Thrill of Victory

An expert looks at the Titans, Vandy heading into NFL Draft

The NFL Draft is tomorrow night, and what the Titans do, as well as where certain Vanderbilt players are picked, is a topic close to the heart of Nashville sports fans. With that in mind, I asked one of the nation’s foremost draft experts, De’Angelo Bryant of DraftNasty.com, to take a closer look at what the Titans may do and where certain VU players might get picked.

CL: “First of all, DeAngelo, talk about the Titans and tell us what you think their biggest needs would be?”

DB: “One of the things I think they’ve done a really good job of is addressing the offensive line in the off-season. However, I still think that they need to look inside and possibly look at a guard. It’s still definitely a possibility for them.

“The other thing they have to address is a pass-rusher. Do you want to build your defensive line from the inside-out, or do you want to go from the outside-in? I think they’ve got to do a better job of finding somebody off the edge to get to the quarterback. And also, they need to maybe look inside for a guy that can be a three-down player.”

CL: “What do you think they’ll do with that first-round pick, which is 10th overall? And then the second part of that question is, how does that differ from what you would do if you were the GM of the Titans?”?

DB: “Well, I think what I would do and what they will do would probably vary right now.

“One of the things I would do is, I’d probably go after a guy like (North Carolina guard) Jonathan Cooper. I know technically, guards aren’t chosen that high, but with a guy like Jonathan Cooper, you get a versatile player who you can also move inside to center. He worked out at the Combine at center as well. The other thing (with Cooper) is, you get a great run-blocker, somebody who can pull out on the edge and really be a lead guy for (Chris) Johnson.

“I think both what they should do, and what I would do if I was them in that position, is probably go after a guy like that. I don’t really see any defensive tackles in that position that are worth taking, or even with the second pick, any guy worth taking that high.”

CL: “There’s been some chatter that either of (Alabama offensive linemen) D.J. Fluker or Chance Warmack might be available at that spot. Do you think that’s realistic for the Titans at this point?”

DB: “I think both guys will be available at that point. Now, whether both guys are fits for that offense, that’s something to be determined. I definitely could see both guys fitting what they do run-wise, but I just don’t know if those guys are as worthy of a pick that high at 10, with them still being available on the board.”

CL: “Now in the second round, they’ve got the 40th overall pick. Is there anybody there you think fits with them that might slide down that you think, ‘Hey, that guy’s a great fit for the Titans?’”

DB: “I think you look at a guy like (defensive tackle) Jesse Williams from Alabama, if he’s there. He’s a scrappy guy in in the middle who can do a lot of things for you.

“Obviously, (North Carolina defensive tackle) Sylvester Williams… if he’s still there. And also, you have to take a look at a guy like Missouri Southern’s (defensive tackle) Brandon Williams, who’s been a highly-productive player at his level of football. He ended up coming on very strong towards the end of Senior Bowl week. He’s just a naturally-strong guy in the middle.

“The other thing I really see them possibly doing is looking in the secondary, whether that’s corner or safety. But, I don’t think there’s that much value (at No. 40). I think they can find some good value in the third or fourth round (at defensive back), however, there’s some good corners and some really, really good safeties in this draft that are going to make it pretty hard to pass up on; just throwing some names out there — (safety) D.J. Swearinger from South Carolina, obviously you’ve got (cornerback) Darius Slay from Mississippi State, a guy who’s continued to ascend up draft boards. He’s a big, speedy guy.

“There’s some guys that could probably fall out of the first round, and they could get some pretty good talent right there.”

CL: “Let’s talk about some middle- and later-round guys. Are there two or three guys that stick out to you that say, ‘This guy might be a really good fit with the Titans for what they need?’”

DB: “I think when you do look at some later round talent, obviously I think receiver is definitely be a spot they could possibly take a look at. Maybe you get a guy like a Markus Wheaton (Oregon State), another speedster out there who can catch and run. Maybe a Tavarres King (Georgia) who can catch and run. He’s probably slipping through cracks.

“And if you’re looking at a big receiver, what about a guy like Aaron Mellette from Elon? Those are some guys are receiver I’d look at.

“And then you’re possibly going to have to look at filling a little bit of the void at middle linebacker just simply because you don’t know if Colin McCarthy is going to come back and be healthy all season. There’s some guys like Philip Steward from Houston, (Virginia Tech’s) Bruce Taylor — and I know Bruce Taylor took a lot of criticism for his 40-yard dash time — but this is a guy who can play some football.

“Vince Williams from Florida State, that’s another guy that I think can fit that scheme, kind of a little bit more of a run-and-chase linebacker. I that’s think one of the good things the Titans have done at both outside linebacker positions, from an athleticism standpoint, and you saw it with Zach Brown last year.

“Receivers and middle linebacker (are needs), and those are guys I threw out there that can possibly fit the Titans scheme.”

CL: “Let’s talk Vanderbilt for a minute. Trey Wilson and Zac Stacy are both guys you’re high on, where do you think those kids go, and does anybody else from Vandy get drafted this year, you think?”

DB: “Well, I definitely think that Trey Wilson deserves a lot more credit. Any time you’re talking about Vanderbilt and you’re talking defensive backs, I know that Miami is more known as “DB U,” but I think you have to throw Vanderbilt in there somewhere. Obviously, over the last couple of years, we’ve seen some pretty heralded guys from Vanderbilt come out.??

“I think you could see Wilson going maybe fifth round or later. I think he’ll kind of be one of those wild-card picks for somebody; obviously, it only takes for one team to like you.

“Ryan Seymour, I don’t think he’s given enough credit for the position he’s playing. He’s played multiple positions on the offensive line since his career started, and he can possibly come in somewhere and be a swing player. In the NFL, a lot of offensive linemen don’t get a chance to travel and they don’t get a chance to make rosters, simply because they’re so limited in their versatility, but I think somebody has to take a look very closely and say hey, look, this is a kid that definitely we need to bring into camp.

“As for Stacy, I could see him going in the second round. He’s one of the better backs in this draft. At Vanderbilt, he’s overlooked, but I think (Vanderbilt) will get a lot more notoriety if it keeps winning. … He does all the little thing right. Down at the East-West Game, they didn’t bring any fullbacks and he had to play there.”