - It appears as though the Titans want an offensive weapon to help Marcus Mariota. Howard is a better prospect than Williams, so he could be the choice even though it's a bit early for a tight end.
2. Marshon Lattimore, CB - I have the Titans taking a cornerback with their second first-round choice, but perhaps they'll opt for a corner at No. 5 overall instead.
Rd. 1, Pk. 18
Adoree' Jackson, CB, USC
The Titans had a big need at cornerback before they released Jason McCourty. That void is even greater now, so it would be a surprise if Tennessee didn't use one of its opening-round selections on a corner.
There's some late buzz for Adoree Jackson in the top 20. I think he'll go the Titans if Marlon Humphrey is off the board.
*** OTHER 2017 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Chidobe Awuzie, CB - Awuzie would be my choice if Humphrey and Jackson are off the board. He could be the target in the wake of a trade down.
2. Marlon Humphrey, CB - I have to believe that Humphrey would be the ideal choice, but he's off the board.
Rd. 3, Pk. 19
Desmond King, FS/CB, Iowa
The Titans signed John Cyprien to help their poor safety situation, but depth could still be obtained later in the draft.
This is the Rams' pick that Tennessee received in the trade back from No. 1 to No. 15 in the 2016 NFL Draft. The Titans need a No. 1 wide receiver for Marcus Mariota, and Williams is a great fit. General manager Jon Robinson was with Tampa Bay in 2014 when they took Mike Evans with the seventh pick. Williams is remarkably similar to Evans. In that same draft, Robinson and the Bucs took Austin Seferian-Jenkins in Round 2. This is a deep tight end class, so I think Robinson would lean toward Williams. O.J. Howard is in the running for this pick though.
In 2016, Williams hauled in 98 receptions for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns. It was an impressive return to college football after missing most of 2015 due to injury. In that season's opener, Williams fractured his neck when he ran into the goalpost while catching a touchdown. That ended his year.
With Sammy Watkins in the NFL, Williams took over as Clemson's lead receiver in 2014 and caught 57 passes for 1,030 yards and six touchdowns. In his freshman season, he had 20 catches for 316 yards and three scores.
Williams is a dynamic big receiver who is tremendous at using his size and leaping ability to make catches over defensive backs. He is a phenomenal red-zone weapon and is superb on back-shoulder sideline throws. While Williams made a lot of excellent leaping grabs, he does need to cut down on some dropped passes. The 6-foot-4, 218-pounder has a real combination of size and leaping ability.
Rd. 1, Pk. 1
Adoree' Jackson, CB, USC
I believe that minus a trade, Tennessee's plan is to draft a weapon for Marcus Mariota at No. 5 and find a potential No. 1 corner with the 18th pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. I think Marlon Humphrey is the Titans' first choice. If he is off the board, I think they would take Jackson.
Jackson notched 55 tackles with 11 passes broken up and five interceptions in 2016. He also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, returned two punts for touchdowns, and made a 52-yard touchdown catch. Jackson had an awesome game against Alabama as he shut down star wide receiver Calvin Ridley. He held Ridley to only two receptions for nine yards on the night. Jackson has given the NFL proof that he is a serious cover corner prospect for the 2017 NFL Draft.
Jackson played on offense and defense in 2015. He had 35 tackles with eight passes broken up and one interception at corner. As a wide receiver, Jackson had 27 receptions for 414 yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore also returned punts and kicks.
Jackson became a starter in 2014 and was a sensation who also contributed as a wide receiver and returner/coverage defender on special teams. Defensively, the freshman had 49 tackles with 10 passes deflected. He also caught 10 receptions for 138 yards with three touchdowns on offense. On special teams, Jackson returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and averaged 30 yards per kick return. For the NFL, the 5-foot-10, 186-pounder fits best as a cover cornerback. He is a fast corner to prevent separation, but can struggle with size and defenders making receptions over him.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington
The Titans could use multiple receiver upgrades.
The 6-foot-1, 198-pound Kupp was massively productive during his collegiate career. He combines quickness, toughness, excellent route-running and great hands. The senior totaled 91 receptions for 1,297 yards with 12 touchdowns on the year. He had huge seasons as a junior (114-1,642-19), sophomore (104-1,431-16) and freshman (93-1,691-21). Kupp is a natural football player.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Jordan Leggett, TE, Clemson
The Titans could use a receiving tight end to pair with Delanie Walker.
Leggett is a solid tight end who can contribute as a receiver and a runner. The senior notched 46 catches for 736 yards with seven scores in 2016. As a junior, he totaled 40 receptions for 525 yards with eight touchdowns. The 6-foot-6, 258-pounder has the size and athleticism to warrant consideration as a three-down starter.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Garrett Sickels, DE/3-4OLB, Penn State
Here's an understudy for veterans Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo.
Sickels (6-3, 261) decided to skip his senior season at Penn State and enter the 2017 NFL Draft. The junior recorded 47 tackles with 12.5 tackles for a loss and six sacks in 2016. The previous season, he had 35 tackles with five tackles for a loss and three sacks playing on the other side from Carl Nassib. Sickels would probably fit best in the NFL as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Corn Elder, CB, Miami
The Titans grab more cornerback competition and have shown interest in Elder.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Dylan Donahue, OLB/DE, West Georgia
Tennessee could use some young edge-rushing depth behind Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Stacy Coley, WR, Miami
The Titans go best player available and take another receiver competitor.
X: (1) Matthews (2) McBride
Y: (1) Williams (2) Sharpe
NFL.com Grade: 6.32 ESPN Grade: 91
NFL Comparison: Plaxico Burress
Measurables: H: 6'3 W: 205 40: 4.48
After a successful freshman season (three starts, 20 catches, 316 yards, three scores), Williams took a large step forward in 2014. He received third-team All-ACC recognition by catching 57 passes for a whopping 1,030 yards (18.1 per) and six touchdowns while freshman Deshaun Watson ran the show. Hoping to parlay that performance into an All-American junior year, Williams instead nearly saw his career end after fracturing his neck by hitting his helmet against the goal post on a touchdown catch in the season opener. He was cleared for contact before the 2016 season, however, and took advantage of his health in a big way. The second-team Walter Camp All-American and first-team All-ACC pick caught 84 passes for 1,171 yards and 10 scores, putting up highlight-reel plays on several occasions.
Williams looks the part of a WR1 and has shown an ability to work all three levels of the field after coming back from his 2015 neck injury. Williams is tough enough to be a high-volume target while working the middle of the field and his size and ball skills make him a formidable foe in the end zone. He'll have to be coached up with his routes and releases, but he has the talent to become a big safety blanket for a young quarterback.
Putting on a show down the stretch is never bad for draft stock, and that’s just what Mike Williams did in the College Football Playoff. The 6-foot-4 receiver has the big body to win in the short game as a possession receiver but also the body control and ball skills to win in contested situations downfield. That versatility has moved him to the No. 1 spot among receivers as he can succeed with different styles of quarterback and in various schemes, though a signal-caller who is willing to let him make plays down the field will help Williams to maximize his potential.
The Titans are looking like they have an extremely promising offense. They have two pro bowl offensive tackles, Derrick Henry shined behind Demarco Murray at the end of the season, and Mariota is showing that he was worth the high draft pick more and more every game he plays. They need a star wideout and i like Corey Davis but that would be a bit of a reach and their secondary on the defensive side of the ball is atrocious. You can't win in this league if teams can chuck the ball around on your defense like its swiss cheese. They just signed Cyprien at strong safety and Logan Ryan at cornerback but thats still not enough. Kevin Byard played nicely at free safety in his rookie year so I'm going to give the nod to a corner. Lattimore is by far the best cornerback coming out this year. Pairing him up with Logan Ryan could make this secondary miles better and would take some pressure off of this young offense.
The Titans could very well draft their way into the Super Bowl this year, and despite the holes on defense, Mariota needs weapons, and this draft is laden with corners and defensive talent, so they can wait on that. Tajae Sharpe is coming into his own, but Kendall Wright and Rishard Matthews don't make this a very convincing receiving corps. Corey Davis is the more explosive option between the two top receivers, with great catching and route running ability, not to mention he's only about an inch shorter and about 20 pounds lighter than Williams. He's a terror off the line, and after he blows the top off of the Combine like I and others are convinced he will, this is an ideal place for him to land.
TRADE- The 49ers trade their #2 pick to the Titans for the Titans #18 pick, #37, and a 2018 3rd round pick.
The 49ers are sort of in an awkward spot at #2. They are most likely going to trade down but becasuse GM John Lynch is new at the procees, he will be unable to land a "King's Ransom" while doing so. The reason the 49ers are in an awkward spot is because of the value of picking a player at #2 in correlation to what their team needs are. A safety doesn't make sense because Jimmy Ward will be playing the Center Fielder role in Saleh's scheme. As a result Jaquiski Tartt (played with Ward in high school) or Eric Reid will play SS in the box. A Quarterback does not make sense because no quarterback in this class is worth the #2 pick. Everyone always says "If you belive a QB can be a franchise QB then you should get him no matter where you are picking at the draft". The truth is that nobody believes any of these guys is a legit franchise QB. So QB is not an option at #2.
So what about Soloman Thomas, everyones new favorite player to mock to the 49ers? Thomas is a stout player against the run and has the ability to get to the Quarterback and on top of it all, he has a tremendous motor. But where he would fit into the the 49ers talented defensive front is a big question mark. What the 49ers really need is a speed rusher that can get 10-12 sacks annually. That isn't Thomas, he is better suited playing inside and rushing from the interior of the defenisve line. He isn't going to be an elite edge rusher as some are portraying him to be, he wasn't that type of player at Stanford and won't be at the next level.
Another popular pick is Jonathan Allen who is super talented and a proven winner, but he also doesn't quite fit into the 49ers shceme. They already have plenty of talent on the defensive front, with guys like Deforest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Aaron Lynch, and Ronald Blair who is a versatile defender and will be looking to build on the 3 sacks he had in his rookie year. Behind those players the 49ers have depth with veterans like Earl Mitchell, Quinton Dial, Ahmad Brooks, and Chris Jones. The best part of the 49ers defense heading into 2017 is their defensive line, I don't know that they would be able to maximize Allen's potential. In addition, the shoulder tendinitis is a huge question mark for a player you may be taking at #2 overall.
The other populat pick for the 49ers at #2 is Marshon Lattimore. He would fill a need and most likely beat out Tramiane Brock as the starting CB opposite Rashard Robinson. But he had only one standout season at Ohio State and has had some trouble with injuries the past few seasons that may make the 49ers question whether he will be a star at the next level.
For the Titans this is an excellent pickup. They don't have to give up too much and move up an astounding 16 spots to get an a franchise cornerstone in Jamal Adams. Dick Labeau will love having a leader like Adams that plays bigger and badder than his size equates to. Adams is a willing and legitimate tackler and can play all over the field.
The Titans have a nice young core to build around on offense, but they need to add an explosive receiver or 2 to develop alongside Tajae Sharpe, who has shown real potential. But with Marcus Mariotas main target being his Tight End instead of a hot shot receiver needs to change. John Ross may be only 5'11, but he is one of the most explosive and quick receivers in this entire draft. This could go a few ways, they could draft Quincy Wilson at 6 and Then John Ross here, (or Corey Davis if still an option), or they could fill in their need for a receiver with their first pick by picking Mike Williams, and waiting for a defensive back with this pick by getting Marlon Humphrey, or whoever happens to be left. This is really a win win situation for the Titans, and after trading the pick last year and obtaining an extra first round pick this year, the future is looking bright for the Tennessee Titans.
Show/Hide Other Mocks with John Ross Going to Titans
Rd. 1, Pk. 5
Corey Davis, WR
The Titans got this pick for free via the Jared Goff trade, so it's a bonus. However, this is way too early for Corey Davis. He fills a need, but we spoke to a team wanting a receiver in the second round that wasn't even going to consider Davis because of his durability issues. This is a major reach, and if the Titans were so focused on picking Davis, they should've traded down, no matter what they received in return. So many better prospects were available, but at least Tennessee gave Marcus Mariota a weapon to work with.
Rd. 1, Pk. 18
Adoree' Jackson, CB
I had Adoree Jackson going to the Titans, so I definitely think he fits the range at No. 18 overall. Some had Jackson falling into the late 20s, which I thought was crazy, given his talent level. However, O.J. Howard fell right into Tennessee's lap, so I think the Titans should've taken the extremely talented tight end. He would've provided a great intermediate weapon for Marcus Mariota for the next dozen years. That said, Tennessee did take Corey Davis earlier, so I understand why they'd want to add a defensive player, and Jackson fills a huge need. He'll also be a big weapon on special teams.
Rd. 3, Pk. 8
Taywan Taylor, WR
The Titans reached when they took their first receiver, and they moved up for their second. I'm not thrilled with either pick, but I don't hate this selection. Taywan Taylor makes sense as a third-round selection, and Tennessee had to keep adding talent around Marcus Mariota.
Rd. 3, Pk. 36
Jonnu Smith, TE
If this were a weaker tight end class, Jonnu Smith could've been taken 20-30 selections earlier than this. Smith is a very athletic player who was highly productive in college. He also blocks well, so there are very few holes in his game. The Titans needed to find a tight end to eventually take over for Delanie Walker, and Smith could be a nice weapon for Marcus Mariota in 2018 and beyond.
Rd. 5, Pk. 11
Jayon Brown, ILB
Jayon Brown was extremely productive at UCLA, and based on his play, he could've gone in the third round. However, Brown is undersized and could really struggle in run support, so I had him slotted in the sixth frame. At the very worst, he projects as a solid special-teams player.
Rd. 6, Pk. 33
Corey Levin, G
I had Corey Levin as a fringe draftable prospect, so I'm not a fan of taking him at the end of the sixth round. It's not the worst thing, but Levin will need to translate his skills from 1-AA to the NFL. He could be a decent backup at best.
Rd. 7, Pk. 9
Josh Carraway, DE/3-4OLB/OLB
I had Josh Carraway in the fifth round of one of my mock drafts, but he was in the seventh frame (or out of it) otherwise. Carraway was productive at TCU, but didn't test very well. That hurt, given that he's on the small side (6-3, 242). Perhaps he can emerge as a situational pass-rusher at some point.
Rd. 7, Pk. 18
Brad Seaton, OT
Brad Seaton garnered a lot of interest late in the draft process, and I had him projected to go around this range. This pick makes sense to me, as Seaton has the potential to be a solid backup tackle in the NFL.
Rd. 7, Pk. 23
Khalfani Muhammad, RB
I'm not sure where Khalfani Muhammad fits with the Titans. He's not really an offensive football player, as he is a track star, and he also struggled on special teams during his time at California. I don't see him cracking the roster.