ESPN’s Mel Kiper Gives Titans “Top 3-4 OLB” in NFL Draft

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ORLANDO –** Mel Kiper Jr. has pulled a switcheroo.

The ESPN draft analyst is back on a pass rusher for the Titans -- Boston College linebacker/defensive end Harold Landry.

In his prior mock draft, Kiper had the Titans selecting USC running back Ronald Jones II.

Some things have changed since then, of course. The Titans signed former Patriots running back Dion Lewis in free agency, pairing him with Derrick Henry. That development - coupled with Kiper’s thinking that the Titans need more help from a pass rush standpoint - resulted in Kiper going back to his initial pick for the Titans in Landry.

Kiper’s Mock Draft 3.0 was released on Wednesday morning. He also had Landry to the Titans in 1.0 before making the switch to Jones late last month.

The Titans currently have the No.25 pick in the NFL Draft.

“Landry is the top 3-4 outside linebacker in this class, an elite edge rusher when he's at his best,” Kiper wrote on espn.com. “That wasn't in 2017, as he missed five games with an ankle injury. He dominated in 2016, though, with 16.5 sacks and looked like a potential top-five pick.

“The team that selects Landry will hope he can replicate his 2016 form. Tennessee needs to get younger at outside linebacker, and starters Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan will be free agents next March.”

In his Mock Draft 2.0, Kiper based his selection on the team’s landscape at running back at the time, when he made the assumption veteran running back DeMarco Murray would be released.

Kiper was right there – the Titans released Murray earlier this month. But then Lewis was added.

Here at the NFL owners meetings, Titans officials said they’re happy with their running backs.

“I think they complement each other well,” Titans general manager Jon Robinson said of Henry, and Lewis. “I think they are both fast players. I think they both have good quickness. I think stylistically they are different runners. Derrick can get it downhill, press the hole, hit the hole, and really turn it over and outrun people. He can stick it up there and run over people.

“Dion can make people miss. He can kind of get lost in the wash up in there and squirt out, and be good out of the backfield. … How the pace of the game is going, how the style of the game, how the defense is playing us (will determine when which player is on the field).

“We think we have two really different backs, but two really good backs – two starting level backs.”

The NFL Draft is scheduled for April 26-28 in Arlington, Texas.

TitansOnline.com looks back at some of the team's #1 draft picks over the years. (AP Photos)

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