By Adam Caplan
June 26, 2012
DE, CB, DT, C, G
Round 1-Kendall Wright/WR
Round 2-Zach Brown/LB
Round 3-Mike Martin/DT
Round 4-Coty Sensabaugh/CB
Round 5-Taylor Thompson/DE-TE
Round 6-Markelle Martin/S
Round 7-Scott Solomon/DE
DE, CB (veteran), C (developmental), G
The Titans are no longer a team that is built to win with its running game and defense. Instead, since former head coach Jeff Fisher’s departure, they’ve become a passing team that will have to throw the ball to win consistently. That could explain why executive vice president/general manager Ruston Webster went with WR Kendall Wright with the team’s first-round pick.
Wright, who was arguably the most explosive receiver available for this year’s NFL Draft, will fill the void of a downfield passing threat need which the team had lacked for several years. And Wright has the rare ability to not only be able to go deep, but his willingness to go over the middle also stands out. So much for the rumors that the wide receiver had a third-round grade from a number of teams.
The Cleveland Browns confirmed after the draft that they were poised to select Wright with their first-round pick had he not gone off the board two spots before they were to pick. And according to multiple personnel sources, at least six other teams confirmed that they had no worse than a late first-round grade on Wright.
Second-round pick LB Zach Brown is known in scouting circles for his tremendous speed and athleticism. However, personnel sources said that Brown is not instinctive and is not physical enough. He also needs to play with more discipline. He projects to play at WLB at the NFL level, where veteran Will Witherspoon will start his third straight full season for the Titans.
Third-round pick Mike Martin has excellent short area quickness for a nose tackle. Martin, who put together a very strong showing during Senior Bowl week back in late January, is capable of playing either tackle spot inside the Titans’ 4-3 defensive scheme. He has a chance to be a long-term starter beginning this season.
The Titans are not deep at cornerback, so it shouldn’t come to a surprise that they selected one in the fourth round. Coty Sensabaugh, who has good size, put together a really strong performance during February’s NFL Scouting Combine. And before that, Sensabaugh also impressed scouts during the Players All-Star Classic in late January/early February. The knock on him is that he will need to get stronger physically to be able to handle the bigger wide receivers at the NFL level.
Fifth-round pick Taylor Thompson, who played defensive end in college, will transition to tight end with the Titans. While it should be noted that he did play tight end in high school, the only practice time he got at the position since that time was during the Players All-Star Classic earlier this year. And scouts drooled at his athleticism from practices that week. With TE Jared Cook on the final year of his rookie deal, Thompson could see an increased role in his second season, but his rookie season will be all about learning to play tight end at the NFL level.
Sixth-round pick S Markelle Martin surprisingly dropped at least two rounds farther than expected. However, the defensive back suffered a torn meniscus during Senior Bowl week back in late January and had surgery. Martin is known in scouting circles for his physical play and versatility. And the good thing for the Titans is he’s capable of playing either safety position. He has an excellent chance of making the team coming out of the preseason.
Known for his high effort and short area quickness, seventh-round pick DE Scott Solomon should have a legitimate chance to make the 53-man roster this fall due to lack of overall depth at the position. He figures to challenge for the fourth DE job.
The Titans drafted fairly well for overall value, but they still have needs to fill going forward, especially on the defensive side of the ball.