AFC South: Tennessee Titans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans aren’t expected to receive a compensatory draft pick in 2015.

They lost cornerback Alterraun Verner to Tampa Bay in free agency last offseason, but added linebacker Wesley Woodyard and right tackle Michael Oher. (Quality of play isn’t a factor; contracts and playing time are.)

(Here’s Over the Cap’s projected compensatories.)

Odds are they won’t get a compensatory pick in 2016, either.

The list of players they could lose in free agency is an unimpressive one, with only one player -- outside linebacker Derrick Morgan -- qualifying as anything close to marquee.

The Titans have pledged to be active in free agency, and the odds suggest they will add more than they can lose.

Here’s Pro Football Focus’ breakdown of the Titans’ free agents.

Only four guys have significant positive grades. Two of them are the team’s punter and kicker and a third is left tackle Michael Roos, who’s recovering from significant knee surgery and said he’s contemplating retirement.
We will hear a lot between now and the draft about the potential for Eagles coach Chip Kelly, who now has power over personnel in Philadelphia, to make a move to reunite with Marcus Mariota.

Kelly coached Mariota, the Heisman Trophy winner, at Oregon.

[+] EnlargeMarcus Mariota
AP Photo/Jae C. HongIf the Eagles want to move up to No. 2 for Marcus Mariota they would have to offer the Titans a blockbuster package.
The Eagles have an uncertain quarterback situations after Nick Foles drop-off in 2014 prior to his season-ending injury. Mark Sanchez replaced Foles, had mixed results and has an expiring contract.

Mark Eckel of has a source who told him the Eagles will try to move up to get Mariota, though they know it will be difficult.

Could this mean Philadelphia is a trade partner for the Titans?

The cost of jumping from the Eagles' spot at 20 to the Titans' spot at 2 could make it impossible. Eckel’s report acknowledges it would probably take two trades to get in range for Mariota.

If Tampa Bay doesn't take Mariota first overall and the Eagles wanted to move to No. 2 to select him, it would take a monster deal.

In 2012, Washington gave up the fifth pick in the draft, the 33rd pick in the draft, a 2013 first-round pick and a 2014 first-round pick to get the second pick from the Rams.

That was for a three-spot drop in the first round and a player, Robert Griffin III, generally regarded by the league as a can’t-miss talent.

Mariota won’t likely have as much pull/value.

But considering the haul the Rams collected for a small first-round drop, the Titans expectation for a move from 2 to 20 would be gigantic.

The old-school draft value chart (often called the Jimmy Johnson chart) should be getting deemphasized a bit in favor of new analytical charts like this one from Chase Stuart of Football Perspective.

“Teams generally stick to the Jimmy Johnson chart at the top of the draft, although that can change in years where the top picks aren't considered to be as valuable,” Stuart told me. “Remember, a No. 2 pick could be RG3 [trade everything!]or Luke Joeckel [trade nothing!].”

The entire draft order is not out, though the Titans should have 2, 33 in the second round and 66 in the third while the Eagles should have 20, 52 in the second and 84 in the third. From there picks will be influenced by compensatory picks that get splashed into the end of the remaining rounds.

I used the compensatory projections of Over The Cap to flesh out the full 256 picks.

By my estimate -- emphasis on estimate -- the Titans will have roughly 3,607 points on the Jimmy Johnson chart and the Eagles just 1,503.

Philadelphia’s entire draft would come up 1,097 points short of the value of the No. 2 pick (2,600) and no one in the NFL circa 2014 is giving away an entire draft plus in exchange for one player.

The package the Eagles would have to put together to get the Titans pick would be enormous, with implications into 2016 and probably 2017. It’s hard to imagine Kelly, no matter the degree of his affection for Mariota, would or could make the move if the quarterback is available second on April 30.

In the fantasy world where it happens, the Titans could obviously make such a deal and then trade back up to still get an impact guy closer to the top of the draft.

A trade from 1978 is hardly going to function as a model. But here is what the Oilers did to move from No. 17 to No. 1 back then to get Earl Campbell.

As we move forward, here are two good resources from Football Perspective for examining draft pick trades:

Jimmy Johnson Draft Pick Value Calculator.

Football Perspective Draft Pick Trade Calculator.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The broad sense of the Tennessee Titans from afar is that they need a quarterback.

It’s reasonable. Zach Mettenberger didn’t light it up as a rookie, didn’t lead the Titans to a win and wound up hurt.

They may stick with him -- I think they will and it's a scenario a lot of people further from Nashville don't give sufficient weight. But the Titans may not be ready to hand the job to Mettenberger and bringing in an alternative certainly includes the possibility of a high pick.

[+] EnlargeMarcus Mariota
Steve Dykes/Getty ImagesMarcus Mariota's skills don't necessarily line up with what Ken Whisenhunt looks for in a quarterback.
Maybe that alternative is Jameis Winston if the Bucs don’t take him, though I’d be very scared of his non-football behavior and the Titans should be, too.

Maybe that alternative is Marcus Mariota if the Bucs don’t take him.

But Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt is a pocket-passer guy, and while Mariota may develop as a pocket passer he will enter the league as a guy who’s won a Heisman and had great success largely because of what he does on the move.

And Ken Whisenhunt is not about putting quarterbacks on the move. I don't have a huge beef with that. Incorporating a moving quarterback and getting consistently good play from him is hard in the NFL today. Russell Wilson is great, but guys like Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton are awfully up and down and the threat of injury from hits outside the pocket is an additional risk.

I understand why Mel Kiper gives Mariota to the Titans in his first mock draft .

But we’re going to talk a great deal between now and April 30 about fits.

The Titans are committed to Whisenhunt, but that could change with another terrible season. He and GM Ruston Webster need impact players who can help now.

Mariota is someone Whisenhunt would need to reshape, and reshaping him could ruin his chancea.

I understand Whisenhunt's affection for pocket passers, though the stable of quarterbacks to pick from doesn't always present a coach with such an option. A team led by a coach with a stubborn dedication to pocket passers can’t draft a quarterback who needs to run around. It would be a quintessential square-peg, round-hole marriage, very likely doomed to fail.

At least until the Titans were coached by someone more willing to run an offense that puts a quarterback on the move and embraces work outside the pocket.

Things can change, certainly.

But there are a lot of reasons why I wouldn’t put Mariota with the Titans in any mock draft.
Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans…

While Dick LeBeau looks like he’s heading for Arizona, Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean still thinks there is a chance Ken Whisenhunt can get the former Steelers coordinator to Tennessee.

To which I say: I made the case for LeBeau to the Titans earlier this week.

Last year’s Senior Bowl helped propel Marqueston Huff into the fourth round for the Titans, says Joe Fann of the Titans’ web site.

Randy Gregory of Nebraska is the mock draft pick for Daniel Jeremiah of “Gregory is tall, long and explosive. The Titans could take a QB here, but instead opt to add more punch to their pass rush.” Jeremiah presents some interesting scenarios here. Spoiler: Amari Cooper’s not the first receiver.

Alabama’s Cooper “doesn't have an imposing frame at just 6'1, and some questions have been raised about his ability to go up and get the ball. He's a guy that is going to beat you on the ground with speed and excellent routes.” Terry Lambert of Pro Football Spot makes the case against Cooper as the No. 2 pick.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans have indicated they will be free-agent shoppers and they certainly should be.

Their needs far surpass what they will be able to address in their 2015 draft class.

But with a high salary cap, teams are more determined and more able to hold on to their own quality players with new contracts and their franchise tag.

The Dallas Cowboys are going to have to sort out the status of receiver Dez Bryant and running back DeMarco Murray.

ESPN’s resident scout Matt Williamson looks at the seven best landing spots for Murray, and puts the Titans second behind only Dallas.
"The Titans made Bishop Sankey the first running back selected in last year's NFL draft by taking him with the No. 54 overall pick. That didn't work out so well for several reasons. Shockingly, the Titans were reluctant to just hand the job over to Sankey, even late in his rookie season, when they really should have been in evaluation mode. But maybe that's all we really need to know about their feelings for Sankey, who finished the year with just 152 carries. Even entering the league, few considered Sankey a workhorse-type back. The remainder of the Tennessee depth chart is very thin. With either Zach Mettenberger or a first-round rookie quarterback likely in charge of the Titans' offense, this team absolutely will need a running game and a back such as Murray to hand the ball to over and over."

But Murray carried 436 times in the regular season plus playoffs in 2014.

Running back production virtually always dips in the season after a workload of at least 370 carries, something you can read more about in this Football Outsiders piece by Aaron Schatz from back in 2007.

The Titans had their first choice of running back last year, and through one year their pick of Sankey looks bad. Maybe they draft another. Cincinnati went with second-round running backs in back-to-back years with Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill, and it worked out well. But the Titans don't have the luxury of spending more picks on spots they've already addressed.

Maybe the Titans go forward with what they have, keyed by Sankey, Dexter McCluster and Antonio Andrews. (I can’t see Shonn Greene back.)

I refer often to how good running backs can be found in the middle and late rounds of the draft (Alfred Morris was a sixth-rounder; Justin Forsett and Ahmad Bradshaw were seventh-rounders), or even as undrafteds (Arian Foster).

But that storyline is overplayed. Scan through this list and see just how poor the hit rate is for mid- and low-round running backs.

The hit rate is far better higher, just like at most positions.

If the Titans turned out to have missed on Sankey, that’s a major problem.

Finding another guy to carry at least part of the load won't be easy. But chasing Murray, if he comes free, would be rife with risk.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Dick LeBeau and the Pittsburgh Steelers have divorced.

The revolutionary defensive coordinator may be 77, but he's indicated he's not hanging it up. He could reconnect with former Pittsburgh coaching colleague Bruce Arians in Arizona, particularly if current Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles leaves for a head coaching job.

[+] EnlargeLeBeau
Ronald C. Modra/Getty ImagesDick LeBeau, 77, had run the Steelers' defense the last 11 seasons.
But Scott Brown, who covers the Steelers for, reports that LeBeau may be leery of going so far west of his family's Cincinnati home.

Two other former coaching colleagues of LeBeau's could help solve that.

It's less than 300 miles from Cincinnati to Nashville, where head coach Ken Whisenhunt and defensive coordinator Ray Horton work.

Both have significant ties to LeBeau.

Whisenhunt spent six years on the Steelers' staff from 2001-06, the first three as tight end coach, the second three as offensive coordinator. LeBeau was the defensive coordinator for that entire time.

Horton spent far more time with LeBeau.

The Titans current defensive coordinator was a Bengals cornerback from 1983-88. LeBeau was the defensive back coach for the first year of that, and the coordinator for the remainder.

Later, Horton's second job as an NFL assistant coach ran from 1997-2002 in Cincinnati. LeBeau was the Benglas coordinator for the first three years of that, and the head coach for the three years after that.

Then from 2004-10, Horton was on the defensive staff with the Steelers while LeBeau was coordinator.

To recap:

That's six years of Whisenhunt with LeBeau.

That's 19 years of Horton with LeBeau.

Whisenhunt wouldn't be able to offer LeBeau the coordinator job. He's committed to Horton, and I'm sure LeBeau wouldn't want to see his disciple demoted on his behalf.

But Whisenhunt could offer LeBeau a job as a senior defensive assistant or somesuch.

If LeBeau wants to continue coaching and wants to be close to Cincinnati, it would be a natural for him to sign up to work with two old colleagues.

Horton speaks fondly of LeBeau, and he's running a defense that aspires to be what LeBeau's has been.

Horton is a sharp and confident guy. I don't think he'd be threatened by LeBeau having an office next door, I think he'd be thrilled by it.

Whisenhunt should ask Titans president/CEO Tommy Smith for an extra coaching slot and make this sales pitch to LeBeau.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans' return on their investment on the offensive line has been terrible.

Two years ago they recognized the need to rebuild the position.

The moves they’ve made have collectively resulted in a failure.

It was a big theme throughout the 2014 season. It’s taken too long for them to jell. They were having chemistry and technique issues.

Team president and CEO Tommy Smith echoed the obvious thinking about the line’s underachievement during the season.

Pro Football Focus has ranked the NFL’s offensive lines, and the Titans landed at No. 28, ahead of only Miami, St. Louis, Buffalo and San Diego. The Titans were 29th in pass blocking ranking, 16th in run blocking ranking and 31st in penalties ranking.

Injuries ultimately killed the group, but the front-liners weren’t getting the job done before guys started to drop. Ken Whisenhunt says if the group had survived together, we would have seen progress by year’s end. We did see late-season improvement from right guard Chance Warmack.

But no one would have bet on better line play overall considering the struggles of left guard Andy Levitre and right tackle Michael Oher.

Writes Khaled Elsayed in the PFF line ratings story:
They’ve spent big on Oher and Andy Levitre in recent years with little return. They’ve used their last two first-round picks on (Taylor) Lewan and Chance Warmack and while Lewan has impressed and Warmack does catch the eye at times, Warmack especially hasn’t reached the heights expected of him. The new Buccaneers in terms of paying a lot of attention to their offensive line, but getting it wrong a lot more than they’ve gotten it right.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- I think it was a lateral. Slightly backward or straight across, but not forward.

[+] EnlargeKevin Dyson
Allen Kee/Getty ImagesIt's been 15 years to the day since Kevin Dyson scored on the famed Music City Miracle.
Fifteen years ago today, the Music City Miracle unfolded, propelling the Tennessee Titans forward in the AFC playoffs, where they advanced to the only Super Bowl in franchise history. They lost that one to the Rams in a game with another compelling ending.

I understand players, coaches and fans of the Buffalo Bills still holding strong to the idea that their team was robbed.

But we’ve seen plenty of research and examinations of what’s available to conclude the call on the field and the non-reversal on replay were correct.

Frank Wycheck was going forward, hard. Kevin Dyson was coming back to the ball, hard. The movement of the two players factors into perception of what the ball did. And all that matters is what the ball did.

With the technology we have these days, can someone with the editing tools and CGI capabilities take Wycheck and Dyson out of the picture? Erase them.

Show us the path of the ball with no people involved.

I bet a video like that could convert a lot of those who maintain it was a forward pass if they have a slightly open mind.

But the controversy is what gives the Music City Miracle a good part of its cache. CGI evidence or not, the play will always hold a spot in conversations about and lists of great endings, clever trick plays and debatable calls.

In the end, as Mike Keith so quickly told us, there are no flags on the field.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Timing can be everything.

Getting a top pick in the draft is a nice reward for a lousy season, but the degree of the reward is largely out of the team’s control. Is it a great class with an all-time prospect, or a class loaded with question marks regarding how top players project?

In the last 10 years, AFC South teams have had seven top five picks.

It’s early to judge the most recent ones. Still, just one ranks as a transformative player so far: The Colts got Andrew Luck first overall in 2012.

Here’s the full list:


2014/Texans/1/OLB Jadeveon Clowney
2014/Jaguars/3/QB Blake Bortles
2013/Jaguars/2/OT Luke Joeckel
2012/Colts/1/QB Andrew Luck
2012/Jaguars/5/WR/Justin Blackmon
2006/Texans/1/DE Mario Williams
2006/Titans/3/QB Vince Young

Clowney, Bortles and Joeckel all have a chance to become giant players for their teams. Clowney was hurt most of his rookie season. Bortles struggled behind a bad line and threw 17 interceptions against just 11 touchdowns. Joeckel was hurt as a rookie and didn’t have a good second season. The two Jaguars are getting a new offensive coordinator.

Blackmon has played in only 20 games, four since his rookie season. He is currently suspended by the league, and the Jaguars are not counting on his return.

Williams is a very good pass rusher for the Bills. He was good when healthy for Houston, but the Texans allowed him to reach free agency.

Young had some big moments but ultimately washed out of the league after six seasons and 61 games.

I asked ESPN’s resident scout Matt Williamson to rank the seven guys on this list based on what we know of them at this point.

“Luck, Mario ... Bortles, Clowney, Joeckel, Blackmon, VY,” he said. “Yuck.”

It’s hard to line up your worst season with the year when a singular talent like Luck is waiting to join you. The rest of the AFC South resents the Colts for having things fall that way for them and getting to go from an all-time great quarterback in Peyton Manning to Luck, who’s projected to follow a similar course and already is in the playoffs for the third time.

A Luck is rare, but drafting so high the Titans have to find someone who can bring a big element like Williams ultimately did or have the potential of Clowney or Bortles. Fare worse and they’re doomed barring an unforeseen offsetting home run later in the draft. (See 2005 when Adam then-Pacman Jones didn’t pan out at No. 6 overall, but seventh-round cornerback Cortland Finnegan helped offset it.)

The Titans may ride with quarterback Zach Mettenberger, using No. 2 on something other than a quarterback or trading back with someone more interested in Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota.

If there was more of a can’t-miss quarterback there, they’d likely jump.

“I would not want to be one of these teams having to make the decision as a general manager, knowing it may wind up costing me my job one day, or that my job might be on the line depending on how this turns out," ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said. "There's just enough red flags with both of these guys -- very different red flags -- that it's going to make for a very difficult evaluation process."
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans reportedly denied the Tampa Bay Buccaneers request for permission to speak with Tennessee tight ends coach Mike Mularkey about an open offensive coordinator job.

As the offensive coordinator in Atlanta, Mularkey did some nice work with the Falcons and quarterback Matt Ryan. He moved on to a one-year stint as coach of the Jaguars in 2012 and was out of the league in 2013 before Ken Whisenhunt hired him to coach tight ends in Nashville.

He’s a solid football man.

But he’s the second name that has surfaced for a possible promotion out of Nashville. Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson's name has been connected to the vacant GM position with the Chicago Bears.

It’s moot with no permission to interview Mularkey. If he was a guy Love Smith thought could run his offense well, I’d respect Smith’s conviction. The Bucs are very likely to have a rookie quarterback in the fall, with Marcus Mariota the favorite at this point.

Hires don’t need to be made to generate excitement.

But the Bucs just went 2-14. Imagine the reaction of the fan base to a new offensive coordinator who just worked as a position coach for another team that went 2-14, and whose bigger job before that resulted in a 2-14 season in Jacksonville.

Similarly, but on a much bigger scale, how would the Bears sell Chicagoland on the solution to their issues coming in the form of Dawson, a personnel lieutenant who helped create what might well be the worst roster in the league?

There was a report a while back that the new coach at Wisconsin, Paul Chryst, could seek to bring back Bob Bostad, the offensive line coach who did well developing players for the Badgers.

Bostad is the Titans' offensive line coach.

He would have to want to go back to Madison, Wisconsin. Then the Titans would have to let Bostad go, as he presumably signed for more than one season when Whisenhunt hired him.

That is a move I could see.

Anybody else hiring someone away from a team that just posted a 2-14 catastrophe would have a lot of explaining to do.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- If they didn’t win a Super Bowl, plenty of players around the NFL store up memories for motivation.

The 2-14 Tennessee Titans have a lot to recall when they need inspiration for their offseason work.

“Losing 14 times in 16 games you constantly have that feeling, that bad taste in your mouth,” defensive lineman Karl Klug said. “For me it’s going to linger a little bit, I’m going to remember that and that’s definitely going to be motivation going into next year.”

Tight end Delanie Walker was the Titans' best player in 2014, at least statistically.

“I really don’t know how long it’s going to take [to come to terms with 2-14],” Walker said. “I want it to be a bitter taste in everybody’s mouth so they can come back and be angry about this.”

Tennessee Titans season report card

December, 31, 2014
video » AFC: East | West | North | South » NFC: East | West | North | South

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans sold a fresh start and hope over the spring and summer. New coach Ken Whisenhunt and his staff inherited a 7-9 team, and with changes to the culture and the schemes things would improve and the playoffs were even possible.

Once the season started, it didn’t take long for all that to come crashing down.

The Titans won on opening day in Kansas City in an upset at Arrowhead Stadium. Then things took a terrible downturn and the team absolutely crumbled.

Injuries ultimately played a factor, and the Titans gave all three of their quarterbacks significant playing time. But this was a team led by inflexible coaching and plans that lacked talent, gumption and leadership.

The Titans are in line to draft second overall, and they need to hit a home run with that pick or package it in exchange for a bundle that will help them climb out of this hole.

Team MVP: There are clear winners on each side of the ball for the Titans. That’s a testament to the play of defensive lineman Jurrell Casey and tight end Delanie Walker and an indictment of the rest of the team given the lack of other talent. We could make a strong case for either, but I’ll go with Walker, who caught a team-high 63 passes for a team-high 890 yards. Give him back the game and a half he missed due to a concussion and he might have hit 1,000 yards.

Best moment: The Titans were down 13-10 with 37 second left before intermission against the Steelers on Monday Night Football at LP Field on Nov. 17. Nate Washington made a double move on William Gay, Zach Mettenberger stood in and launched a pass for Washington, and he ran under it and didn’t stop until he had an 80-yard touchdown and the Titans were ahead 17-13. A struggling team ultimately lost because it couldn’t stop Le'Veon Bell. But in a spotlight game, the Titans came back from early troubles to take a lead on a giant play.

Worst moment: There is a great deal to choose from here. But Blidi Wreh-Wilson’s failure in Cincinnati on Sept. 21 is likely the best symbol of the season. From 18 yards out, Bengals QB Andy Dalton pitched the ball to Mohamed Sanu and slipped out to the left as a target. Sanu threw it for Dalton but immediately regretted it as he saw Wreh-Wilson in the area. BWW could have gone for the ball and wound up with a long pick-six. He could have gone for Dalton and leveled the quarterback. Instead, he got caught being indecisive and failed to make either play. Instead, he allowed Dalton to catch it and take it in for a score that put the Bengals up 10-0 en route to a 23-7 win.

2015 outlook: There will be a ton of roster turnover as the Titans come to terms with free-agent errors, poor drafting and people who don’t fit their systems. They have to decide if Mettenberger is the quarterback going forward. Everything then spins off the decision at quarterback and what resources they use to address the position. Whisenhunt gets leeway from team president and CEO Tommy Smith for one bad year. But the Titans need to make some serious progress in his second year or he’s going to wind up in trouble.

Michael Roos contemplating retirement

December, 29, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Ten-year Tennessee Titans left tackle Michael Roos had a variation of microfracture surgery on his knee when he was lost for the season after five games.

He’s at least a couple of months away from trying anything football related, but said Monday that he’s seriously contemplating retirement.

The knee might decide it for him, but he said mentally it would take a lot for him to play again.

“The way it was done, it’s not great to play on these types of injuries, but the way Dr. [Burton] Elrod did it there definitely is the possibility if I want to play on it.

“We’ll see. Oh yeah, there is very strong consideration for [retiring]. It’s been 10 years and it’s been a lot of fun. But mentally it starts taking a drain on you sometimes, so we’ll see.”

He played right tackle as a rookie, but it was a long time ago he said. The Titans drafted his left tackle replacement in the first round this year, in Taylor Lewan. They will be looking for a right tackle, because free-agent addition Michael Oher was a flop.

Roos played there as a rookie but said he didn’t know if he’d be able mentally to make the switch to the other side if he decided he wants to keep playing. He also has an expiring contract so he'd have to show the Titans he was able to come back and they'd have to re-sign him.

The surgical procedure Roos had is called OATS, which stands for Osteoarticular Transfer System.

“A piece of bone came loose so they cleaned that out and drilled new holes, new bone out of my knee to fill that hole,” Roos said.

The 2014 Tennessee Titans: I was wrong

December, 29, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- I was wrong.

When I've done a post like this in the past, it's been wildly popular. I hope you'll enjoy it again.

As I make my weekly picks at, I always include a disclaimer. Unpredictability is, in my view, the single biggest factor in the NFL's popularity. Predictions on a lot of matters amount to throwing a dart.

Week-to-week, once it was clear the Tennessee Titans were terrible, it was not difficult to pick their games. After messing up their first two, I got them all. That is another testament to just how bad they were. There was rarely occasion to look at a game and think it was one where things would change course.

But heading into the season I thought this team would be 7-9. I thought it was a better roster with better coaching and a weaker schedule than it had in 2013.

I was wrong. Way wrong. Unpredictable or not, in my position you'd like to have a better sense of how the team you watch is going to come together and fare.

In the wrongest of my wrongness, I saw the Titans improving and finishing well. That's the good sign people look for from a young team under a new staff. That didn't come close to materializing.

Some national writers I respect looked at the Titans' roster in the summer and said the team would wind up ranking as one of the league's worst teams. Tennessee finished 2-14 overall.

They nailed it.

I missed it.

2015 Tennessee Titans' draft order

December, 29, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – For a time, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers appeared they would win in Week 17 and help the Titans get the first pick in the draft.

But the Saints came back to beat Tampa Bay, and Tennessee’s 10th consecutive loss was only good enough to clinch the second pick in the 2015 draft on April 30.

They’ll then pick first or second in subsequent rounds as they rotate with Tampa Bay.

"It can certainly help you; that’s one of the things to be excited about," coach Ken WHisenhunt said of the No. 2 pick. "We’re going to get a good player, and we’ll have a chance to get a good player with the second-round pick, because that will be like getting another first-round pick.

"Whatever opportunities are available at that point, I think that we’re going to look at free agency to help some things, too. It’s important -- it’s always important when you have a pick that high."

During a season, players have very little sense of the draft or interest in it. It can’t help them in the moment.

In the offseason, some take a bigger interest than others, but they all know they’ll get a crop of rookie teammates who might help the franchise.

Titans tight end Delanie Walker and guard Chance Warmack went to different extremes when the No. 2 pick and the potential for help from the draft came up.

“The draft is tricky,” Walker said. “You can get a first-round pick and he can be a star or he can be just another guy. That’s why I am just a player; I don’t know how to pick guys. ...

“I’m grateful and hopeful that something good happens and turns this team around.”

Said Warmack: “The draft is always a big help. I don’t know what we’re going to do, but the possibilities are endless to how that can help us. I think we have a bright future ahead. We just have to stay positive.”



Sunday, 1/25