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Ask Mike: Draft Deeply Stocked With Offensive Linemen

Posted Apr 16, 2013

Dante in Dallas, Texas wants to know:  “How serious is the Titans’ interest in CB Xavier Rhodes from Florida State?”

MIKE KEITH: There were several questions about Rhodes in the first batch that we got in---more than about any other draftable player!  Rhodes seems to be a guy who has been going up in everyone’s mock draft over the past few weeks. I met him a few days ago and see what everyone likes about him -- he really is slightly over 6’1, weighs 210 pounds and has a huge wingspan for a cornerback. In person, he is physically impressive. I am not privy to exactly what the Titans think of him or the other top cornerbacks in this draft (Alabama’s Dee Milliner or Desmond Trufant of Washington), but I can safely say this: it will not surprise me in the least if Tennessee takes a cornerback or safety at #10. In today’s NFL, you cannot have enough guys in the secondary that can cover one-on-one. If there is a difference-maker at #10, the Titans might well go DB.

Sherry in White House wants the Titans to stay in-state with the #10 pick: “Is there any chance the Titans would pick WR Cordarrelle Patterson with their 10th pick? He is very good -- in a couple of years he will be one of the top 5 wide receivers in the league or better. They have surprised a lot of us before with the CJ pick and Kendall Wright when we thought they would go with a lineman, defensive or offensive.”

MIKE KEITH: Sherry, the Titans surprised a lot of people with the Kendall Wright pick last year. I would be much more shocked if they took any wideout -- Patterson or otherwise -- at #10. Shocked. The Titans have more immediate needs than receiver, especially since there is not a clear-cut, sure-fire, can’t-miss wide receiver in this draft.  I like Patterson a lot. He may well be the most gifted athlete in this draft and he could end up being an elite receiver. But he is a SKILL POSITION PLAYER with less than one year in a major college program (he didn’t even get to Tennessee until nine months ago).  It would only be natural to have questions, especially about taking a guy that high in the first round. I do think that Titans are likely to select one or more receivers in this draft, just not at #10.

Joey from Lebanon asks: “When are you guys coming to Lebanon to meet and greet the fans?”

MIKE KEITH: Next month, Joey. Titans Caravan begins on April 29. An announcement about the full Titans Caravan schedule should be out in the next few days.

Seth in Murfreesboro wonders: “If the Titans were to select (Alabama guard) Chance Warmack in the first round, would their offensive line reach the level of the old school Titans of Hopkins, Olson, Matthews/Hartwig, Pillar, Runyan/Miller?”

MIKE KEITH: Seth, it would be another step in the right direction, in my opinion. I think that Warmack is a “pick, plug and play” guy. It will be a shock if he’s not a very good pro, maybe even a great one.  But here is a good news for the Titans when it comes to OL…this draft seems to be so deeply stocked with interior linemen that a team like the Titans might be able to grab a “pick, plug and play” center or guard in the third round, the fourth round or even later. So yes, Warmack or North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper would be another shot in the arm to the Tennessee line, but there might be a dozen other guys who can fit the bill, too. Maybe that’s too optimistic in terms of numbers, but it’s clearly not Warmack, Cooper and then no one else.  Options are huge when drafting.  To the second part of Seth’s question…getting the OL back to Titans standards from the early days, two other things must happen…David Stewart will have to come back from his broken leg at 100%---his rehab seems to be coming along well. And Andy Levitre will have to meet the expectations of his large contract and there’s no evidence that he will not. What we can safely say right now? The Titans offensive line is already better than in 2012 and could improve even more with some additions, no matter what round in which you select them.

Liam in Nashville remembers the “Music City Miracle” and asks:  “I still have Goosebumps from the Music City Miracle. A few years back my wife even bought me a bottle opener that plays it and it still gets me fired up. Though I didn't hear your call until after I got home from the game, I was wondering if that was all spontaneous or if you had any of it your back pocket in case something incredible happens. I guess what I wonder is if you try to plan at all for big plays like that, and did that call cause you to change your routine at all.”

MIKE KEITH: Nice of you to say, Liam. It was all spontaneous. Proof that it is better to be lucky than good.

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