The current direction of the Tennessee Titans seems to be a bigger and bigger mystery every day. In the post Bud Adams era, the Titans seem scatterbrained. The club fired Mike Munchak and brought in Ken Whisenhunt as the new coach, an offensive-minded coach seen as someone to tutor Jake Locker. Then the club elects not to pick up Locker’s option for 2015—not even being open to discuss it. That hardly seemed a show of confidence.
As the draft unfolds and surprises ensue, you see exciting possibilities. They have essentially told Jake Locker he is not the guy for the future, making him a lame duck for 2014. So their pick at #11 comes up, and they had a chance to shake up the football world as we know it—or they could choose a player at a position they already seem set to go against, a player drafted within the division at #1 overall twice a year and who was at the wrong end of one of the most famous plays in recent college football history.
With Heisman Trophy winner QB Johnny Manziel still surprisingly available at #11, the Titans selected OT Taylor Lewan of Michigan. Lewan, an all-Big Ten performer, is also known for being run over by Texans #1 selection Jadeveon Clowney in the 2013 Outback Bowl. Tennessee told Jake Locker he is one more and done, had a chance to change the franchise, and passed for an offensive tackle.
Some praise the pick. Some say Lewan was the best player available for them at #11. But even if Lewan is the anchor on the offensive line for the next 15 years, he cannot score touchdowns or change the franchise on his own. Nor can he breathe any real excitement into the game.
The Titans did get a quarterback later, whom the so-called experts view as a value pick, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger in the sixth round.
Mettenberger has a big arm and could arguably be an improvement, though Locker has barely stayed healthy enough for us to really know. But, Mettenberger has a history of misbehavior, and reportedly failed a drug test at this year’s Scouting Combine. Oh, and there is also the little matter of his LSU career ending with a torn ACL against Arkansas last November. For the record, Whisenhunt says Mettenberger should be fully cleared soon.
As for Lewan, he is a massive 6’7,” 309 pounds whom some had as going much higher than #11. He should be a good player, which is not the issue. In the second round, the Titans took the first running back in this year’s draft at #54 overall, the latest the first RB has ever been taken in the draft in Washington’s Bishop Sankey. Sankey at 5’9,” 209 lbs. rushed for over 1,800 yards and 20 touchdowns for the Huskies. He also caught 28 passes and figures to be a first step in replacing Chris Johnson.
The remainder of the Titans’ picks went to defense with Penn State DT DaQuan Jones and Wyoming FS Marqueston Huff going in the fourth, and Kentucky LB Avery Williamson in the fifth round. Jones at 6’4,” 322 lbs. figures to clog up the inside with enough athleticism to rush the passer. He is seen as a steal for the fourth round. It is clearly a position of need. Huff and Williamson are a bit undersized for their positions and could find new ones in Tennessee. At 5’11,” 196 lbs., Huff may be more suited to corner than safety. At 246 pounds, Williamson may be more suited to safety than linebacker.