Oh my gosh, they've named the Unknown Soldier!
Well, not really, but pretty darn close to it. Texas safety Michael Griffin certainly wasn't on the radar of any analysts as a Titans' pick, as far as I know. Nor was any other safety, to my knowledge.
Safety is by no means a position of primary concern on a team with multiple needs. Chris Hope is firmly entrenched as the strong safety and proved to be an excellent free agent acquisition last year. The free safety position is certainly in need of an upgrade, but the Titans already have a cluster of players to compete for the position.
The top four defensive ends in the draft were already off the board before the Titans' turn at #19 arrived. However, some good receivers and cornerbacks were still available. Receivers Robert Meachem, Dwayne Bowe and Dwayne Jarrett were all on the board, as were cornerbacks Leon Hall,
Chris Houston and Aaron Ross.
My initial feelings were somewhat assuaged after listening to the Titans' press conference shortly after the Griffin pick was announced.
Jeff Fisher said Griffin could play safety, nickleback and corner.
Scout C.O. Brocato reported Griffin was good at turning his hips, backpedaling, and had good speed, all indicating he can play corner. Brocato also said Griffin came to Texas as a corner, before being converted to safety.
It was also mentioned that Griffin was an excellent punt blocker (eight blocks) and was also a gunner for the Longhorns' punt coverage unit. He could definitely contribute on special teams.
- This is the summary of the NFL's scouting report on Griffin:
Compares To: Mike Minter, Carolina Panthers
Teams are looking for players who can play both safety positions, and Griffin fits that mold
Like Minter, he is a sound field technician who makes plays on a steady basis
He is adequate, but not great neutralizing the inside running game and is not really strong enough to play inside the box
But he has great range and quickness for man coverage, showing the timing and acceleration to close on the ball in a hurry
He also adds to his skills as one of college football's all-time greats in blocking kicks.
- This is what MVN's NFL Draft University's Dan Wernery reports on Griffin in his positional ranking of safeties:
Griffin will not make it past the Dallas Cowboys. At 5-11 some think he lacks the ideal height to play safety. If he were 6-0 tall we wouldnt mention height. Its amazing how one inch can make that much of difference. Griffin is the type of safety who always looks for the knockout punch. The thing I like about Griffin is his athletic ability. If a safety is over aggressive he better be able to recover well and Griffin can do that.
Fisher indicated various scenarios still exist for a possible trade with San Diego for Michael Turner. Shortly later, I heard that the Chargers called the Titans about a possible trade for Griffin, which might be part of a deal for Turner.
There is an internet rumor that's been going on today which claims the Titans have traded with Detroit for Mike Williams, but I have not yet seen any confirmation of it. If true, it does lessen the need at receiver depth-wise, but not starter-wise.