NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The NFL Draft is still over three months away.
But ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. is already making projections in his initial mock draft.
On Thursday, I hopped on an ESPN conference call with Kiper, and fired a question his way just a few hours after he released his first installment of his first-round projections.
Kiper gave the Titans, scheduled to pick 25th overall, Boston College linebacker/defensive end Harold Landry.
But he also threw in a couple of “curveball-type picks” when talking Titans.
Here’s what Kiper said on the conference call:
“Well, I think if a guard is there at that point – and there’s a couple of guys I think could be like wild card, curveball-type picks,” Kiper said of the Titans at pick No. 25. “Austin Corbett, a center/guard out of Nevada, and Will Hernandez, a guard out of UTEP – both those kids will be at the Senior Bowl this week coming up.
“But I went with the pass rusher in Harold Landry. Harold Landry of Boston College didn’t have the kind of year expected, a little nicked up here and there. But overall, two years ago showed great pass-rush ability. (Derrick) Morgan and (Brian) Orakpo are not 23, 24 years of age any more – they are getting up there in age. They combined for 14.5 sacks, but I think when you look at Erik Walden – he is getting up there in age (too). They have three guys that are getting up there in age, and (Kevin) Dodd hasn’t developed the way they had hoped.
“So while (the Titans) were tied for fifth in total sacks, it was kind of distributed over a lot of people. The most sacks they had was 7.5 by Morgan, and that’s it. So they are going to have somewhat of a drop off, you would think, as they keep getting older.
“So I went with a young pass rusher in Harold Landry from Boston College.”
And he’s what Kiper said on espn.com:
"Tennessee needs a young pass-rusher. Veterans Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan will both be free agents in 2019, and 2016 second-round pick Kevin Dodd has only one career sack in limited action. I thought Landry had a chance to be a top-10 pick after he had 16.5 sacks last season, but he had a down 2017 season and missed five games because of an ankle injury. He’s talented, but he needs to show he’s fully healthy and explosive. The Titans will have a new head coach and could have a different scheme if they move away from Dick LeBeau’s 3-4".
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)