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 O.J. Howard is the pick. This may seem early for a tight end, but Howard is the most complete tight end prospect we've seen in a very long time, and it would be a major stunner to me if he fell out of the top 10. Howard 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. Mike Williams, WR - It appears as though the Titans want an offensive weapon to help Marcus Mariota. Howard is a better prospect than Williams, but the Clemson wideout would be a logical selection here as well.
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
Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
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.
Chidobe Awuzie being slotted this high may surprise some people, but there's definitely a growing sense that he'll be chosen at some point Thursday night.
*** OTHER 2017 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. John Ross, WR - I've had Ross slotted here for a while, but I now have Tennessee selecting an offensive weapon at No. 5 overall.
2. Marlon Humphrey, CB - I think the Titans take Chidobe Awuzie here, but if they don't, Marlon Humphrey is another cornerback option.
Rd. 3, Pk. 19
Carlos Henderson, WR, Louisiana Tech
The Titans attempted to trade for Brandin Cooks this offseason, but obviously failed to do so. They'll be hunting for a receiver upgrade with one of their first few picks.
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 draft, 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
Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
The Titans need a No. 1 cornerback and could like Awuzie enough to take him with this pick.
In 2016, Awuzie recorded 65 tackles with 12 passes broken up, four sacks and one interception. The 6-foot, 205-pounder has decent size to him, but was inconsistent in coverage. He allows separation and doesn't play as big as his listed size. In his bowl game, he was torched by Oklahoma State. Awuzie had 84 tackles with 12 for a loss, four sacks, seven passes broken up and two interceptions in 2015.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington
The Titans could use multiple upgrades at wide receiver.
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
Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech
The Titans could use a receiving tight end to pair with Delanie Walker. General manager Jon Robinson was with Tampa Bay when the Bucs drafted Mike Evans, and Hodges has a similar style of play.
In 2016, Hodges totaled 48 catches for 691 yards with seven touchdowns. He improved as a junior and could be one of the real value picks in the deep 2017 tight end class. In 2015, Hodges recorded 40 receptions for 530 yards and six scores. He was a redshirt freshman sensation for the Hokies in 2014 and produced the best year ever in terms of receiving production by a freshman tight end at Virginia Tech. The 2014 season saw him haul in 45 catches for 526 yards and six touchdowns.
Hodges (6-6, 257) needs to improve his blocking for the NFL, but he could be a taller version of a Jordan Reed-type tight end, or and even a Mike Evans-type receiver on the outside.
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.
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 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.
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.
I'm sure it's because your "NFL Matches" section is just the usual copy/pasta from other scouting report articles, but I literally spit out my drink reading you suggest Mixon as a fit for the Ravens. Zero chance that happens lol.
*EASTER UPDATE* WITH TRADES RD2, 3, & 4 ORDER IS RANDOM for trades that usually happen.
Used draft-site`s approach as a general guide. Really like their ranking system as it uses a hi-low rubric to rank each player. Took several ranking sites and averaged out player rankings. Used my own rankings for players I feel were ranked much too low. F/A updates with a few players still looking for a new home. Will update as they sign. Will see teams reach for QB & OT. 3 days till drafttime !! No big trades announced yet.