Webster’s first time at helm of Titans draft
The Titans always say they follow their draft board regardless of need. And that is true to an extent. But the Titans usually seem to find a way to address their major needs in the draft with the highest player rated at the respective position in the first round.
Ruston Webster steps into the general manager’s role after being director of player personnel for the previous two years. Mike Reinfeldt moved from general manager to CEO, heading all the team’s Nashville operations.
The transition from Reinfeldt to Webster should be fairly seamless anyway, as Reinfeldt is a delegator by nature and often sought the input of Webster, a respected personnel man in every stop of his career. Webster and coach Mike Munchak had their fingerprints all over much of Tennessee’s solid 2011 draft class, so Webster’s move into being a general manager should be an easy switch.
It has been the case for the past few years with Jake Locker being picked last year as the quarterback of the future; Derrick Morgan, selected in 2010, was supposed to solve the pass rush problem, but injuries have kept that from happening. In 2009, Kenny Britt gave the Titans the explosive outside threat they had long needed, but again, injuries have limited him as well.
This year, the Titans have so many needs on the defensive side of the ball that even if they adhere to their draft board completely, they can probably fill a need. They probably can’t go wrong if they go with a cornerback like Stephon Gilmore of South Carolina or Dre’ Kirkpatrick of Alabama. The same thing can probably be said at defensive end, if Whitney Mercilus of Illinois is on the board at No. 20.
Nice fits: Defensive end Whitney Mercilus, center Peter Konz, cornerback Casey Heyward.
Cornerback: With the defection of Cortland Finnegan, the Titans profess confidence in Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner, and that’s fine; both have been solid players. But with as much nickel as teams are forced to play in the NFL, two solid cornerbacks isn’t enough to cut it anymore, and that’s not even factoring in potential injuries. A pick like Gilmore or Kirkpatrick could solve the matter early. However, the Titans seem to have more luck with defensive backs in the middle and late rounds where a player like Casey Heyward might be a decent fit.
Defensive end: This isn’t as much of a need from a sheer numbers standpoint anymore, given the acquisition of Kamerion Wimbley and the re-signing of Dave Ball. Leger Douzable adds another body to the mix, but another impact pass rusher couldn’t hurt. If Melvin Ingram were to slip to No. 20, he would be hard to pass up. Mercilus might be another intriguing prospect to consider.
Center: The Titans have veteran Eugene Amano, but they sure have spent a good part of the offseason shopping around for some competition for him. Five centers have visited Tennessee with four signing elsewhere and Jeff Faine waiting until after the draft to find out if the Titans want him. In the meantime, the issue could be addressed in the draft as well.
-NFL players have all sorts of hobbies and undertakings in the offseason, but Titans safety Jordan Babineaux and his brother Jonathan of the Atlanta Falcons are a little more ambitious than most.
They have a movie production company called Two Brothers, and the duo just released their first full-length feature film, called “Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day.” The film is actually a follow-up and in conjunction with the original “Woman Thou Art Loosed,” by Bishop T.D. Jakes, who was involved in this film as well. The movie has a bit of a Christian-based theme in the way that Tyler Perry’s films often do.
“It’s faith-based, no doubt, but it’s not directly that way,” Babineaux said. “It’s a story of trials and separation and sin within a live story, but in the end, everyone comes back to the church. It has a real story line, and I think everyone can relate to it in some sort of way. It’s rated PG-13, and it has some strong scenes in it, but at the end of the day, I think it’s gonna involve everyone coming back to where we all got started.”
-Since the franchise moved to Tennessee, the Titans have had an annual caravan, where selected players make stops at schools and business in cities and small towns that make up the team’s fan base. It is very similar to the way many colleges and major league baseball teams do.
This year the caravan is back after a one-year hiatus due to the lockout with coach Mike Munchak and 12 current players taking part, including quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. The caravan runs April 30 through May 11 and makes a total of 50 stops in Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama.
-Someday Jake Locker will be the Titans’ starting quarterback. Locker, the team’s first-round pick last year, and incumbent Matt Hasselbeck will be in an open competition this year in training camp. For Locker, he said he doesn’t want the job just because he has been anointed as the “quarterback of the future.” He wants to win it fair and square.
“To have them hand that job over to me, whether it’s something they are legitimately thinking now or not, I hope that if they’re not, I hope that by the time it’s over, they will,” Locker told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “And if they are (now), I hope that I’ve done well enough to earn that spot.”
QUOTE TO NOTE
“Working in film and television is something I feel very strongly about and producing content in general.” – Titans S Jordan Babineaux on his second career producing movies. He and brother Jonathan of the Atlanta Falcons just had their first feature film released.