Tennessee Titans: How To Read Between The Lines On Draft Visits

The Tennessee Titans have a big opportunity in the 2017 NFL Draft, but what can fans tell from their pre-draft visits with prospects?

NFL teams can officially begin their 30 visits with college prospects starting Monday. And if you’re a fan of the Tennessee Titans, you’d be well-served to pay close attention to the players the team brings in. Why?

Quite simply, if we look at last year’s list, it included first-round pick Jack Conklin, second-round selection Austin Johnson, sixth-rounder Sebastian Tretola and seventh-round pick Aaron WallaceThat means four of Tennessee’s 10 picks were guys the team brought in for a private visit. 40 percent doesn’t sound like much until you consider the other variables involved, such as the Titans not drafting in a vacuum.

You can love a guy to death. But if another team takes him before you get a chance, you’re out of luck.

Teams bring in players for private visits for a number of reason. Remember, each team gets 30, so some—at least the smart ones—will use a handful of smoke screens. They have no intention of taking that guy, but they know a team or two behind them does covet him. So you bring him in, feign some interest and perhaps drum up a trade partner.

Others, they want to do a check-up on a medical issue their doctors flagged, typically at the combine or at an on-campus workout. For this reason, you might see a guy such as UCLA linebacker Takkarist McKinley on a lot of visit lists this year. Teams might want check on his injured shoulder to see how the surgery went.

Finally, there are those 10 to 15 players in which the team has a legitimate interest. As a fan not in the front office, the trick is figuring out exactly which players belong on which list. Keep your eye on the ball and don’t fall for the smoke screens.

For example, it seems unlikely the Titans would have a real interest in taking Malik Hooker or Jamal Adams with the fifth-overall pick with promising second-year player Kevin Byard and free agent pickup Johnathan Cyprien already on the roster.

But it wouldn’t hurt if a team behind them thinks that’s a possibility. It’s all part of the game within the game.

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