I know this article has been a long time coming but to be fair, the past few months for me have been a rollercoaster of events and emotions that anyone who has ever been through a divorce (even though I was only engaged) can tell you, the first few months after you are just doing your best to breath and make it to the next day. Anywho, there is my backstory and although I know it’s not a good excuse keeping everyone on hold, it’s what has prevented me from posting. With that being said, let’s move forward.
First off, WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED IN THE DRAFT?!!!! After pick seven Mike Mayock and I were both pulling our hair going WHAT THE F*$%!!!. So much for Defensive Line or Offensive Line in the first round, I had originally been forecasting Wide Receiver back in January (yes there are articles to prove it) but I changed my mind and probably got caught up in the jedi mind trick that the coaching staff threw out there. For those that have been sleeping on desert island with a group of outcasts trying to find out how they survived the plane crash and can’t believe that the Red Sox won a World Series (yes that was a Lost reference). The Titans decided to draft Wide Receiver in the first round of last month’s annual NFL draft by choosing Kendall Wright WR out of Baylor. This pick screams a number of things but mostly it says the Titans at this point feel like they cannot rely on Kenny Britt to stay healthy and what to ensure they dont get caught up like they did last year when he went down. Some fans may argue that Nate Washington did step up but let’s be honest, a 7 year veteran that had his first 1,000 receiving season isn’t something to get excited about. I am a fan of Washington but at the same time it’s time for us to put some youth in our receiving corps and youth that has proven, produce for me now talent. Williams is a true endzone threat but he isn’t a guy that is going to make those stretch plays down field, Britt is consistently hurt, Washington is hit or miss and Hawkins may have finally found his way onto the field, but it wasn’t due to breakout play.
Wright is a message being sent to the receiving corps “we are prepared to move forward, and someone is going to be losing a job.” Mariani is a return threat (as is Wright) but Mariani has a Pro Bowl to go with his return game, Washington brings veteran experience and still has the ability to make plays (and has last years production behind him to prove it), Britt has his production, huge upside playing for him and recent first round draft selection going for him, Williams has upside and has proven he can make big plays in the endzone and on the boundaries and Wright is a first round draft pick that has speed to stretch the field and get those “in between” yards. I hate to say this but I am sorry Hawk….but you are the weakest link, you are not the biggest loser, you have been chopped, you are not America’s next top model, Your’e Fired, you have been voted off the island, you are no longer welcome in the Real World house, you do not get a rose. It’s not personal, it’s business, your production just hasn’t been what we hoped it would be with you playing alongside Desean Jackson in college. You have flashed at times but this is a game and league of consistency, if you can’t prove to be that consistent player, then you are gonna fall short of a roster.
A few other players I would expect to see on the chopping block are as follows
Daniel Graham TE
Javon Ringer RB
Ryan Mouton CB
Just to name a few players that had upside but just didn’t quite make enough plays the past few seasons to give the coaching staff a reason to keep them onboard after this upcoming training camp. In addition to this, I expect to see a few changes in positions. Wimbley was brought in as a pure Wide 9 Technique edge rusher and in my prediction will end up replacing an injury prone Derrick Morgan who has yet to live up to his 1st round draft status. This leaves an open Defensive End postion which one of the rookies could possibly take BUT in my opinion I think second year Defensive standout out Karl Klug would be best served coming off the edge, allowing him to use his hand to hand technique to get after the Quarterback, this also makes room for Rookie Mike Martin to take over the DT position left vacant by Klug’s move to the outside. This now puts Wimbley at LE, Casey and Martin at DTs and Klug at RE with Ayers, McCarthy and Witherspoon (possibly Brown) shooting through the A-C gaps in run support.
In the secondary, I expect to see Campbell take over the left CB position and bumping Verner inside to the Nickelback spot, letting him use his intelligence and quick reading ability to cover the slot receiver. This gives you Campbell’s 4.3 speed to play man coverage on fast receivers looking to stretch the field on the outside. Also, In doing so, this gives Griffin the ability to play more center field and deep zone coverage at his Free Safety position with either Rookies Coty Sensabaugh or Markelle Marting taking over the Strong Safety spot and McCourty locking down the right side of the field.
Again, this is just my prediction and how myself as a coach would utilize my players and their abilities. The above would be a great fit for any 4-3 Defensive scheme, giving you players with diverse skills that can come down into run support and drop back into pass protection in any given call. Personally, if Klug stays at DT, I would like to see Solomon take over the RE or LE position (depending which one we see Wimbley take over).
So far in Organized Team Activities we have heard various reports that the Rookies are coming along nicely and that they have shown why they were drafted giving their work ethic and talent. Noone is going to make the roster in May and June but the information they take in and are able to absorb in May and the coming month of June will surely go a long way during July’s training camp. I think for now however we can all just enjoy the fact that we have offseason to discuss which players we think will have the biggest impact (I’ll get to that article later) in their second and rookie years.