The Titans have several options in the draft
Why the Titans should select a receiver with their first draft pick: OK, it's well documented that Tennessee has had problems for years with the receiving corps. The Titans haven't had a 1,000 yard receiver since 2004. Last year, the Titans finished the regular season ranked 24th in the league in receptions, 27th in receiving yards per game, and 32nd (dead last) in the league, in receiving touchdowns. Dead last -- that's sucking hind teat. The runt of a litter always sucks hind teat and is usually the first one to die.
The offense has only functioned well when the running game has been working. When opponents put eight men in the box to stop the run, the Titans have been unable to take advantage with a deep threat playmaker. They need a new type of receiver, someone different, someone who's fast, 4.4 or less, to stretch the field and make defenses commit a safety to deep coverage. They definitely don't need another "possession receiver" who runs a 4.5 and won't command defensive attention.
Why the Titans should select a defensive end with their first draft pick: Antwan Odom and Travis LaBoy have left in free agency. Who's going to replace them? Jevon Kearse could become a great situational pass rusher again but he's no longer an every down player. I don't expect him to play more than 25-30 snaps per game, not all of them effective, and those will be in passing situations. The Titans need someone to stop the run on first downs, third and short situations, and on the goal line. Bryce Fisher isn't the answer. Jacob Ford is an undersized edge rusher who probably won't do more than back up Kyle Vanden Bosch and Kearse. KVB is an every down player on the right side, but the Freak needs a partner to stop the run in the platoon at the other end.
Why the Titans should select a defensive tackle with their first draft pick: Two reasons. First, as much as I appreciate what Tony Brown has done for the Titans, his position is definitely in need of an upgrade. Tony is probably the smallest DT in the league. He played decently with Albert Haynesworth lined up next to him last year, but when Big Al was sidelined, Tony's vulnerabilities were exposed. The second reason why the Titans should select a DT is as an insurance policy, a potential replacement for Albert. Remember, Big Al has been franchised this year, but if Mike Reinfeldt doesn't pony up enough money for a long-term extension, Albert may be gone next year.
What are the other possibilities? The Titans could also upgrade the running back position. Yes, LenDale White was drafted to be Jeff Fisher's type of back, an Eddie George-style grinder who could pound the ball, move the chains and wear defenses down. Despite rushing for over 1,000 yards last season, White hasn't lived up to expectations. So far, there's no sign Chris Henry might be the answer either. It wouldn't be a shock if Jonathan Stewart or Rashard Mendenhall hears his name called at #24, if one of them is still available.
What about cornerback? Nick Harper will be 34 years old this fall and is not that good in man coverage. This is another position that definitely needs to be addressed, the sooner the better.
Does Mike Reinfeldt select the best player available? It's always an intriguing possibility and there will always be arguments whether to draft for a position of need or to simply select the best player available, regardless of position. In his first year as the Titans' GM, Reinfeldt selected safety Michael Griffin with the intentions of converting him to a cornerback, despite perceived needs at receiver and defensive end. Cornerback wasn't perceived to be a primary need a year ago, but it was a need. Drafting Griffin was somewhat of a departure from the drafting for need line of thought. Will Reinfeldt stray from the norm again this year? I've just heard him say he subscribes to the BPA theory.
A new poll has been started and I'd appreciate your votes on it. The question is which position the Titans will draft for in the first round. Please note, the question is not which position you think should be addressed first, but it's the position for which you think Reinfeldt will select first. Usually, I ask what you would prefer, but in this case I believe the answer would be almost unanimous for WR. That's why I've changed the question a little to ask you to look into your crystal balls and predict what Reinfeldt will do.
Our last poll asked which free agent acquisition you thought would help the Titans the most this year. Your votes were:
Alge Crumpler 49
Jake Scott 22
Jevon Kearse 11
Justin McCareins 5
There is a general consensus that there are three areas of need the Titans need to address in this draft. The Titans need help at receiver, defensive end and defensive tackle. We've had some good discussion here on Total Titans about the various receivers who might be drafted and I'd like to expand the discussion to include the other possibilities.