INDIANAPOLIS – OK, I just ran the 40, and then banged out 43 reps in the bench press.
Next up is the broad jump and three-cone drill, and then the Wonderlic.
This NFL Combine is exhausting.
The truth is I just finished a pizza and some wings.
But I must admit the days are long here, even for a reporter covering the event.
And there’s no time to waste, so let’s knock out this Titans mailbag…
Steven Tilton from Safford, Arizona
Question: Hello Jim! I hope you've had a great week and Indianapolis is treating you well! I have a couple of questions for you:
1) I know there is still more Combine to go, but has there been a favorite moment for you at the Combine so far? (perhaps a specific player's drill, a drill overall, an interview, etc)
2) Forgive my ignorance, but between the Combine and the Draft, are there any standard/routine press conferences with the coaches that we will be able to look forward to? I can't remember if they do one before/after FA signing period.
Thanks for all you do to keep us fans involved and in the 'loop'. Your mailbag is lots of fun to read and we know it takes time away from other things.
Jim: Hey Steven. Appreciate it. Well, we’re halfway through the interviews, and a lot of the drills get cranked up on Saturday. Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray drew the biggest crowd on Friday when he stepped up to the podium, and I thought he handled himself well. I also spent the entire 15-minute session on Friday with Jalen Hurd, the former Vol and Baylor Bear, and I must admit he was pretty interesting. He didn’t want to talk about his departure from UT, but he was pretty confident and said he’d run a 4.3. We'll see. One player I really enjoyed spending time with was Paul Adams, an offensive lineman who played at Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville and in college at Missouri. He was very entertaining. He talked about attending the Music City Miracle as a four-year-old, and Taylor Lewan bumming a loaded potato skin from him at a radio show a few years ago. Seems like a nice young man. As for part 2 of your question, you’ll see some press conferences during free agency, after guys are signed. And coach Mike Vrabel will talk for an hour at a coach’s breakfast at the NFL owners meetings at the end of the month in Phoenix. I’ll be there and will provide the detes.
Tarn Sandhu from Selma, California
Question: I have no questions but wanted to ask if you could pass along this message to Marcus Mariota since he doesn't have any social media accounts lol. I know Marcus is the one who will lead us to a championship. If you look at his stats at this point in his career and compare them to QBs like McNair, Elway and I wanna say Aikman or another legendary QB and Mariota is keeping pace if not better. His downfield accuracy is insane and he has the heart of a lion. I just pray he wants to stay and retire a Titan and I hope JRob makes that happen. I don't speak Hawaiian but pass this message along please:
mālama i kou poo mai a me ka mālama i kou naau ikaika. TITAN UP!!!!
Jim: Hey Tarn. I’ll leave this right here. You're right, Marcus isn't on social media, but I’m sure he reads the mailbag from under an umbrella at Waikiki Beach…
Canaan Bricker from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Question: Hey Jim last time I messaged you was during the trade deadline. I came up with 2-3 trade option ideas with the Raiders. Yesterday I read an article about Titans should trade for Raiders LOL. I felt like I was ahead of the curve on that one. Lol. Anyway I have a question about John Ross and what kind of return the Bengals would want for him? I am thinking a 5th rounder since he has been.....almost non-existent.
Jim: Hey Canaan. Well, the Bengals are now saying the Ross trade talk was bogus. I’m not sure what to think, but you know what they say – Where there’s smoke there’s fire. Not sure all the smoke in Cincy is coming from the Montgomery Inn (a great rib joint). And I'm not sure what Ross might fetch. A fifth-rounder sounds pretty meh for a guy who was the ninth overall pick just a few years ago, but you take what you can get if you want to unload a guy, right? I think he’d be a pretty good get, but must admit I have a few concerns about him myself because of his injury history. Now about Antonio Brown ...
Brian Edwards from Tullahoma, Tennessee
Question: Since we are on the verge of Free Agency as opposed to the draft I thought I would pose the obvious question: What are the top Free Agents the Titans should target? While most would go for the top tier i.e. Antonio Brown, DeMarcus Lawrence, I figured maybe the more worth their value picks might bring more to the table. Tell me what you think of my list: Dee Ford OLB, Tyrell Williams WR, Rodger Saffold G, Ronald Darby CB. It’s nice to have a year where cap space is of little importance!
Jim: Hey Brian. So many guys are getting re-signed by their own teams this late in the game. Let’s wait until free agency draws closer to see who is really going to be out there. Your list includes some pretty good names, but again, I'm betting some of those guys won’t actually end up being available when all is said and done.
Paul Newton from Santa Fe, New Mexico
Question: Jim. No Mariota question, even though this could be his year with another weapon. You know I've been skeptical of him. Maybe unfairly. My question is on the defense. I think we may have one of the best ILB pair in the NFL with Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans. Just want to know your opinion on that. Thanks Jim!!!!
Jim: Hey Paul. I agree. And those guys are just going to continue to get better. And let’s not forget about Wesley Woodyard, the veteran of the group, and the team’s leading tackler once again last season -- he’s not slowing down.
Dane DiMaria from Rochester, New York
Question: Hey Jim, thanks for all you do for Titans fans! My question to you is about Mariota and what I’d say is his most critical season of his career. What do you think he needs to show this year to earn a contract extension? I’ve been a big fan of Mariota and what he’s done for the team but he’s no doubt going to have to show he can at least stay healthy for a full season. Do you think he’ll need more than that for an extension from Robinson? Thanks and have a good one!
Jim: Hey Dane. Marcus needs to stay healthy, and play better than he did last season. He has to prove he’s on the upswing.
Morgan Brooks from Franklin, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. So everyone’s talking about us needing a WR in free agency/the draft. I haven’t seen anybody say anything about Demaryius Thomas. He wouldn’t be a bad pickup for a WR2 behind Corey Davis. Just wondering what your thoughts on him and if getting him is a possibility.
Jim: Hey Morgan. Well, the Titans were interested in him last year before he was traded to Houston. Will they be in on him when free agency begins? Not sure about that. Thomas suffered a bad injury with the Texans, and he had a tough week this week if you haven’t heard. Google it.
Jimmy Dee from Battle Ground, Washington
Question: Everyone is saying we need another elite starting EDGE to play opposite Harold Landry but I'm wondering why Kamalei Correa's 3.5 sacks on 321 snaps isn't roughly as good as Landry's 4.5 sacks on 591 snaps. Hasn't Correa earned a look as a potential starter? And what's wrong with the idea of keeping Morgan on a significantly reduced salary to back up both Correa and Landry?
Jim: Hey Jimmy Dee. Hope you've rounded second and are standing on three! The Titans do need another edge rusher. Correa is going to be a part of the equation, and so will Sharif Finch, alongside Landry. But the team needs more. And while Correa flashed in 2018, we can’t ignore the fact he was a healthy scratch at least once as well. As you mentioned, Morgan’s contract is up. I have a feeling other options will be explored here.
Vincent Williams from East Palo Alto, California
Question: Jim, Do you think the Titans will upgrade the backup QB position. Possibly go after a guy like Tyrod Tyler, Teddy Bridgewater or Colin Kap? Maybe use a late rd pick to draft a QB. Thx.
Jim: Well, the GM picked a QB last year late (Luke Falk), so he’s not afraid to explore his options. Vrabel had some nice things to say about Blaine Gabbert this week when asked about the No.2 QB spot, but he said nothing definitive. I’ll just leave the tweet I sent out on Twitter, and let you read into it what you will. Here’s the tweet from @ jwyattsports: Vrabel on if he's satisfied with Blaine Gabbert behind Marcus Mariota: "Blaine did a good job. He works hard, good in locker room. Has great relationship with MM. "Right now, Blaine is our back-up quarterback and he is under contract and where that goes we'll have to see."
Richard Donnell from Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim. I just wanted to congratulate Brian Orakpo on his upcoming retirement from the NFL. I can only imagine how hard it is to play in the league for so long at that particular position. My question is this, will the free agent market be thin at the OLB position or will there be plenty to choose from? I thought Brian was an excellent player at that position. Also, I didn't know that cupcakes are a hot commodity right now.
Jim: Hey Richard. Cupcakes are always a hot commodity! And so are edge rushers. Some possibilities in free agency, yes, but some intriguing guys in the draft as well.
Clement Perry from Waxhaw, North Carolina
Question: Hey Jim!! 9-7 isn't a losing season, but definitely not where I thought we'd be. I know we got Carolina this year, in Charlotte, anyway I may be able to get on the show with you and Amie? No? Worth a shot. But serious question. I feel that we'll probably draft a DL with our first pick I like Zack Allen from BC, but if that's the focus, you think K. Correa will have more of a role? I think the energy he brought when he got on the field.
Jim: Hey Clement. You’ll need to clear this one with Amie. I mentioned Correa earlier. He’s going to be expected to do more, but the cupboard is pretty bare at the position. More help is coming. And I also like Finch – I thought he flashed as a rookie.
Damon Deal from Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst, NJ
Question: Hey Jim. Giving a shout out to the Titans from the Jersey Shore! My question is who if anyone are the Titans interested in trying to pick up for the back-up QB position in free agency? Godspeed!
Jim: Hey Damon. Good to hear from you. I mentioned the situation with Gabbert with Vincent. The GM has been really tight-lipped about the back-up QB spot, and I’m not surprised. I suspect he’s exploring his options, so we’ll have to be patient and see what happens…
Jacob McCluskey from Huntsville, Alabama
Question: Hey Jim. I am a first time writer and my question to you is how aggressive do you think Jon Robinson and the front office will be during the free agent period? I know lots of Titans fans want us to spend big money right now, but let’s not forget that big time players such as Kevin Byard, Derrick Henry, Mariota, and Conklin will be wanting big contracts in the future, as they rightfully should. I don't think that should stand in the way of maybe offering a hefty contract to a "nasty" defensive line or linebacker player. Personally, I am a big fan of Trey Flowers, Ndamukong Suh, and Za'darius Smith. One of those guys should definitely be wearing two tone blue next year. Money will be an issue, but I have complete faith in Robinson to make smart, team first moves that lead to on the field success. Do you believe the Dean Pees connection to Smith could be beneficial in luring the productive Baltimore Raven? We cannot discount the Patriot connection with Flowers also. Last year Suh made a visit to Nashville and met with coach Vrabel. Do you think Robinson may revisit that interest in Suh or has that ship sailed? Finally, I've noticed a lot of people suggesting that the Titans cut Johnathan Cyprien to save money. I am a fan of Cyp and think that he still has tons to prove as a Titan. His leadership and locker room presence is a huge plus. A three safety look of Byard, Cyp, and hopefully Kenny would be a deadly group. Thanks again for keeping us Titans fans in the loop!
Jim: Hey Jacob. I asked Jon the exact question on free agency this week, and he said a lot depends on what transpires during the three-day negotiating period prior to free agency. It will kind of let him know what the market, and price, will be like on certain guys. Last year, he was aggressive, signing Malcolm Butler and Dion Lewis right out of the gate. You’re right on the current guys in need of extensions, and that’s something that must be considered. Some of the connections you mention, though, not sure I think that plays a big role. The biggest factors will be fit and money, and how many other teams are in on those guys. I asked Suh at the Super Bowl about his interest in the Titans last offseason, and he said he enjoyed his time and visit with the team. I guess I wouldn’t rule it out since the Titans took a swing last March. As for the safety position, having Cyp, Vaccaro and Byard all on the roster would be ideal, but not sure how realistic it is.
Have a great weekend everyone!