Widely regarded as this April's upcoming draft's #1 CB prospect, Florida's Joe Haden was touted as a surefire Top 10 selection. A well-rounded corner with good size (5'11" 190 lbs), Haden was expected to be long gone by the time the Tennessee Titans were on the clock midway through the first round.
Then, the NFL Combine happened. Haden's pedestrian 4.6, 40-yard dash time raised plenty of eyebrows and caused many to wonder if he cost himself a spot in the top-ten with his less-than-stellar performance.
Considering the Titans' possible need at the CB position, things could get pretty interesting if Haden is still available at pick #16 next month.
Yesterday, Andrew speculated about it, and now it's officially happened: the Titans signed free agent linebacker Will Witherspoon. Per the Tennessean, it's a three year deal for $11 million, with $5 million of that guaranteed. That's a little bit longer and larger of a deal than I was expecting, but not out of line for a starting linebacker. And, make no bones about it, you can pretty much fill Witherspoon name in pen at the weakside outside linebacker spot that had been occupied by Keith Bulluck for the previous 8 seasons.
For more on the linebackers, check out our offseason positional analyses of the outside linebackers and middle linebackers. Between Witherspoon, Tulloch, McRath, and Thornton, the Titans should now be set at starters at the position for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. This also means the Titans don't have to address the position early in the draft, so continue your speculation as to which defensive end or corner you think the Titans are most likely to pick.
What do you think of the Witherspoon signing? Happy to see them address OLB in free agency? Sad it increases the chance Keith Bulluck won't be back?
AdamJT13, who's made a hobby of projecting the NFL's compensatory pick awards, just published his projections for the compensatory picks for the 2010 NFL draft. As everyone would expected, the Titans will get a compensatory pick at the end of the 3rd round (the highest possible slot) for losing Albert Haynesworth, but he also projected the Titans to definitely get two 7th round selections, for Eric King and Daniel Loper, and a 7th or possibly even a 6th round pick for Chris Carr.
Assuming he's right, that would given the Titans a total of 10 picks in the 2010 NFL draft-their natural 1st and 3rd through 7th, plus those 4 compensatory picks. Now, 7th round picks are not particularly valuable, but since compensatory picks cannot be traded, more of the guys fighting for the spots at the bottom of the 53-man roster will be draft picks rather than undrafted free agents. Given that the Titans are a relatively unattractive team for UDFAs due to their recent history of not keeping any of them, I suspect those 3 extra 7th round picks the Titans may receive will be quite welcome at Baptist Sports Park.
Traveling at the snail-like pace that we're accustomed to seeing from this franchise at the onset of free agency, the Tennessee Titans have yet to sign anyone since the player movement floodgates opened a few days ago. As the Chicago Bears of the world have been throwing money at UFAs, the Titans have engaged in their more practical, less aggressive approach towards signing new players.
With DE Jason Babin's visit to Nashville today and tomorrow and some mild interest towards fellow veteran DE Marques Douglas, Mike Reinfeldt and Co. have obviously focused upon bringing in some experience at defensive end as they get their feet wet in free agency-palooza 2010.
We conclude our look at the Titans as they enter the 2010 league year with a look at the running backs, both at tailback and fullback.
That discussion starts, of course, with #28 Chris Johnson, who's only the third most prominent player on this site's masthead because there wasn't a good enough picture to put him in a prominent enough position for the role he plays on the Titans. Somewhat of a surprise pick in 2008's first round, he quickly proved his doubters wrong, adding a much-needed element of explosiveness and big play ability to a Titans offense that, to be kind, did not excel in those departments.