It's finally here. Draft day 2016 as the 32 NFL franchises put the finishing touches on their draft plans in the final hours leading up to tonight's 7 p.m. CST start.
There has been more than enough speculation surrounding this years draft, with a large portion of that speculation centering around the Tennessee Titans and their first year general manager Jon Robinson, who has reached rock star status with Titans fans in just three short months on the job.
In that short time Robinson has traded for running back DeMarco Murray, added nine other veterans in free agency and pulled of the mega-trade, sending the first overall pick to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for a "king's ransom" in draft picks in return.
Robinson and the Titans own the early portion of this draft, as they currently hold six selections in the first 76 picks through the third round.Having that many picks would immediately transform the teams roster in a positive way,
But will they keep all nine of the picks they currently possess.
Here is our look at what options the Titans might explore starting in round one tonight.
Recent speculation and rumors have the Titans trading back up into the top 10 to potentially select either offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil or Ronnie Stanley. Tunsil is considered a top five talent, but with the Titans, and Browns both trading the first two picks, and their replacements expected to both select quarterbacks, there is a chance Tunsil could fall out of the top five.
The 49er's and Browns currently sit at No.7 and 8 respectively, and both could be a target destination for Robinson in a trade up situation if Tunsil slides, or if Stanley is still there. Of course there could be another player who might slide that could also garner the Titans attention and necessitate a move up.
The 49ers have been rumored to be interested in OT Jack Conklin, who has been projected to the Titans at 15. If Robinson wants to move up, this could be the best option.
The Browns are a wildcard here as they have already traded down for more picks and could be enticed to do it again. The Bears and Dolphins have reportedly been eyeing this spot to move up- potentially to select running back Ezekiel Elliott, so moving into this spot might be more costly in a bidding war. The Titans have the "currency" to make it, but would Robinson want to spend what it might take if there are indeed other suitors for this pick.
A long shot is No.10 where the Giants currently reside and are thought to be interested in a tackle of their own. It wouldn't be as costly as moving to 8 or 9, but there is a chance that with both Tunsil and Stanley likely gone, the Giants would stick and pick their top tackle left on their board.
STICK AND PICK
Robinson used the term "stick and pick" in his introductory press conference when he was named to his position three months ago. It is a viable option for the Titans to stand pat at No.15 and take the best player available at one of several positions of need.
If Robinson is set on a tackle- and I am increasingly changing my mind that he is locked into that position- then Taylor Decker- who I like, and mocked to the Titans at No.15- could be the top option left on the board.
As I said, I am increasingly changing my mind on a tackle, as sources have stated that there are two other tackles, who are projected in round two that could have Robinson looking at other positions in round one.
This option has not been discussed much, but it is an option for Robinson if they player he covets is gone and there is a chance to trade back and acquire more picks for sliding back a few picks in round one.
Decker is the final tackle on the board projected with a first round grade, and while the Colts are believed to be going o-line at No.18, and tackle could be a target, though recent rumors have them taking center Ryan Kelly.
If the Titans are convinced that Kelly is the Colts man, a trade back could net them another pick in perhaps the fourth round (or higher), where they currently have none. Decker could still be there meaning that Robinson still got the tackle he could have chosen at 15, but added another selection while still getting the same player.
There is also the possibility of trading down for more picks and taking someone like linbacker Reggie Ragland, who has been projected all over the first round with a floor of the Packers at No.28.
Ragland is a leader and a hard nosed player who stayed his entire career and competed in the Senior Bowl when he was already considered a first round pick. He seems to fit the "team first" mentality that Robinson has spoke of and looking for in players.
A wide receiver could also be in play in a trade down scenario, as well as a defensive tackle- like Vernon Butler- could be in play. Butler visited with, and worked out for the Titans and is a disruptive force and can play any position on the defensive line and provide an interior pass rush.
TRADE UP AND DOWN
Yes, I know we already did these two, but stick with me here.
The Titans currently hold the second overall pick in round two ( No.33) and while that pick won't be made until Friday night, the Titans might decide to exercise it tonight.
Should a player be there in the late first round that the Titans covet, Robinson could use some of his "currency" to slide back into the first round and add another early round pick.
While this is an option, it is likely a less possible option as a defensive player would likely be the target in a move back into the first round, and this is a deep draft for defenders. There would likely be another option at 33 that would not cost anything to obtain.
Once again pick No.33 won't take place until Friday night, but Robinson could well decide to trade out at 33 to add more picks and still have three picks in that round. It is an option that I think could well happen as there will be some team who desperately wants someone and Robinson has the ability to add more picks and not hurt his bottom line.
IT WON"T BE LONG NOW
Those are just some of the potential options for the Titans- though it's a pretty thorough list- but there could be other moves made that change the strategy for not only the Titans, but other teams that change the Titans again.
The NFL Draft is the most unpredictable exercise in all of sports, but it has become a major phenomenon that drives television ratings and internet readership. It is the center of the most speculation of any event in sports, and while it drives us crazy, we wouldn't miss it for the world.
The fun starts tonight at 7 p.m. CST.