The Titans announced Jon Robinson will be the new GM, replacing Ruston Webster who was fired last week after the season ended. Robinson came over as the director of player personnel from Tampa where he helped select Jameis Winston last year with the first pick in the 2015 NLF Draft. Winston was a controversial pick due to his time at Florida State but he Bucs stood their ground and picked him anyway. The former Heisman winner proved them right by having a big year as a rookie.
Like last year, Robinson will have a lot of say in who is drafted first and his fingerprints could be all over the first round before it’s all said and done. The Titans will pick first and are in the best position heading into the draft in April. The Browns will be picking second and are likely going to grab a QB. The Titans could leverage that and trade the first pick if a team that wants a quarterback comes calling. It’s thought that Jared Goff from Cal and Paxton Lynch are the best two QBs in the draft. If a team like Dallas or San Fransisco wants to get ahead of Cleveland the Titans could ask for a ton in return and still wind up with a top ten pick.
Before Ruston Webster was let go, the word around the locker room was that there were two guys very high on their radar, Laremy Tunsil and Robert Nkemdiche, both from Ole Miss. Offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil is considered the best lineman in the draft. Most mock drafts have him going in the top five to Tennessee or San Diego. Nkemdiche is an intriguing player who may have hurt himself by some shenanigans in Atlanta last month. He was thought to be a top five pick but after his meltdown in a hotel room the defensive lineman has toppled down a lot of draft boards.
If the Titans stick to their guns and use the first pick Tunsil will probably be their guy. But if the team does trade back Nkemdiche is a viable option. Both would upgrades to the team and would be starters in week 1 next season.
With the Patriots forfeiting their first round pick as a result of the deflated footballs scandal the Titans will pick again at #33 in the second round, which is basically another first round pick. If Tennessee winds up with two second round picks as a result of a trade who is to say they can’t jump back into the first round and grab another player in the middle of the round? Should Nkemdiche fall to 15 or 16 the team suddenly has ammunition to jump up and get him.
If Tennessee trades back and loses out on Tunsil it’s thought that Ronnie Stanley is the next best thing. The Notre Dame lineman is also considered to be a top ten pick and would be an instant upgrade on the offensive line. Another intriguing prospect is Jalen Ramsey. The Titans need help badly in the secondary. As the best corner in the draft Ramsey would be a starter immediately. He’d also be a fan-friendly pick since he grew up in the area. He’s not worthy of the top pick but if Robinson elects to trade back Ramsey is a rookie who would fit nicely with the team right away as a player and in the community.
But if the new general manager, Jon Robinson has other plans the team could go in a different direction altogether. Robinson spent twelve years with the Patriots organization and was an integral part of drafting Rob Gronkowski in the second round in 2010. New England always picked late in the first round due to their success but the team never fell off despite having to pick later in the draft than most teams. Robinson has an eye for talent and has a track record of making late round picks work in New England. If he can draft players on the last day of the draft that can become playmakers Tennessee could turn things around faster than expected.
If Robinson can pull off a blockbuster trade and still wind up with a top ten pick, two second round picks and more first round draft picks down the road he could shake up the draft this year and for years to come. He could also make a splash immediately in Nashville and set the Titans up for the next few years with extra draft picks. In his first few months Robinson has the ability to shape not just the draft but the NFL for years to come.