After a weekend sabbatical, the 2014 Battle Red Blog Mock Draft returns with a vengeance. Up first this week, with the 11th overall pick, are the Tennessee Titans and BostonianToro. Here's what he had to say.
With the eleventh pick of the 2014 BRB Mock Draft, the Tennessee Oil... errr...Titans (don't call us BESFs) select Justin Gilbert (CB--Oklahoma State).
I consulted with some friends who are diehard Titans fans, and the general consensus, outside of "Who cares, we throw away our draft picks each year anyways" was, and I quote, "Only Jesus can help us." Well, that was a lot of help. Jesus isn't draft eligible.
Initially, my target of the draft was going to be offense. Ranked last year at 14th in rushing (while we lost CJ2K, we can pick up a RB later on for good value) and 21 in passing, at the 11th pick, I felt that Eric Ebron was a good value at that spot. However, Ebron managed to have higher draft stock to the Bucs and was taken off the board with the seventh pick. My thought was that we needed to push hard and get weapons for Jake Locker to either prove he has the ability to poop or get off the pot. If it works, great! If Locker can't cut it, we go for a QB next year in what is looking to be a quarterback rich draft. In that regard, I also looked strongly at Jake Matthews, but then realized what team I was selecting for, and picking a son of a hero of the organization who was an OL coach for the team really would not help to dispel the BESF nickname.
So I shifted gears and said, what about defense? Last year, the Titans were ranked 20th in rush defense and 11th in passing defense. More importantly, they were 3rd in the league on 3rd down conversion percentage for stops. But they lost Alterraun Verner in free agency to Tampa Bay. I do not want that pass defense to slide. Verner has averaged 72 tackles per season and 11 career interceptions, 5 of which came last season. Most people think the Titans will be fine with him gone, but I started to look at the weapons that were present in this division. The Texans' first pick of this draft: Sammy Watkins, plus Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, and whichever QB they pick? Colts: Andrew Luck, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton, LaVonn Brazill. Jags: a new QB in this draft (JFF), Justin Blackmon if he ever gets off suspension, and Cecil Shorts. All of these things said, "Think outside of the box," and lead me to pick Gilbert.
Gilbert had great numbers at the Combine. 4.37 - 40, 6-0" tall, good arms, and he's strong. I think he has the ability to be a shutdown corner. Gilbert paired up with Devin McCourty, along with keeping Blidi Wreh-Wilson for depth, will give the Titans a strong chance of keeping that 11th in passing (maybe improving) ranking in a division that will be VERY STRONG in passing offenses. Hopefully this will help shut down Luck, Manziel, and Ryan Fitzpatrick/whomever.
Also, Gilbert is a GREAT kickoff returner. From the OSU website, he "Owns the OSU record and Big 12 record with six career kickoff returns for touchdowns ... Is second all-time at OSU and in the Big 12 Conference's top 10 with 2,681 kickoff return yards." The Titans managed last year to return exactly 0 kicks for touchdowns. This is just a huge bonus and upside to a kid with a bright future. Tennessee can look to get a TE later, in the second round, and maybe a DT/DE or an ILB in the 3rd or beyond to improve upon that 7-9 and get into the playoffs.
I'm a big fan of Gilbert, but I would have had a hard time passing on Matthews there. What say you?
Next up in the hopper are the New York Giants and TooDarkMark. That pick is due to me by 12 p.m. CDT today.
Recapping the draft thus far...
1. Houston Texans--Sammy Watkins (WR--Clemson)
2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington)--Jadeveon Clowney (DE--South Carolina)
3. Jacksonville Jaguars--Johnny Manziel (QB--Texas A&M)
4. Cleveland Browns--Teddy Bridgewater (QB--Louisville)
5. Oakland Raiders--Khalil Mack (LB--Buffalo)
6. Atlanta Falcons--Anthony Barr (LB--UCLA)
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers--Eric Ebron (TE--UNC)
8. Minnesota Vikings--Greg Robinson (OT--Auburn)
9. Buffalo Bills--Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (S--Alabama)
10. Detroit Lions--Mike Evans (WR--Texas A&M)
11. Tennessee Titans--Justin Gilbert (CB--Oklahoma State)
12. New York Giants--TooDarkMark
13. St. Louis Rams--grandmasteroz
14. Chicago Bears--JayTrain52
15. Denver Broncos (TRADE WITH STEELERS) --Capt. Ron
16. Dallas Cowboys--TonyOverTroy
17. Baltimore Ravens--TexanSam
18. New York Jets--Sugel Mendoza
19. Miami Dolphins--bt20
20. Arizona Cardinals--Lukayyy
21. Green Bay Packers--gyeager
22. Philadelphia Eagles--gm.in.waiting
23. Kansas City Chiefs--MrCatPants
24. Cincinnati Bengals--hlc1221
25. San Diego Chargers--f22a4bandit
26. Cleveland Browns--FreedomRide
27. New Orleans Saints--H&Hguy
28. Carolina Panthers--Nashmeister
29. New England Patriots--37bp
30. San Francisco 49ers--TexansDC
31. Pittsburgh Steelers (TRADE WITH BRONCOS) --Steel Blue Crew
32. Seattle Seahawks--UprootedTexan
33. Houston Texans--bhsman