NASHVILLE – ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. played general manager for all 32 teams in his Grade-A mock draft, and he likes defense early for the Titans.
Kiper has the Titans taking Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence at pick No. 19 in the first round of the NFL Draft.
In the second round, at pick No.51, he has the Titans selecting South Carolina receiver Deebo Samuel.
Then, in the third round (82nd overall), Kiper circles back to defense. Kiper pegged Texas Christian DE/OLB Ben Banogu for the Titans in the third round.
“For Titans fans hoping for an impact offensive weapon to help Marcus Mariota in the quarterback's contract year, you might have to wait until Round 2,” Kiper wrote. “But don't discount Lawrence, who can play nose tackle in Mike Vrabel's 3-4 defense. Lawrence won't be an elite sack producer, but he has the athletic ability to get into the backfield and create disruptions. Also keep an eye on an edge rusher at No. 19.”
In doing the three-round mock, Kiper explained he’s not projecting picks based on what he’s hearing around the league. He made the three full rounds of picks based on what's best for each team at that slot, so that each team gets an "A" grade.
Here’s what ESPN’s Todd McShay’s three-round draft looks like for the Titans:
Round 1 (19): Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Round 2 (51): Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State
Round 3 (82): Jalen Jelks, DE, Oregon
Delanie Walker will turn 35 in August, and Fant's 4.50 speed and 6-foot-4 frame would create some dangerous mismatches. When we go get Campbell and his 4.31 speed in the second, the AFC South will collectively sigh; Corey Davis, Adam Humphries, Campbell and Fant is a group that could do some damage in the passing game. Pass-rushers are a little harder to find in the third round, but Jelks has good initial quickness and can fight through double-teams when pursuing the QB.