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Titanic Voices: Frank Wycheck on Titans' Draft Options

Posted Apr 21, 2013

Former Titans tight end Frank Wycheck offers his personal opinions and perspective in "Titanic Voices."

The Titans' productive results in free agency during the offseason gives them flexibility in this week’s NFL draft.

Ruston Webster and his staff did an A-plus job filling needs on this team. As a result, they really don’t have to target one specific area Thursday night. They can go after the highest-rated player on their board and feel good about it. It’s a luxury teams like to have.

At this point, I could see a number of scenarios playing out. They could trade up to get a guy they’re targeting or even trade down and acquire extra picks. I’m sure they have one or two guys that they’d like to have if they’re available at #10.

I would think if Chance Warmack is there at #10, he’s a guy the Titans wouldn't pass on. Just from hearing all of the draft evaluations, he looks like he's going to be a stud player for 10 to 12 years. He would help improve the offensive line, which would help out Jake Locker. In the long run, that's what is best for this football team.

There are going to be some really good players left at #10, especially if a quarterback is taken ahead of them. If Warmack isn’t there, they’ll be ready with other options. They could take a guard in the second or third round and go with a pass rusher in the first round, maybe a guy like LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo.  I think that would be a sold plan ‘B’ – adding a young, explosive pass rusher to the defensive line.

Mingo, to me, is a guy that stands out. He’s kind of a hybrid guy with a lot of speed that can get to the quarterback. He's an exciting, productive player they could bring in on third down. He’s raw, has long arms and had a lot of strip sacks at LSU. He’s used to pinning his ears back and going after the quarterback. If they’re going to take a defensive end in the first round, he’s a guy with a lot of upside and speed that would be a solid choice at #10.

I could also see the Titans taking a cornerback with the 10th pick. From my experience playing in the league and listening to coaches, you can never have too many good corners, especially in today’s NFL where everyone is spreading you out, forcing defenses to go nickel and dime – even on first and second down.  Cornerbacks are increasingly becoming full-time players.

There are a couple of cornerbacks that I like. Dee Milliner from Alabama is a seasoned player from a great program and Nick Saban-coached defense. You know that he’s disciplined, tough and super talented. You have to have an impact player with that 10th pick, and Milliner would certainly qualify as one. They could insert him into the starting lineup opposite of Jason McCourty and slide Alterraun Verner inside to the nickel, giving the defense more flexibility in sub packages. A guy like Milliner, or even Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes, would give the Titans’ defense more ability to mix and match to create their own special matchups against some of the prolific offenses they’ll be facing.

Regardless, the Titans should have a solid option at #10. At the end of the day, you want a guy that’s going to be able to step in and contribute out of the gate. You really can’t wait on rookies any more. 

I believe this team is real close to turning the corner and becoming a legitimate playoff contender. I love the way Ruston Webster and Mike Munchak attacked free agency. They filled their needs and made solid coaching moves that will improve the defense and take advantage of Jake Locker’s skills.  They got better up front with Andy Levitre, an excellent guard who is going to be reliable and around for a long time, and Delanie Walker, a play-making tight end who can also help block for Chris Johnson. And they added veteran guys like Bernard Pollard and George Wilson on defense. I really think they’re on their way.

Everything I’ve seen from the Titans this offseason is about enabling Jake Locker to flourish in this offense with better protection and blocking up front. I’m a firm believer in Jake – I love his intangibles, leadership, work ethic and overall approach.  He didn’t have a clean pocket last season with some trouble on the offensive line -- guys were in his face when he was trying to throw downfield. But I think all of the offensive changes, guys understanding what they need to do faster this year, and moving Jake around in the pocket will give him a better chance to succeed and show what he is all about.

An experienced color analyst on Titans Radio, three-time Pro Bowler Frank Wycheck finished his 11-year NFL career with 505 receptions, fourth most in NFL history by a tight end, and one of only five tight ends to surpass 500 career receptions (Shannon Sharpe, Ozzie Newsome, Kellen Winslow and Tony Gonzalez). A member of the team's Ring of Honor and inductee into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, Wycheck co-hosts a daily morning show on Nashville's 104.5 The Zone, the flagship station of Titans Radio.

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