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2017 NFL Draft, Tennessee Titans: Top needs, suggested picks, current outlook

2017 NFL Draft Reset: Titans have ammo to target draft needs

By Frank Cooney, NFLDraftScout.com
2017 NFL Draft, Tennessee Titans: Top needs, suggested picks, current outlook
Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Mularlkey looks up at the scoreboard during the second quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on December 20, 2015. The Patriots defeated the Titans 33-16. File photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | License Photo

The Tennessee Titans head into the draft with plenty of ammunition to fill the remaining holes on their roster.

The Titans used free agency mostly to address depth and special teams, with the exception of cornerback Logan Ryan, who was their big prize and should help to shore up the secondary.

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Tennessee also added safety Johnathan Cyprien, who will compete to start at safety, and nose tackle Sylvester Williams will take the departed Al Woods' spot in the rotation.

But beyond that, most of the players brought on board for 2017 are either for depth or special teams help. Players like safety Brynden Trawick, linebacker Daren Bates, guard Tim Lelito and wide receiver Eric Weems will certainly have roles on the roster, but none of them are break-the-bank type guys, but instead fit into the culture the Titans are building of filling the locker room with team-first guys.

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That is also within keeping of Jon Robinson's philosophy of not to overspend in free agency, which explains why the Titans passed on going after high-priced linebacker Dont'a Hightower and instead offered a two-year extension to their current starting inside linebacker Wesley Woodyard at a more reasonable number.

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Now, armed with picks No. 5 (courtesy of last year's fleecing of the Rams) and No. 18 in the first round, Tennessee still needs help at cornerback and could use another receiver and a young tight end. But beyond that, the Titans will be spending this draft building depth and for the future rather than making desperate moves to fortify deficiencies.

Here is a closer look at where the Titans are, how they got here and a shot at what they should do with their first pick in the draft, No.5 overall (with another first-round pick at No. 18).

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THE BREAKDOWN

2016 finish: 2nd AFC South (9-7)

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STATISTICS

TOTAL OFFENSE: 358.0 (11th)

RUSHING: 136.7 (3rd)

PASSING: 221.3 (25th)

TOTAL DEFENSE: 357.5 (20th)

RUSHING: 88.3 (2nd)

PASSING: 269.2 (30th)

TEAM NEEDS

1. Wide receiver: It's not like the Titans are devoid of playmakers at the position as they have been in many years past. Rishard Matthews was a solid acquisition as a free agent, and Tajae Sharpe had his moments as a rookie. It's just that from a numbers standpoint the Titans could use help after shedding Kendall Wright and Marc Mariani in free agency, and need at least one more threat, perhaps one with the ability to either take the top off the defense or a big body type to win 50/50 balls.

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2. Cornerback: The Titans added Logan Ryan as their big get in free agency, and his presence certainly helps to shore up a beleaguered bunch. The Titans still don't know who will start opposite Ryan, as it could be veteran Jason McCourty, or youngster LeShaun Sims or quite possibly someone they find on draft day.

3. Tight end: The Titans have a star here in Delanie Walker, and they re-signed Phillip Supernaw, who could have a bigger role as the blocking tight end with Anthony Fasano having left in free agency for Miami. The Titans need to add at least one more tight end with strong blocking skills, because the only other holdover from 2016 at tight end, Jace Amaro, struggled with blocking last season.

KEY PERSONNEL TRACKER (As of April 6)

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

QB Matt Cassel: Potential UFA; $5.25M/2 yrs, $500K guaranteed.

DE Karl Klug: UFA; $5M/2 yrs, $1M guaranteed.

LB Nate Palmer: UFA; $2.3M/2 yrs, $350K SB.

TE Phillip Supernaw: Not tendered as RFA; terms unknown.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

LB Daren Bates: UFA Raiders; $6M/3 yrs, $500K SB/$1M guaranteed.

S Johnathan Cyprien: UFA Jaguars; $25M/4 yrs, $3M SB/$9M guaranteed, $2M injury only at time of signing.

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G Tim Lelito: UFA Saints; terms unknown.

CB Logan Ryan: UFA Patriots; $30M/3 yrs, $2M SB/$16M guaranteed, $6M injury only at time of signing.

S Brynden Trawick: UFA Raiders; $4.75M/2 yrs, $3M guaranteed.

WR Eric Weems: UFA Falcons; $2.6M/2 yrs, $275K guaranteed.

NT Sylvester Williams: UFA Broncos; $16.5M/3 yrs, $2M SB/$8.5M guaranteed, $2.5M injury only at time of signing.

PLAYERS LOST

T/G Byron Bell: UFA Cowboys; 1 yr, terms unknown.

CB Valentino Blake: UFA Giants; $855K/1 yr, $20K guaranteed RB.

TE Anthony Fasano: UFA Dolphins; $2.75M/1 yr, $1.25M SB.

C/G Brian Schwenke: UFA Colts; $1.3M/1 yr, $300K SB.

LB Sean Spence: UFA Colts; $2.5M/1 yr, $750 SB.

G Chance Warmack: UFA Eagles; $1.51M/1 yr, $500K SB.

DT Al Woods (released).

WR Kendall Wright: UFA Bears; $2M/1 yr, $250K SB/$1.5M guaranteed.

MOCK DRAFT

NFLDraftScout.com analysts suggest (No. 5 overall)

Rob Rang:

Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State. The addition of veterans Logan Ryan and Johnathan Cyprien help, but only the most optimistic of Titans fans believe that they can turn a secondary that ranked 31st a year ago against the pass into an elite unit. Now if a talent like Lattimore was added to the mix, on the other hand, optimism would be much higher. Lattimore struggled with hamstring injuries early in his career at Ohio State, but he was dominant last season, showing the easy agility, acceleration and instincts to project as a future Pro Bowler.

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Dane Brugler:

Jamal Adams, SS, LSU. Tennessee added free agent Johnathan Cyprien to the mix, but there isn't a body on the safety depth chart that should keep the Titans from drafting Adams if he is available.

Agree? Disagree? Still shopping?

Based on the team's current status, those are our suggestions for that first pick. To double check or find another candidate see NFLDraftScout.com's full mocks and ratings.

--Frank Cooney, founder and publisher of The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com, is in his sixth decade covering football and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee. TSX team insiders contributed to this article.

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