Titans Leaning Defense at No. 5; Offense at No. 18
Updated March 2, 2017
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen broke the news Thursday that New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks was being discussed in trade talks with the Titans and Eagles. Mortensen also reported that the Titans appeared to be the most likely suitor for Cooks. It makes sense that Tennessee has interest, as the Titans could use more weapons for young franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota. In speaking with Titans sources, however, it sounds like their draft plan is to target a defensive back with their selection at fifth overall and an offensive player at No. 18 if they don't make a trade for Cooks.
The Titans like the defensive back talent in the 2017 NFL Draft, and Tennessee needs to improve the back end of their defense. The Titans like cornerbacks like Alabama's Marlon Humphrey and Ohio State's Marshon Lattimore. However, it sounds like they like safeties Jamal Adams from LSU and Malik Hooker from Ohio State more. With the fifth pick, it sounds like Tennessee's inclination is toward a safety over cornerback. The value is better at safety and on the defensive side of the ball. I currently have the Titans drafting Jamal Adams in my mock draft.
If Tennessee doesn't deal the 18th pick for Cooks, the Titans sound inclined to help their offense with that pick. The players that sound like options there are Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams, Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, and Washington wide receiver John Ross. If the Titans trade down from pick 18, then Western Michigan's Corey Davis could be in play. Trading down could tempt Tennessee because they don't have a second-round pick. However, the Titans do have multiple third-round picks that they could use to move back into Round 2.
Last year, Titans general manager Jon Robinson did a masterful job of getting a king's ransom for the No. 1 overall pick and followed that up by adding some very good young talent to the roster. First-round pick Jack Conklin, second-round pick Derrick Henry, and third-round pick Kevin Byard all impressed as rookies, with other players in the draft class flashing talent as well.