It's no big secret that the Tennessee Titans have issues along the offensive line- and particularly at left tackle- and protecting quarterback Marcus Mariota is job one, and to that end the experts in the mock draft business (myself included) have projected a tackle to the team in round one.
Laremy Tunsil is the top tackle in the draft, but could likely be long gone by the time the Titans hit the clock at No,15- unless rumors are true and general manager Jon Robinson makes a move up- so that position of need would leave Ronnie Stanley, Jack Conklin and Taylor Decker as the other projected first round possibilities at that position in round one.
What if however, Robinson and head coach Mike Mularkey decide to stand pat at fifteen and not take a tackle, preferring instead to wait for a player like Jason Spriggs with one of their three second round picks. Who would they potentially select at No. 15 if not a tackle?
Here are five positions, and some players who could hear their name called for the Titans in the first round that are not tackles. It is also our final speculation before we get to the main event and know once and for all what the Titans plan to do with their first pick.
1) CORNERBACK: The Titans could use help at corner as Jason McCourty is coming off two surgeries that cost him the majority of his 2015 season, They will likely add a corner at some point in the draft and with the top talent that could be available in round one, the Titans might just decide it's too good to pass up. Potential first round corners included Vernon Hargreaves III and William Jackson III.
Hargreaves is on 5'10" (204) but has great physical ability in man-to-man coverage (unless he is playing against Alabama where both Amari Cooper and Calvin Ridley torched him). He has elite short area speed and is instinctive and plays the run well enough. He does lack some top end recovery speed but does not have to play right away if McCourty is healthy.
Jackson is a big, (6'1" 189) physical corner who plays with extreme confidence and swagger. He posted his best game of the season in the Cougars bowl win over Florida State. He is instinctive and has the top end speed to cover top receivers outside the numbers.
2)) WIDE RECIEVER: While not the top need of the team heading into the draft, there are two players who could temp the Titans in round one. I am inclined to go with the notion that the Titans won't take a receiver in the first, but if they surprise everyone the two who seem right for the Titans would be Josh Doctson or Corey Coleman.
Doctson (6'2" 202) has long arms and fast feet, posting a 4.5 40 yard dash time while posting a vertical of 41" and a 10'11" broad jump. He was very productive in the TCU offense.(65 receptions, 1,018 yards, 11 TD) as a junior and ramped up his game even more in 2015, earning consensus first team All-American honors with a school-record 79 catches for 1,337 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015. While needing to add some muscle to his frame, Doctson has the measurable and mentality to be a No. 1 receiver for a team.
Coleman is fast, real fast, registering a 4.4 40 in Indianapolis. He is small (5'11" 194) but won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation?s top receiver in 2015, along with unanimous All-American and first-team all-conference honors, while leading the country with 20 touchdown receptions among his 74 receptions and 1,363 receiving for the season. He missed the team's Russell Athletic Bowl game win over North Carolina after having sports hernia surgery in December in order to recover and prepare for the 2016 NFL Draft.
3) LINEBACKER: The Titans could use a starting inside linebacker and depth both inside and out, so the possibility of selecting someone at that position exists. Reggie Ragland is the top inside guy in the class and could still be on the board at No.15, while Noah Spence could be a target there as well.
Ragland is a leader and a physical presence in the middle of a national championship team that plays like an NFL defense. He showed his versatility in the Senior Bowl - to mixed reviews- but has lost weight and improved his speed and could be a player who could slide outside, and has as a down edge rusher for the Tide. He is a smart player who would make a nice pairing with Avery Williamson.
Spence has a well documented history of off-field issues that caused his exit from Ohio State, but by all reports he has remained clean since then. He is considered a defensive end, but at 6'2" 250, he is small enough, and possesses the speed to be a stand up rusher off the edge while also being able to play d-end. His physical traits are undeniable, but the off-field issues are a concern that would likely keep the Titans away in round one.
4) DEFENSIVE LINE: The Titans need a nose tackle, and can use depth on the front. However, this is one of the deeper position groups in the draft. The Titans can find both of those needs in the latter rounds but they could decided that one of the top line players is too good to pass up. Vernon Butler and Sheldon Rankins are players who could sway the Titans.
I love Butler, who at 6'5" 323 is a strong, physical, quick defender that could play both nose and end which makes his versatility a greater value. He is a force as a pass rusher who can shed blocks easily and rushes the passer like a bull from the inside. He could slide to the second round, as some mocks have projected, and could be available at No. 33 if the Titans do go tackle.
Rankins is undersized ( 6'1" 299) but is a disruptive force because he plays with speed and leverage. His first step off the snap is as good as it gets and he provides a pass rush on the interior. He will likely be gone well before the Titans hit the clock, but should he slide, the Titans could be forced to at least consider him.