Thursday, April 28, 2005

2005 Draft Review-Day Two

A few days ago, I analyzed the Day 1 selections of the Tennessee Titans, and now it's finally time for Day 2. With their first pick in round 4, the Titans selected Vincent Fuller of Virginia Tech. He played both corner and safety at Virginia Tech, and I'd expect to see him in the same sort of role for the Titans, as a backup free safety to Tank Williams (health willing) and possible nickel/dime corner. The second pick of the fourth round, which the Titans picked up from the Lions for moving down a couple spots in round 2, was used on Mississippi State offensive lineman David Stewart. It doesn't look like he has the agility to play Left Tackle in the NFL, so he looks to me like a depth pick or someone who may be involved in the RT battle, along with Jacob Bell and 2nd-round selection Michael Roos. The third fourth-round selection, a compensation pick, was used on Tulane wideout Roydell Williams. With the two 3rd-round wideouts, it looks like Floyd Reese is applying his defensive lineman strategy from last year, throw lots of bodies at the position and hope you come up with something good, to the WR problem. Of course, if you only have two bodies at the position, one of whom barely played last year (Tyrone Calico), a few guys will stick.

Moving on to the fifth round, the Titans chose Damien Nash, a running back out of Mizzou. He's a little bit of a different runner, standing only 5'10", a good five inches or so shorter than both Chris Brown and Eddie George. With a 4.55 40 time, he has decent speed and looks like a possible 3rd-down back. No, this doesn't mean Eddie won't be coming back to the Titans, as the only back they had on their roster before the draft were Brown and Troy Fleming, who's more of a fullback-type. The Titans had a second pick in the fifth round, acquired from the Kansas City Chief in the Carlos Hall deal, and used that on Texas Tech offensive tackle Daniel Loper. Loper is described as a guy who can play both guard and tackle, making me think he's intended as a replacement for Jason Mathews.

Only one sixth-round selection, and that went on Bo Scaife, the Texas tight end. He has a bit of an injury history, having spent six years in Austin because of two medical redshirts, but has been back and healthy for two seasons. With Shad Meier gone, the Titans only had two tight ends on the roster, and it was pretty inevitable they would draft one. I assumed it would be more of a pure blocker type, since that's what Meier was and they already have Ben Troupe, and they've shown hardly any confidence in his blocking ability. We'll see if one of the free agents sticks.

The sole seventh-round selection went on Florida Gator defensive back Reynaldo Hill. He was a junior college player before spending two years in Jacksonville and was considered a good cover corner. I have nothing interesting to say about him.

Overall, the Titans chose 3 defensive backs, 3 offensive tackles, 3 wide receivers, 1 running back, and 1 tight end with their 11 selections. They did not choose a quarterback, a true interior offensive lineman, a defensive lineman, or a linebacker. So, what does this mean? First off, 3 offensive tackles is A LOT. They have two on the team right now: Brad Hopkins and Todd Williams. I would be surprised if Williams makes the 53-man roster; the only way he does it is if he's going to be starting. At the beginning of 2004, I expected it to be Hopkins' last year with the team, and I think if Williams had shown enough development, it would have been. I started to change my mind with they shut down Hopkins when he was injured last season (not shutting down Fred Miller only reinforced my (correct) view that he was gone). He's been a quality left tackle for a long time, and I'd expect him to be around for a year despite the recent public black-eye. This may also mean that Jacob Bell will not be moving outside to right tackle, but will be kept inside for general offensive line depth; I think this is likely, given that I can't see them possibly keeping 5 offensive tackles (Bell, Hopkins, the 3 draft picks). Then question then becomes whether Zach Piller, Justin Hartwig, and Benji Olson all make opening day. Throw in Eugene Amano as a backup center, and that's nine offensive lineman. They only carried seven last year, so I'd expect to see at least one of those guys cut. Alternative, Stewart (given Loper's versatility) may be a practice squad guy.

The Titans also agreed to terms with 36 undrafted free agents. It's basically guaranteed that at least one of them will make the team. I'd place the most money on former Cincinnati quarterback Gino Guidugli. He was rated as one of the top quarterbacks who went undrafted, and the Titans need a third quarterback. LSU QB Marcus Randall is also in camp. Having seen both of them play in college, Gino looks like a better bet to stick. It's possible they could pick up a "veteran" (read non-rookie), but I doubt they will unless both guys are busts. The only other thing I have to say about the free agents that's remotely interesting is none of them were kickers. I don't know if that indicates a great deal of confidence in Ola Kimrin, or they're playing a waiting game.

I plan to say more about who might make the team, but right now there's just a dearth of information. I probably won't tune in about my NFL team of choice until the probable June round of salary cap cuts.

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