Earlier this year the Titans picked second in the 2015 NFL Draft. Tennessee picked Heisman winning Oregon QB Marcus Mariota at #2 and he has shown flashes this year that he is the future of the franchise under center. The problem is that there are so many holes on the team that GM Ruston Webster doesn’t even really know where to start looking for help for the team. Another problem is that Webster could be fired next Monday after the Titans wrap up their season against Indianapolis.
With shaky ownership, uncertainty at General Manager and a lame duck interim head coach it’s really no surprise that Tennessee is the worst team in the league. But with all the parity in the NFL the Titans can get back to the playoffs in a season or two if they can get their stuff together and build a competitive team around Mariota.
The offensive line has been bad for the Titans in 2015. The worst part is that they spent their 2013 and 2014 first round picks on Chance Warmack and Taylor Lewan. When you go offensive line in two straight drafts that should not be one of the main weaknesses on the three years later. Will Tennessee pick another lineman in the first round? Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil is thought to be one of the top prospects in the draft and will likely go in the top 5. Can the Titans justify picking three offensive linemen in four years in the draft? Can they afford not too? Mariota has shown that he has the tools to be a Pro Bowl caliber QB in the NFL but he’s also shown that he’s not very durable, missing several games this year due to injury. If Mariota is the future in Tennessee the Titans hands are tied and will have to pick up another lineman.
There are other blue-chip linemen in the draft such as Ronnie Stanley from Notre Dame and Taylor Decker from Ohio State. Both men are projected to go in the top 15 and Tennessee won’t have another pick until #33, the first pick in the second round.
Should Tennessee trade back and pick up more picks for the first overall selection they could find themselves in position to get a a blue-chip lineman and help in the secondary that they desperately need.
The Titans really need help at corner and safety. Sunday DeAndre Hopkins abused the Titans going off for 117 yards. Coty Sensabaugh and Blidi Wreh-Wilson have been awful all year giving up big plays to Travis Benjamin. In addition to picking first in the draft, should they lose Sunday the Titans could be a player in free agency when it opens in the Spring. There are some premier players on the market and Tennessee could be in the market for guys like Josh Norman, Janoris Jenkins and Eric Berry. The free agent market will do a lot in determining which way Tennessee goes in the draft.
The Titans have to hope that another team will fall in love with Tunsil, Joey Bosa, Jared Goff or Jalen Ramsey and make a move to get to the top of the draft. Unlike last year there doesn’t appear to be two QBs at the top that would incite a bidding war to get the first pick.
There is still a lot to be determined as the Titans still have to lose to the Colts Sunday. Indianapolis is starting a QB that wasn’t even drafted, Stephen Morris. The Titans could screw it up and wind up picking second for the second straight year. A quarterback could blow up in a bowl game this week and showout at the Combine which could set up a bidding war against two or more teams.
The only thing for sure is that the Titans need to get the 2016 draft right and can’t afford to be at the top of the draft in 2017 if they want to keep the fans from giving up on the franchise.