2017 NFL Draft: Tennessee Titans Post-Season 7-Round Mock Draft
If the Tennessee Titans plan on getting over the hump next season, they can’t afford to miss on any of their picks during the 2017 NFL Draft.
Heading into the 2016 campaign, I had very high hopes for the Tennessee Titans. Marcus Mariota appeared headed for a breakout season, DeMarco Murray was now in the mix, and the defense had undergone some upgrades.
Then, they struggled to show up on a weekly basis. They’d dominate one week, and looked like a team coming off a 2-14 season the next. Ultimately, they fell just short of an AFC South title and finished the year with an underwhelming 8-8 record. It was a six-win improvement, but Tennessee still didn’t live up to its potential.
Now, heading into 2017, the Titans have the opportunity to do it right. It all starts with winning this offseason, from free agency to the 2017 NFL Draft. It’s not going to be easy, but they have the pieces in place to be contenders this upcoming season. Mariota returning healthy will also be a big help.
For now, though, let’s focus on the draft. Tennessee currently has seven picks, including two first rounders, with which to do some serious damage. So here it is—my seven-round mock draft for the Titans with the 2017 NFL Draft only three short months away.
Round 1 (No. 5): Corey Davis, WR – Western Michigan
Most folks assume that Mike Williams will be the first receiver off the board. However, based on what I’ve seen, I’m confident Corey Davis more than deserves the designation. So instead of continuing to settle for mediocre play out wide, the Titans grab one of the 2017 draft class’ most exciting prospects.
More from NFL Spin Zone
Davis has all of the tools to be a star No. 1 receiver at the next level. Not only does he possess excellent size and strength, but he runs crisp routes, excels after the catch and can elevate like all good red-zone threats can. Coming from a school not known for producing NFL talent, though, Davis doesn’t get the credit he deserves.
Mariota needs a big-time playmaker in the passing game. Rishard Matthews showed well as the top receiver, but is better suited in a complementary role. Tajae Sharpe also showed promise, but doesn’t quite have the tools to carry an offense. Davis does, though.
Davis did suffer a recent setback with minor ankle surgery (via ESPN’s Adam Schefter) that should cost him a Combine workout. However, if he can get healthy in time for his Pro Day, he should have no trouble quelling any concerns. Even then, the film says it all—the former Bronco is going to be a star.
Round 1 (No. 18): Sidney Jones, CB – Washington
If the Titans plan on making the playoffs next season, they must make upgrades to the secondary. It all starts at cornerback, which was arguably the team’s weakest position towards the end of the 2016 campaign.
Starter Jason McCourty could be a cap casualty and Antwon Blake is headed for free agency. Brice McCain is decent, but the next best option is LeShaun Sims, a 2016 fifth-round pick who struggled when forced into action. It’s clear an upgrade or two is needed heading into 2017. What better way to achieve said upgrade than adding one of the 2017 class’ top cornerbacks?
Put simply, Jones has the talent to be a shutdown cornerback in the near future. Not only does he have the size to match up well against receivers, but he’s a tremendous athlete with the toughness and tenacity to consistently win in coverage. On top of that, he’s got tremendous ball skills and the willingness to step up against the run.
The Titans can’t afford to field the 30th-ranked pass defense again in 2017. Adding Jones to the mix would certainly help Tennessee work their way up the rankings next season.
Round 3 (No. 69): Pat Elflein, G/C – Ohio State
The projected stock for Pat Elflein is all over the board right now. Some see the former Buckeye as a potential first-round selection, while others (such as myself) have him falling to the top of the third. Realistically, anything could happen on draft day.
However, I will say that he’ll end up being a steal if he falls to the Titans here. It’s clear based on the film that he has the potential to be a Day 1 starter in the NFL. Elflein has earned some comparisons to Zach Martin for his impact as a run blocker. He absolutely dominates in the ground game, and crushed his transition from guard to center this past season. My guess is he’ll also crush his transition from the college ranks to the pros.
So why do the Titans need a guard/center prospect? Well Brian Schwenke and Chance Warmark are both free agents this offseason, which will leave Tennessee’s front five a little thin along the interior. Adding more talent and depth would be wise, and Elflein provides valuable flexibility.
There’s a significant chance we see Elflein come off the board much earlier than this. For now, though, he seems like the perfect addition to a Tennessee offensive line that only needs another piece or two to keep dominating in 2017.
Round 3 (No. 84): Anthony Walker Jr., ILB – Northwestern
One of the most underrated inside linebackers of the 2017 class right now is Anthony Walker Jr. The Northwestern star continues to fly under the radar, but would be a welcomed addition for Tennessee in the third round.
Throughout his time with the Wildcats, Walker was a menace for opposing offenses. Although not much of a bruiser, the uber-athletic linebacker wins with football IQ, awareness and the ability to play from sideline to sideline.
This past season, the Titans’ inside linebackers were often victimized in coverage. Avery Williamson is a solid starter and Wesley Woodyard also gets the job done, but both are headed into contract years. With Sean Spence headed for free agency in 2017, Tennessee could use an influx of talent at the position.
Walker would add the athleticism needed to keep the Titans’ linebackers from getting toasted. Although his coverage skills could still use some polish, he’s got the potential to develop into a reliable option against the pass. Between now and April, Walker could easily see his stock rise. For now, though, he seems like an outstanding fit for Tennessee in the third round.
Round 4: Marquez White, CB – Florida State
Spending a first-round pick on Sidney Jones would be an excellent start to upgrading this Tennessee secondary. However, they’re going to need more than one new cornerback to field a respectable pass defense in 2017.
It’s not like they have much depth to speak of at this point. Assuming McCourty is shown the door, that’ll leave McCain and Sims as the starters. Ouch. Then, behind them would be Tye Smith, Kalan Reed, D’Joun Smith and Bennett Okotcha. Yeah, not exactly an inspiring bunch of cornerbacks if you ask me.
Marquez White, however, would give the Titans a significant upgrade in the depth department. The Florida State product has the skills to shine early and earn a role before the 2017 campaign even gets under way.
While White may never be a star, there’s no doubt that he can cover. The former Seminole is a sensational athlete, even seeing the court as part of the Florida State basketball team as a freshman. He used said athleticism early and often, shutting down opposing receivers in the process.
If he can continue to develop the skills he’s shown, White could become a quality starter in a year or two. Tennessee needs all of the upside it can get at cornerback, and White provides plenty of it–especially on Day 3.
Round 5: Ejuan Price, OLB – Pitt
Don’t get me wrong–the Titans have plenty of starting-caliber talent at outside linebacker. The mix of Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan can absolutely strike fear in opposing quarterbacks. However, the depth Tennessee has off the edge is far less impressive.
Aaron Wallace hasn’t done much up to this point, and Kevin Dodd is still a work in progress. David Bass isn’t much better, but is headed for free agency and likely won’t be re-signed. I think it’s clear more talent is needed behind the starters heading into 2017. While adding Ejuan Price is no solve-all, it’s a step in the right direction.
The Pitt product has proven during his college career that he’s more than capable of wreaking havoc off the edge. Over his final two seasons with the Panthers, Price notched 23.5 sacks. Although I don’t think he’ll ever be an every-down option, he could easily carve out a role as a pass-rushing specialist.
More than anything, the Titans need more reliable playmakers on defense. Price is no future superstar, but can easily produce as a one-trick pony. Seems like a reasonable return for a fifth-round pick.
Round 7: Cethan Carter, TE – Nebraska
The Titans could probably afford to aim for a tight end earlier than this, but I think they’ll survive. They still have Delanie Walker, and Phillip Supernaw isn’t the worst excuse for a backup. Anthony Fasano may also be re-signed this offseason, although there’s no guarantee.
So targeting a late-round option wouldn’t be the worst idea. It would actually be a good idea if they managed to snag someone such as Cethan Carter in the seventh round.
The Nebraska product is a hidden gem in this 2017 draft class. Although his college production was modest and he was never really featured in the Hornhuskers’ offense, the film shows a talented tight end capable of making an impact on any given down.
What truly makes Carter stand out is his determination as a blocker. It’s not often we see an athletic, receiving tight end with the strength, footwork and motor to make an impact as a blocker. However, in the case of Carter, he fits the bill perfectly.
Nebraska didn’t incorporate Carter into the passing game often. However, it’s difficult to deny he can be a difference maker as a receiver based on the glimpses he showed. In a couple of years, Carter will be seen as a huge steal if he falls this far. I can assure you Mariota would love throwing to him if he landed in Tennessee.