The Titans just named a new team president, general manager and head coach after the 2015 season. With a 3-13 record they will have the first pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. There is a lot of speculation about just who Tennessee would pick and if they will trade down for more picks. With Cleveland picking #2 and likely taking a QB the Titans can leverage that against any other team that might want to have a chance of drafting the best QB in the draft. But what if new GM Jon Robinson blew the team up and traded away last year’s first round pick Marcus Mariota?
Robinson came from New England where a draft day trade was a regular occurrence and the Patriots built their roter by picking up more picks later in the draft. If the new general manager in Nashville wanted to do the unthinkable and trade away last year’s #2 pick it would be unheard of. But with San Fransisco picking 7th under new coach Chip Kelly Tennessee might be able to stockpile picks this year and next year in order for the two former Oregon Ducks to be reunited. Last year Kelly tried to trade up for Mariota but couldn’t make a deal and his former QB went to the Titans.
Mariota is from Hawaii and went to school in the Pacific Northwest. Nashville is approximately a 12 hour plane ride from Hawaii. If the Niners wanted to make a play for the former Heisman winner he’d probably be on board. But to get him the Niners would have to offer up pretty much all their picks this year, a number one next year and possibly a little more.
Mariota lit up the Bucs in week one passing for 209 yards and 4 touchdowns in his first NFL game. He had two games that he threw for over 300 yards and looks to have a bright future ahead in the league. However, the Titans QB missed four games due to two separate knee injuries. The team shut him down in late December when the season was in the tank in order to get him healed up for 2016. If the 49ers came calling would the Titans be willing to listen? I’d says so. Fans in Nashville would lose their minds if the Titans shipped him off to San Fransisco. But if Tennessee comes away with a boatload of picks this year and next why not? The team is clearly the laughing stock of the league. Why not blow it up and build for the future.
If the Titans do trade down with the #1 pick and wind up with several more picks in the draft this year, imagine how may picks they’d have if they traded Mariota as well? Robinson could hit the rest button by signing off on a trade that would set the team up with a ton of picks.
Let’s use the example of the Titans trading back to #4 with the Cowboys and letting Mariota go to the Niners for the 7th pick. Here’s where they could wind up picking in the first two rounds.
#4 pick in 1st round (from Dallas)
#7 pick in 1st round (from San Fransisco)
#33 pick in second round
#35 pick in second round (from Dallas)
#38 in second round (from San Fransisco)
That’s five picks in the first 38 picks. That’s not even counting additional picks in later rounds and #1 picks next year from both teams. If Tennessee came away with Jalen Ramsey (CB Florida State) at #4 and Robert Nkemdiche (DT Ole Miss) at #7 that would give them two key pieces on both defense to build around for the future. Early in round two they could grab Derrick Henry (RB Alabama) at #33, Shaq Lawson (DE Clemson) at #35, Shon Coleman (OT Auburn) at #38. In the third round Tennessee could draft Dak Prescott or another QB and like Connor Cook who will be there.
In the 2017 draft Tennessee could have 3 #1 picks with Leonard Fournette, Deshaun Watson, and Nick Chubb all coming out next year. It may be unpopular with fans but if Jon Robinson wants to start from scratch and build his own roster he may have the opportunity to do it by dealing Mariota and the first pick.
What do you think? Would you hit the reset button and give up Mariota for more draft picks?