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Ask Mike: Titans Fans Excited as Draft Approaches

Posted Apr 24, 2013

We are literally within hours of the NFL draft beginning, so let's play the lightning round and hit as many topics as we can...

Ralph in Dyer TN leads off: "The way your (previous) article reads, you might favor taking a DE or CB over OL at #10. Right?" 

MIKE KEITH: Thanks for reading, Ralph. No question that I love defense and believe that you can't have enough DEs or CBs. On paper, the Titans biggest need is CB as they only have four of them on the current roster.  But for the Titans right now, it would help greatly if the first-round pick is an immediate starter, regardless of position. He's going to cost you slightly more than 12 million dollars over four years, so this is not a cheap pick, salary cap-wise. To me, take the guy that you are most sure can help you in 2013 and beyond. If that's one of the guards, take the guard. If that's DE, DT, CB or S, take one of those. Get the guy who is most likely to be "pick, plug and play," regardless of what spot that he plays.


Sean in Waldorf, MD: "Hey Mike, how will the Titans address the pass rush in this years draft? We need help on the back end too with defensive backs, but I feel with more QB pressure our corners can get turnovers. Do you think we need a difference maker in the secondary or an edge rusher like Dion Jordan (if he's available by #10) or a guy like Xavier Rhodes or Kenny Vaccaro?"

MIKE KEITH: Sean, you are right that the Titans need and want help in both areas. I could see them going DE or DB at #10 very conceivably. But is a player at that position there at #10 that the Titans' draft board rates as worthy of that pick? No one will know until Tennessee goes on the clock. BTW...I think that Jordan is one of the interesting players in this draft. This guy could be a huge star in the NFL.


Fred in Jacksonville: "What's the latest on us and (Florida State CB) Xavier Rhodes? Is he on our big board? If so, how high?"

MIKE KEITH: You guys love Xavier Rhodes! Again this week, more questions about Rhodes than any other player. Yes, Fred, he's on Tennessee's board, no doubt. Nothing has changed since I wrote this last week...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.  One more note -- CB is a deep position in this draft, which gives you flexibility. There should be excellent CB prospects available in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, the same situations with interior OL and DT.


Deandre in Woodbridge VA: "What are the chances of the Titans trading down in the first round?"

MIKE KEITH: Nearly a dozen of you asked this question. There is a much better chance that the Titans will trade down than up. With the strength of this draft said to be in Rounds 2-3, trading down to garner more picks makes a lot of sense. Not just to get more players, but to have more flexibility to trade up and grab your guy in later rounds. 


Damion from Dickson: "If we pass on (Chance) Warmack or (Jonathan) Cooper in the first round, any chance we take Barrett Jones in 2nd or maybe 3rd if he's there? It'd be nice to have someone born and raised in Tennessee on the team. Go Titans!"

MIKE KEITH: Considering that the Memphis native started at three different positions at Alabama and has great intelligence, Barrett Jones certainly seems to fit Munchak's mold in offensive linemen. Munchak loves flexibility in his linemen. 


Rick in Billings, Mont.: "What is the status of Marc Mariani? Is he going to be able to play again?"

MIKE KEITH: Marc is doing amazing work already, not 100%, but closer than most could have ever imagined. The medical folks and training folks did amazing work, but Marc deserves most of the credit. He has rehabbed like he plays -- all-out. I believe that he will play football again.  


Dylan in Louisville, Ky.: "Have you ever considered converting to a 3-4 base defense?"

MIKE KEITH: Because of the personnel in place, I don't think that the Titans have ever seriously considered going to a 3-4. The defense that they play now, however, does give them the flexibility to go to an odd-man front easily to confuse the opposing offense.


Matthew in Bowling Green: "With the Titans having three quality safeties in Griffin, Pollard, and Wilson, do you think we will see a lot of three safety sets next season? I think that would help the pass defense and playing Pollard closer to the line would be interesting. A lot of zone schemes could benefit our defense."

MIKE KEITH: I can certainly see that, Matthew. Gregg Williams and Jerry Gray both believe in using any and all personnel according to the situation and opponent. The Titans ran some three-safety packages in 2012.


Kandraus from Cordova: "Mike, with you being the spokesman for the Titans for many years now, do you see any difference in the past years up until now that will make this team have a break-out season?"

MIKE KEITH: Kandraus, I am optimistic based on the potential of offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and the way that I believe that he will re-shape the offense to fit Jake Locker, the improved personnel in the offensive line, the increase in size on defense and the return of Gregg Williams. I think that the Titans are better today than they were on December 30, 2012. And, because of GM Ruston Webster and his personnel staff, I think that they will be better after this weekend's draft, too. There are no guarantees what that improvement will mean record-wise this fall, but Tennessee has improved in this off-season already. 


Eric in Woodland, Calif.: "When and why did Craig Stevens get moved from tight end to fullback?"

MIKE KEITH: Eric, he didn't get moved. Craig is simply listed atop the depth chart at H-Back/FB because newcomer Delanie Walker is listed as first-team tight end. Merely depth chart semantics. Stevens is a tight end, but like Walker, expect him to line up all over the place. 


Bill in Brentwood wants to know, “Who in the NFL office did we make mad with this kind of schedule?”

MIKE KEITH: Bill, your question is being echoed by not only Titans fans but also by fans of all 32 NFL teams EVERYWHERE! Every fan thinks that their team got the short end of the schedule stick. And in the issue of the parity, that’s probably another way that the league gurus like it. But the Titans' schedule does have one distinction...Only ONE team opens the season with back-to-back road games AND has a three-game road trip later in the year: Tennessee. If you are the Titans, how do you fix that? Get back into the playoffs. If you get in the playoffs, you get on primetime TV more. If you get on primetime TV more, you get more consideration in the schedule-making process. Every NFL schedule is tough. Every fan believes that their schedule could and should be laid out differently. But if you are not a national brand team (Dallas, Chicago, Pittsburgh, etc) or a playoff team, you start at the back of the line.  It’s up to the Titans to move themselves up in the pecking order. 


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