I did a post like this last year, and now it's time for this year's edition. NFL Films guru Greg Cosell is doing a series of draft review podcasts discussing how each team drafted with Doug Farrar of Yahoo's Shutdown Corner, and the AFC South one posted a little bit ago. As with last year's, there's a lot of good stuff in there, on the Titans and the other teams in the division, and I'll be posting overviews rather than transcriptions.
The most interesting discussion in the podcast is the one Farrar highlighted in his post, Cosell's comments on fifth-round defensive end Lavar Edwards. He had some pretty high praise for him as a potential sub package pass rusher at defensive end, and Farrar likes him as well. The problem I have with that was, is that really how the Titans see him? My initial reaction, which stayed the same in my follow-up piece on Edwards, is that's not how the Titans see Edwards at all. Rather, I think they see him as a closed-side end in their base 4-3 look who may be a contributor in sub package situations.
The only real evidence we've gotten, from the press conferences immediately after they drafted him, tend in my view to support my initial reaction. As I think more on the subject, though, I think he could see some more time at end in nickel, either as part of a 3- or 4-man line, because of his bulk compared to a player like Wimbley and that explosiveness in his movement Cosell noted. I've noted before how the Titans will play nickel and just how the defensive line rotation might shake out are still relative mysteries to me.
After the jump, thoughts on Cosell's thoughts on the other rookies.
Chance Warmack: Cosell covered him in some length when he and Farrar discussed offensive linemen before the draft, and he's a relatively known quantity. Will be a very good player, strong, good athlete for his size. Speaking personally, though, I need to see Warmack be a good pass protector at right guard before I trust him there. That may speak to my limitations as an evaluator and projector more than anything else, but the stuff he did at Alabama that rightly had people agog at what he did was not that. He should be fine, I expect him to be fine sooner or later, but I need to see it.
Justin Hunter: The most purely explosive wideout in this draft, with length, fluidity, speed, and explosion. Listening to Cosell talk about Hunter, he likes his ability to accelerate off the snap and build speed quicker than most players with similar good deep speed. Cosell finds him intriguing. I need to see him catch the ball well consistently.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson: There are a number of corners who get drafted in the second and third rounds who have the physical attributes to become starting NFL corners. Cosell definitely puts Wreh-Wilson in that category thanks to his size, length, and movement. Not all of those corners succeed? Why do some succeed and others fail? From Cosell's perch and mine, it's hard to say. It may be the player, the coaching, the situation, or something else. Farrar wondered if he might be the slot corner or an outside guy who pushes Alterraun Verner inside. Cosell concurs with my opinion he's more of an outside guy, and that's where the Titans would want to put him, with Verner going to the slot or safety. As I noted when I covered Verner recently, I think Verner is definitely an NFL player but one who doesn't fit what the Titans are ideally looking for in either position.
Zaviar Gooden: Fast flow run and chase linebacker with great speed and range. Is he soft? Cosell noted Lavonte David as an example of a weakside linebacker who never played soft. Gooden is not David. Ruston Webster said last year he didn't care about that sort of thing if the Titans thought they could reach a guy. They clearly did with Zach Brown, who played much more physical than I and many other expected as a rookie. Will Gooden do the same? Jerry Gray has been rightly taking a very cautious line, noting he needs to play well when the pads come on. I normally only kind of look forward to preseason games, but he's a guy I really want to see.
Brian Schwenke: Cosell noted "he's probably going to start." My baseline assumption has been that Velasco has about a 75% chance of being the starter at center, with Schwenke most likely not taking over until 2014. Cosell apparently dropped by Baptist Sports Park on a recent (June) visit to Nashville, so I may need to update my assessment based on what may (or may not) be inside information. Both Farrar and Cosell thought he has a chance to be a longtime starter in the league. He won't necessarily be an All-Pro, but Cosell praised his quickness, balance, and movement skills and how he got to the second level, but noted he sometimes struggled to sustain blocks when he had to block immediately. Facing a couple 3-4 teams in the division, that could be an issue.
Khalid Wooten: Some players are consistent-Luke Joeckel may have been the best example of this sort of player in the class. Other players are more like Wooten, an 8 some games and a 2 others. At his best, he looks like he could be a solid corner. In others, he looks like a stiff. Farrar and Cosell noted he's a much better press corner than he is playing off coverage. Cosell compared him to Bradley Fletcher, who's stiff and unathletic enough he tends to struggle badly playing off but can be reasonably effective playing press.
Daimion Stafford: Cosell noted he looked big on film and was clearly better playing downhill and driving forward than he was turning and running. Does he look big because he is that big, or because guys who are slow look bigger than they are and guys who are fast don't look as big? Stafford is not small, but it could easily be a mix of both. Seventh-round picks tend to be seventh-round picks for good reason.
Anyway, there's a lot more in the podcast I didn't cover, on the Titans rookies, and the rest of the AFC South, so give the whole thing a listen.
This is a terribly written article, where did you learn to write professionally? Listen to this quote: "...the stuff he did at Alabama that rightly had people agog at what he did was not that" Could you possibly write that statement in a more confusing way?
And this... "The most purely explosive wideout in this draft, with length, fluidity, speed, and explosion." Do you really think you are explaining how "explosive" he is by using the word "explosion"?!?
Please go back to school and learn how to write articles that are both concise and informative, thanks!
@deberryw The Hunter quotes are actually notes straight from listening to Cosell. I didn't use precise quotes, since I didn't transcribe everything he said, but "the most purely explosive wideout in the draft" and "length, fluidity, speed, and explosion" were both ways Cosell described him.
Thanks for the comment.
@ThomasGower @deberryw Oh, okay, thanks for the explanation, I didn't realize these were direct quotes. I thought you would go back over and ensure they flowed, but I do know how touchy people can get on being misquoted, even if it sounds better. I regret using such an insulting tone and retract the negativity expressed towards you and your education.
@deberryw Ah, no big deal. Transcripts are always tough, especially when you aren't doing things absolutely verbatim. I should have made it clearer in the post.
As for Edwards I mentioned on one your blogs awhile ago that he was part of a mush rush at LSU and played behind a Top 10 pick and a second day pick. He has a prototypical build for a run defending end but also surprising pass rush skills. I think in limited time he got to QB's as often as Mingo. The Titans recognized that I'm sure and see the same thing. I bet they play him limited snaps with the hope he takes over early downs from Ropati at some point this year seems how Edwards isn't "just" a big bodied run defender.
Warmack actually struggled in pass pro and that was one of the major developments during OTA's id Matthews and Munch spent lots of time helping him with his technique. He has such a stout body that as long as gets his hands on guys he will mask some of his issues in pass pro until he improves. I think the major advantage he has is all 3 Tight ends for TN are exceptional blockers and more importantly Levitre and Roos are so fundamentally sound that Velasco can focus on helping Warmack.
Hunter had no hands issues before his ACL injury, guys with ACL injuries struggle their first year back because they lose concentration while thinking about their knee rather than just playing. I think a year removed he should be over the hump and really be a better hands catcher than people who only saw him play this last year. I have more concerns over him getting off press at his sub 200 pound frame.
Blidi is fighting Campbell for a starting role on the outside with Verner fighting Sensabaugh at the nickel. However I wouldn't count Verner out seems how he has proven reliable whereas Campbell has not and Blidi is an unknown commodity. Blidi might play a slot role against teams like New England who have a bigger TE but lack outside receiving threats but otherwise I fully expect him and Campbell to fight for the starting spot opposite McCourty.
Gooden I think everyone know he is an insurance policy for Brown and gives them a chance to cut salary by letting Bailey go. Million dollar special teamers who aren't solid on defense are expendable. Gives them a demon on special teams and depth on the outside.
Schwenke snaps and pulls better than any center I have seen so it's odd to hear he struggles in that department. I doubt he starts this year but If he impresses it's fair to say Velasco walks in 2014. Schwenke is extremely athletic which will surprise people.
Wooten isn't Fletcher. Wooten has size to press and almost a safety body. He is very fast for a guy nearly 210 pounds so it's more a matter of him becoming consistent and developing seems how I doubt he is active this year if he makes the team.
Stafford is a guy I like but I think the Titans really want someone who can eventually be a starter who isn't 30 years old and learning from Wilson and Pollard will help him tremendously. Markelle Martin is an unknown and hasn't been able to stay healthy and the Titans have nobody at safety besides Griffin, Pollard and Wilson who I would have any faith in. I could see this being a priority in next years draft.
@BrianFlanagan We'll see about Edwards. I don't think I've read anything really negative on him yet, so why'd he end up in the fifth round? Just because he was the backup to two guys who went higher? Maybe.
I think right now they're hoping somebody can emerge at strong safety between Martin, Stafford, Tracy Wilson, anybody. Pollard and Wilson gives them enough for 2013, but they may be shopping for another starter-type next offseason with Wilson around probably as a "I hope we don't have to play him too much" stopgap.
He was a steal by most accounts. He doesn't have a ton of tape like most starters and for his size he doesn't always take on O-linemen like he should nor does he bend the edge but he's not an undersized speed rusher like the NFL has fallen in love with like his teammate Mingo, Kearse for TN in 99' . Seems teams are more in love with 300 pound freaks like Mario Williams, Ansah of the Lions or smaller quicker guys who can get under blockers like Bruce Irvin and Mingo. Edwards is the equivalent of Mike Martin at DT underrated guy who wins on effort more than sheer talent.
1000% agree god help us if we are relying on Tracy Wilson, Markelle Martin, Rojo or Stafford anytime soon. Truly hoping we can find a younger stud in draft next year but seems how we threw a 3rd rounder away on the Hunter trade and we likely will need an OT or two with Roos and Stewarts options might not be able to get one in early rounds.
I do think Griffin will bounce back, he has the stability he has lacked since Hope got hurt a few years ago. He needs someone who can play the box and also tell him where to lineup at times. Babs and Rojo are not those guys but Pollard and Wilson definitely are.