I'm a huge fan of the draft process and evaluating talent in relation to who I think the Tennessee Titans should draft. You might say it's even a hobby of mine this time of year when the weather isn't so great outside and there is nothing much to do around my house but watch reruns of shows I don't like and play with my dog.
Yes I do play with my dog- a lot in fact, but he likes to sleep, a lot- so when he's sleeping I'm left to my own devices which includes watching film on draft eligible players and those who might potentially come out early. I even have my own draft boards set up within one of my computers where I can catagorize players and rank them in order by positions.
Last season I evaluated 473 players for my own person guide to the draft. I'm no genius by any sense of the word, but it was something fun to do and when the first round of last April's draft was concluded 28 of the 32 players I had going to teams in the first round were selected in that round. Of the other four, three were players I had in the second round and one from my third.
Not to bad for a first timer.
I say all that to get to the point of this article, and that is to enjoy the mock drafts but don't put to much stock in them and expecially the ones that go past the first round.
It's hard enough to do the first round when you can know what the teams biggest needs are, but after that it's a crap shoot and the odds get long that you get many right.
I started this years process of checking out the "experts" mocks on Monday, and immediately found a three and seven round mock for my entertainent.
Of course with my emphasis being on and about the Titans I only really cared about who the pickers had the Titans selecting.
Both mocks had a very logical and well thought out selection for the Titans in the first round.
Laremy Tunsil the overall number one rated left tackle from Ole Miss was the selection in both. The authors stated up front that he would trade down from the spot and acquire more picks for the Titans, but because he could not know for certain who might be interested in a trade he was working of the premise of the best available player at a position of need with the value of the spot of the selection.
That's fair enough and exactly how I would have done it.Tunsil fills a huge need to solidify the offensive line to protect the franchise in Marcus Mariota.
In the second round the picker had the Titans selecting an edge rusher- name withheld on purpose- which is always something NFL teams covet. It is a solid selection, but when looking down the list of remaining players in the draft field there were three players who I personally liked more than the player selected, including two positions of need that I feel are more pressing in the second round than an edge at this point.Still fair enough, everyone has their preferences and that was the authors choice.
Moving into the third round is where it really started to fall apart for me.
A running back in the third round is not on my list of things the Titans need that early in the process, unless their name might be Derrick Henry.
It wasn't Henry, who ironically enough was still on this board but passed over by the Titans in this mock for a far smaller and less productive back. The pick also passed on other areas where the Titans need help like receiver, safety and inside linebacker.
Of course free-agency comes before the draft and one or all of those needs might be filled by draft day thus allowing the Titans to make luxury picks like a running back inthe third round. I doubt however that would be the case here.
Still the fact that needs were passed over for what is a luxury selection in my opinion makes me question the knowledge of the author as to the needs of the Titans.
Don't get me wrong, I know that there are 32 teams and it is hard to know what each team might feel is a need for them entering this process Also the Titans have selected a running back in each of the last two NFL drafts, and granted neither have been an answer to the question at running back to date but the Titans still don't know what they have in David Cobb at this point. Having Antonio Andrews and Bishop Sankey on the roster, the team has a committe that could be productive given a better run blocking offensive line.
Make no mistake, I'm not claiming that I could do a better job predicting who the Jacksonville Jaguars might select in the third round as it is a crap shoot at best, but when it comes to mock drafts, the so called experts often miss the mark in the mid to late rounds on the needs of teams.
Please do not stop reading these mocks, but remember that the best source of news on your team comes from the people on the front lines who follow the team and are with them every day at practice and on game day. At least they know what the team needs.