Tennessee Titans Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Jalston Fowler, FB, Alabama – Round 4
I knew that the Titans loved Fowler for months before the 2015 NFL Draft and had him mocked to Tennessee for a long time. The Titans needed a starting fullback, and Fowler is a rare prospect at the position. He is a devastating lead blocker who can be a weapon as a receiver yet also can handle short-yardage carries. Fowler has experience in a West Coast offense and should make a quick transition to the NFL.

Tennessee needed a lead blocker to open holes for Bishop Sankey and David Cobb, and Fowler was a nice value as a fourth-rounder. He could be a real mismatch weapon for Ken Whisenhunt as a pass-protector or receiver out of the backfield. Fowler recorded 11 receptions for 189 yards and two scores last year, but was capable of producing a lot more.

In my opinion, Fowler is one of the better fullback prospects to enter the NFL in recent years and is going to be an underrated asset throughout his career. He should enjoy a long career as a starting fullback.

Most Likely To Bust

Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma – Round 2
If it weren’t for off-the-field issues, Green-Beckham would have been a first-round pick. The 6-foot-5, 237-pounder is a physical giant on the outside who showed that he has some quickness to him and isn’t just a big receiver who can’t separate. Green-Beckham may not be a vertical wideout who stretches the field in the NFL, but he has the ability to be a impact receiver in the short to intermediate part of the field.

Green-Beckham is my choice for bust potential because of the off-the-field issues. He had drug and domestic violence incidents while in college that led to him getting kicked out of Missouri. He never played for Oklahoma, and there were teams and others around the league that remained skeptical about his character after his pre-draft interviews.

Green-Beckham could be a great player if he can focus on football. That is a big ‘if’, and of the Titans’ early-rounders, Green-Beckham could be either the biggest boom or biggest bust because of the questions about his maturity and ability to be a professional.

Potential Boom Pick

Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon – Round 1
There were questions about Mariota translating to the NFL and going from Oregon’s college offense to running a pro system, but there are no doubts about Mariota’s skill set. Physically, he has the tools to be a special quarterback. Mariota has a good arm with the potential to be accurate, and on the ground, he is truly special. Mariota can make huge plays with his feet with rare speed for a quarterback. Athletically, he is full of upside.

Not only is Mariota a great athlete, but he has an excellent work ethic and is a good teammate. Mariota is a humble, hard-worker who is very coachable. Those intangibles are huge for Mariota to make the transition from Oregon’s spread, up-tempo offense to the pro-style system he will run in Tennessee. Fortunately for Mariota, he has an excellent quarterback guru to play for in Ken Whisenhunt. With signal-callers like Kurt Warner, Ben Roethlisberger and Phillip Rivers, Whisenhunt has had a lot of success with a variety of quarterbacks. With Mariota’s work ethic and Whisenhunt’s experience, the duo could turn the young signal- caller into a franchise quarterback.

Along with the coaching staff, Mariota has young talent around him on offense to grow together. The Titans have physically gifted young receivers in Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter and Green-Beckham. On the offensive line, Tennessee has top-12 picks with left tackle Taylor Lewan and Chance Warmack. The team also has young runners in Bishop Sankey and David Cobb. Tight end Delanie Walker also just turned in an excellent season and should help Mariota. If Tennessee is patient, this unit could grow into a very talented offense with all its players hitting their primes at the same time.

Future Depth Player

David Cobb, RB, Minnesota – Round 5
The Titans didn’t need a starting running back of the future after using a second-rounder on Bishop Sankey in 2014, but Cobb was a really nice value in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Sources from other teams said that they had Cobb in the mix as the fourth- or fifth-rated back in the 2015 NFL Draft after Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon and T.J. Yeldon. The 5-foot-10, 229-pound Cobb is a physical runner who grinds out tough yards. He can run through tackles and handle a heavy workload. Last year, Cobb averaged 5.2 yards per carry for 1,626 yards with 13 touchdowns. He could be a good backup to Sankey for the Titans, and the two ball-carriers could combine to form a running back by committee approach if Sankey falters in Year 2. Cobb lacks speed and may never be a three-down impact starter, but he should be a solid No. 2 and quality backup.

Walt’s 2015 NFL Draft Grades:

2. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: A Grade
This was the right move all along. Marcus Mariota doesn’t fit what Ken Whisenhunt ideally looks for in a quarterback, but talent should always trump any system, and Mariota definitely has the talent. Seen as a taller Russell Wilson, Mariota automatically takes the Titans out of the NFL cellar and will have them competing for a playoff spot as early as 2016. The Titans simply couldn’t go into the 2015 season with Zach Mettenberger as their starting quarterback; otherwise, everyone would’ve lost their jobs after another poor year.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

40. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma: A Grade
Boom. Dorial Green-Beckham is a top-10 talent in this draft. He would be going that high if it wasn’t for his character issues. The Titans have done enough digging on Green-Beckham and thought he was worth a second-round selection. He figures to be the perfect complement for Marcus Mariota; the Titans have a bunch of No. 2 or 3 receivers, but no top target. That’s no longer the case. If he stays clean, Green-Beckham could become a perennial Pro Bowler. He’s a risk, but the Titans obtained a fourth-round selection via the Giants just in case he busts, so that mitigates the gamble.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

66. Jeremiah Poutasi, G/OT, Utah: B Grade
Another logical pick for another AFC South team. Jeremiah Poutasi makes sense for the Titans, who had to find an upgrade at either guard or right tackle. He can play both positions and should offer an upgrade in front of Marcus Mariota.

100. Angelo Blackson, DE/DT, Auburn: B- Grade
I figured Angelo Blackson would go in the fifth round, so while this is a bit early for him, the pick makes sense. Blackson is an athletic defensive lineman with size who should be able to provide instant quality depth up front and help on special teams.

108. Jalston Fowler, FB, Alabama: C+ Grade
I’m not as crazy about this pick because taking a fullback in the fourth round seems a bit too premature. However, the Titans had an extra choice in the fourth frame, so why not? They were looking to upgrade the position, and Jalston Fowler was the consensus top fullback in this draft.

138. David Cobb, RB, Minnesota: A- Grade
The Titans were expected to pick a running back at some point during the 2015 NFL Draft. There were some high opinions on David Cobb, so I like this selection. Cobb could challenge Bishop Sankey to be the team’s starting running back.

177. Deiontrez Mount, DE/OLB, Louisville: B- Grade
The Titans signed Brian Orakpo and retained Derrick Morgan, but they still needed to address the outside linebacker position because of their lack of depth there. Deiontrez Mount doesn’t have much starting experience, but he played well when given the chance. I feel like he could’ve gone a round later, but I don’t have a problem with this pick.

208. Andy Gallik, C, Boston College: B Grade
I had Andy Gallik going in this round, so he fits the range as a sixth-round pick. He also makes sense for the Titans in terms of filling a need, as he can push Brian Schwenke for the starting job.

245. Tre McBride, WR, William & Mary: A+ Grade
Tre McBride had both the great athleticism and production to be deemed a third-round prospect. That’s where I had him going, but reports surfaced that he has some personality issues. Even considering that, he’s worth a pick in the seventh round. He’s a steal at this juncture, as he has starting ability.

2015 NFL Draft Team Grade: A- . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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