With the eighth pick of the 2011 CSC Community Mock Draft, the Tennessee Titans (represented by shipgoalie05) select...
A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
A year ago, the Tennessee Titans were considered to be one of the more stable franchises in the NFL with Jeff Fisher at the helm. Fisher had been the head coach since 1994, and it seemed unlikely that the Titans would be making any changes in the foreseeable future. Things were looking up for the Titans at quarterback as well after Vince Young led the team to an 8-2 record after replacing Kerry Collins as the starter during the 2009 season.
Over the course of the 2010 season, however, all of the hope and stability evaporated. Fisher is gone and now new head coach Mike Munchak is taking charge of his first draft. Young is also gone and it's clear that the most pressing need facing Munchak and the Titans is finding a long term solution at quarterback; the only candidate on the roster is 2010 6th round pick Rusty Smith.... Now that we're done laughing, it's obvious that the Titans must address this need during the draft. However, the top two prospects have already been taken and the next two prospects on most draft expert's boards, Washington's Jake Locker and Arkansas' Ryan Mallet, aren't worth considering with the 8th pick. Instead of taking a quarterback, the Titans must look elsewhere with their first round pick and draft a QB later on.
The Titans other draft needs begin with the defensive front seven. Improvement is needed at the linebacker position, particularly a playmaking outside linebacker that can cover tight ends. However, there are no linebacker prospects worth taking here, leaving only the D-line. Last year's first round pick, Derrick Morgan, will be returning after missing most of the season with an injury, but sacks leader Jason Babin seems unlikely to return, so depth at end is needed. At defensive tackle, Jason Jones is a promising player, but the Titans need a big body to put next to him. The Titans may also want to look at strengthening the receiver position after a season in which no player caught more than 45 passes.
The best 4-3 end prospect left on the board is UNC's Robert Quinn. In his time at UNC Quinn displayed the skills of a fierce pass rusher, recording 11 sacks in 2009 (his sophomore year). He also recorded four forced fumbles during his two-year college career, showing that he is capable of making game-changing plays. That is something that may be of particular interest to new defensive coordinator Jerry Grey, who worked under Gregg Williams in Tennessee and Buffalo. However, Quinn also has some red flags. There are questions about his character after he lied to the NCAA about receiving travel accommodations and jewelry. These lies resulted in Quinn being ruled ineligible and he missed the entire 2010 season. He is rusty, and the team that drafts him would need to get him into mini camps and training camp as soon as possible. However, with the labor issues continuing, he may suffer from the work stoppage and there is no telling how much practice Quinn could get before the season starts.
The best defensive tackle prospect on the board is Auburn's Nick Fairley. Fairley had a tremendous season in 2010, winning both the Lombardi Award and the BCS National Championship Game MVP, though he had little production the previous year. A lot has also been made of the fact that Fairley's line coach at Auburn, Tracy Rocker, now holds the same position with the Titans. Nobody in a draft war room will be more familiar with Fairley's strengths and weaknesses than Rocker is, and it is certainly possible that he can convince the Titans to pick Fairley. However, it's also possible that Rocker has grown tired of Fairley's reported lack of motivation and inconsistency. Additionally, Fairley does is not an ideal fit with the Titans. They have Jason Jones, a promising young DT who, at 276 lbs, is definitely on the light side. The Titans really need a large NT prospect to put next to him, and Fairley, who is 291 lbs, does not seem like that guy. Granted, the Titans could feed him hamburgers until he gets up to 320, but that is an unlikely scenario.
The final player the Titans could look at is Georgia's A.J. Green, but do they need a wide receiver? The Titans ended the season without a player who recorded more than 45 receptions, and the player with the most receptions was Chris Johnson. While Kenny Britt has a lot of potential, Nate Washington is best as a slot receiver. Adding Green gives the Titans a group of receivers that has the potential to be great. He was a dominant and productive player for three years in college, something that cannot be said about Quinn and Fairley. He is a polished route runner with great hands and has the ability to go up and make contested catches. There are some red flags with Green, as he had an injury his sophomore year and served a suspension for selling a jersey last year. Although, unlike Quinn, Green did not lie to the NCAA about it, so he only sat out four games, and he did not miss a beat after returning to the team.
Some may say that this team shouldn't spend a top 10 pick on a wide receiver when they have other needs that can be filled without reaching for a player. However, I believe that A.J. Green is by far the best player available and whoever the Titans take will be Mike Munchak's first draft pick. It would make sense for him to take the best overall player. Green is also the player that comes with the least amount risk, considering the fact that Quinn did not play last year and Fairley's lack of consistent production throughout his career. Additionally, the Titans franchise will only go as far as their future quarterback can take them, and adding A.J. Green to an offense that already has Chris Johnson and Kenny Britt will give that quarterback, likely a 2nd or 3rd round pick, the weapons he needs to be as successful as he can be.
Thanks to all the CSC members who participated in this years community mock draft. Without your help, none of this would be possible.
Below are the complete results from our community mock draft.
Catch up with all of the mock draft selections in our 2011 CSC Community Mock Draft Section.
|Pick||Team||Selection||Team Representative||Approval Rating|
|1||Carolina Panthers||QB Cam Newton - Auburn||DatFan||35%|
|2||Denver Broncos||DT Marcell Dareus - Alabama||Jeff.l.b||71%|
|3||Buffalo Bills||QB Blaine Gabbert - Missouri||SpreeGoogs||52%|
|4||Cincinnati Bengals||DE Da'Quan Bowers - Clemson||coldpizza||73%|
|5||Arizona Cardinals||CB Patrick Peterson - LSU||GRIZZ||61%|
|6||Cleveland Browns||DE Cameron Jordan - Cal||theprogrammerman||11%|
|7||San Francisco 49ers||LB Von Miller - Texas A&M||who dat patate|
|8||Tennessee Titans||WR A.J. Green - Georgia||shipgoalie05|