With the 2014 NFL Draft on the verge of taking place on May 8-10 at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the Tennessee Titans have plugged in some big holes this offseason by re-signing six of their own players and six free agents; however there’s still work left to do in order to shore up the roster for 2014. Let’s start on offense.
There’s no question that Jake Locker will be the starting quarterback when the Titans open the season against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, September 7, 2014. On the other hand, Charlie Whitehurst will be the backup quarterback after Ryan Fitzpatrick signed a two-year contract with the Houston Texans. Plus, the Titans will not pick up Locker’s fifth-year option which means that this is a do-or-die season for Locker.
My best bet is on A.J. McCarron in the third round because he is an efficient game-managing quarterback who has shown he can carry an offense at times throughout his career, but more often is dependent on a terrific supporting cast. In addition, he is graded out most highly for his intangibles and decision-making as well as knowing when and where to go with the ball.
He could earn an NFL starting job immediately. If McCarron is not available, then I would shoot for Aaron Murray in the fourth round because he has a quick release and is light enough on his feet to escape the first wave and make some plays on the move.
The Titans released Chris Johnson after six seasons and he has a new home after signing a two-year deal with the New York Jets. There was just no way in the world the Titans were going to pay Johnson so much money only to see his production slip and his role in a revamped offense diminish. Plus, he refused to take a pay cut.
I’m shooting for Tre Mason in the second round because he is a compactly-built, nifty-footed runner with a balanced skill set to merit 20 touches per game at the next level. In addition, he fits in multiple schemes and has the chops to make an impact as a rookie. Now, let’s shift gears and move to defense.
The Titans lost Pro-Bowler Alterraun Verner after he signed a four-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It doesn’t mean that the Titans are in jeopardy. They have Jason McCourty coming back, however, they still need an extra cornerback in case McCourty gets injured during the regular season.
Justin Gilbert would be a great fit because he has an outstanding size-speed ratio and athletic ability. In addition, his fluid movement skills make it look easy when flipping his hips and reacting to the ball.
I’m looking forward to watching the 2014 NFL Draft. It’s always nice to see whose name gets called during the special event; it’s also nice to see who helped and themselves during the draft.
Currently, the Titans have the second-easiest schedule. If they make wise picks during the draft, then I think they will be fine this season. Who knows, they may end up making the playoffs for the first time since 2009.