Titans Prefer Trade Down for DBs, Tunsil at No. 1 is Plan B
Updated Jan. 23, 2016
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
The Tennessee Titans feel that they are in a good position with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. The Titans already have a promising young franchise signal-caller in Marcus Mariota, and there are a lot of quarterback-needy teams picking in the top 20. One of them is the Cleveland Browns at No. 2, so if a team wants to get the top quarterback prospect ahead of Cleveland, they have to move up with Tennessee. Of course, trading down is always easier said than done, so the Titans will be prepared to make a selection with the No. 1 overall pick.
In speaking to sources with Tennessee, the Titans' preference is to trade down in the top 10 and target a defensive back like Florida State cornerback/safety Jalen Ramsey or Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves. However, if they can't trade down, sources say the early leader for the No. 1 overall pick is Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil.
Many draft pundits have been projecting Tennessee to take Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa. Sources from around the league have felt that Bosa has been overhyped, and contacts with the Titans agree with that belief. Going back to the preseason before his junior year where his sack production fell significantly, the Titans viewed him more as a No. 5-7 overall talent in a good draft class. Also, sources with the Titans feel they don't really need Bosa. They say the strength of the team was the front seven last year. Jurrell Casey, Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo had quality years and the team was very happy with the play of young five-technique defensive end DaQuan Jones. Thus, it doesn't sound like Bosa is a serious candidate to go first overall.
On the other side of the ball, the line play was a different story, as the Titans allowed the most sacks in the NFL. Mariota sustained multiple injuries and ended being shut down late in the year. Left tackle Taylor Lewan wasn't part of the problem and has been a solid player through two seasons. However, protecting Mariota is paramount, so drafting Tunsil and putting Lewan at right tackle could help ensure the durability of their franchise quarterback. Jeremiah Poutasi, who was taken in the third round last year, could be moved inside to guard, and therefore, the Titans' offensive line would have the potential to be upgraded at three positions.
The Titans would love to receive a package of picks in a move down. New general manager Jon Robinson could also take the team in a different direction. Robinson comes from Tampa Bay, and sources with the Bucs have said that Tampa Bay loves Ramsey. Others in the Titans' front office love Ramsey as well.
Right now, Tunsil is the early leader for the Titans if they are stuck at No. 1, but a lot can change in the lead-up to the draft. The team picking first overall could change as well.