NFL Draft 2017: Titans eager to add talent with 2 top picks
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jon Robinson has made it very clear he is willing to trade NFL draft picks, a philosophy the Titans general manager demonstrated when he swapped the top overall selection a year ago.
That deal is why the Titans go into the general manager’s second draft stocked with two selections in the first round: No. 5 overall from that trade with the Los Angeles Rams a year ago and No. 18 overall earned when the Titans tripled their win total in 2016 by going 9-7. Now they hope to use those picks to fill out a couple holes in the roster.
“We’re not averse to just staying and picking, Robinson said, adding, “if there’s somebody that we know could come in and help our football team.”
The Titans currently have eight draft selections, including two in the third round. But they don’t have a selection in the second after trading back into the top 10 a year ago to take All Pro right tackle Jack Conklin at No. 8. So any move by Robinson likely will help net a pick to get back into that round.
What the Titans need most is another wide receiver for Marcus Mariota after letting Kendall Wright leave as a free agent for Chicago. Cornerback also remains a need with Tennessee releasing veteran Jason McCourty on April 17. Tight end is another area of need with Pro Bowler Delanie Walker turning 33 in August before starting his 12th season.
“We’re just looking for good players,” Robinson said. “We’re still looking to bolster the team with guys that can come in here and help the team win.”
Some other things to know about the Titans for the draft:
THIN RECEIVING CORPS: A speedy wide receiver for coach Mike Mularkey’s offense would help stretch the field for Pro Bowl running back DeMarco Murray. Rishard Matthews had a career year with a team-high 945 yards receiving and nine TDs, and rookie Tajae Sharpe added 41 catches for 522 yards. But Tennessee needs more receiving options for an offense that ranked 25th with 221.3 yards passing per game.
FREE AGENCY: The Titans focused on defense and special teams during free agency, signing six veteran defenders among the eight players signed. Former Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan is expected to start, while safety Johnathan Cyprien brings experience to a defense that ranked 30th against the pass last season. Nose tackle Sylvester Williams from Denver is expected to help ease the pressure inside on Pro Bowl lineman Jurrell Casey.
BUSY GM: Going into his second NFL draft, Robinson already has made five trades. His first landed Murray from Philadelphia in March 2016. He followed that up April 14 by trading the No. 1 pick overall to the Rams. During the draft, Robinson traded back into the top 10 to select Conklin and another swap on the final day of the draft netted a pair of cornerbacks in LeShaun Sims and Kalan Reed. His last trade came in August when he swapped receiver Dorial Green-Beckham to Philadelphia for offensive lineman Dennis Kelly, who became a key reserve.
TWICE AS NICE: If the Titans do draft two players in the first round, it will be the first time since 1987 that the franchise picked multiple players in the opening round. The then-Houston Oilers used the No. 3 selection on running back Alonzo Highsmith and No. 20 on wide receiver Haywood Jeffires.
POTENTIAL SELECTIONS: If the Titans take a wide receiver first, the top options include Clemson’s Mike Williams, Corey Davis of Western Michigan and the speedy John Ross of Washington. Deciding to bolster the secondary could make LSU safety Jamal Adams, Ohio State safety Malik Hooker or cornerback Marshon Lattimore of Ohio State the first choice.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL.
Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker