Titans and the NFL Draft

By Dave “Tank” Johnson

After the first pick, the Tennessee Titans spent the rest of the early rounds shocking the NFL draft “experts.”

The football world was focused on the 2013 NFL draft, which started last Thursday evening with the first round. The Tennessee Titans had the 10th overall pick and used it to select guard Chance Warmack out of Alabama.

“It’s a dream come true,” Warmack said. “I was definitely thinking, ‘What would it be like if I actually did play for Tennessee,’ and here we are.”

Warmack is expected to play right guard opposite left guard Andy Levitre, a 2009 second-round pick who has started all 64 pro games of his career and joined Tennessee as a free agent in March.

Warmack made franchise history by being the first player ever chosen from the 10th spot in the NFL Draft and was part of a league-wide record five offensive linemen drafted in the top 10.

“It’s a wonderful experience, just to be part of this draft class where linemen are getting drafted so high,” Warmack said. “It’s unbelievable. I don’t think it’s ever happened in a draft before, and I’m just happy to be part of it.”

Then it was on to the second round.

Titans general manager Ruston Webster negotiated a trade with San Francisco GM Trent Baalke to move up six spots from 40th to 34th in the second round.

When the trade was announced, the television coverage teams thought the Titans would target a defensive player but the team instead made the trade specifically to draft former Tennessee Volunteers receiver Justin Hunter because they had given Hunter such a high grade and were somewhat surprised he made it to the second round.

“I feel good about it,” Webster said. “Had it been close, we might have gone defense. But it wasn’t close.

“I feel good about the third round and fourth round,” Webster continued during one of several news conferences Friday that followed the selection of Hunter but preceded the third round. “We have two picks in the third round. I think those middle rounds can be good to us that way.”

The only other time the franchise has drafted offensive players with its first two picks as the Titans occurred in 2006 when it selected QB Vince Young third overall and RB LenDale White in the second round with the 45th pick after trading with Philadelphia to move down six spots.

Shortly after Webster said he felt good about the two picks in the third the Titans used both picks on defensive players.

Tennessee increased its size at the cornerback position by selecting Blidi Wreh-Wilson out of Connecticut with the 70th overall pick and added speed at linebacker by drafting Zaviar Gooden out of Missouri with the 97th pick.

Wreh-Wilson played one season of high school football but started 40 of 45 games he played for the Huskies. He’s a little more than 6 feet tall and about 195 pounds. He’s gained about 30 pounds since that one year of high school football.

The Titans believe Wreh-Wilson will be big enough to play “press” man-to-man coverage and be physical with receivers at the line of scrimmage, which is fine with Wreh-Wilson.

The rest of the NFL draft took place after deadline, but will be discussed in detail in the net issue.

 

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