It is time for the annual stab in the dark known as The City Paper mock draft in trying to determine who the Tennessee Titans will pick.
At No. 24, it will be interesting to see exactly who the Titans have their choice of. It could be a running back, though it might be better to wait there because the 2008 class is such a deep group.
Maybe the Titans would be better off grabbing a wide receiver, since there appears to be more separation between the top tier group there and the second group available.
So here is my mock draft for the Titans and the accompanying alibis for why I picked who I picked:
First round (24th overall selection): Devin Thomas, WR, Michigan State. Some project Thomas as the top available wide receiver in the 2008 draft; therefore, he might not be there when Tennessee makes its selection. However, there is the school of thought that says he will be around in a draft not ripe with polished receivers. And two years from now, perhaps he becomes the No. 1 receiver the Titans have not had since another Michigan State guy, Derrick Mason, left town.
Second round (54th overall selection): Phillip Merling, DE, Clemson. The Titans need someone to pair with Jevon Kearse at defensive end opposite Kyle Vanden Bosch, and a run-stopper like Merling will fit the bill nicely.
Third round (85th overall selection): Tracy Porter, CB, Indiana. Pretty good cover skills and rising up some teams’ draft boards. With Nick Harper getting older and entering the final year of his contract (as is Reynaldo Hill), it never hurts to keep replenishing the cornerback position.
Fourth round (124th overall selection): Jason Jones, DT, Eastern Michigan. The defensive line depth is rounded out here by selecting a player who can compete with second-year man Antonio Johnson for time in the defensive tackle rotation.
Fourth round (126th overall selection): Steve Slaton, RB, West Virginia. Irony strikes as the Titans go back to West Virginia with the pick acquired for Adam “Pacman” Jones. Except Slaton doesn’t appear to have any off-field baggage, and will be a nice change-of-pace running back to pair with LenDale White.
Fourth round (135th overall selection) Jonathan Goff, LB, Vanderbilt. With their compensatory selection, the Titans stay at home and add some linebacker depth with the Commodores’ Goff, who down the line competes for playing time and helps out on special teams until then.
Fifth round (157th overall selection): William Franklin, WR, Missouri. The Titans continue to adhere to the battle call for adding speed and explosiveness by grabbing this Missouri speedster.
Seventh round (229th overall selection): King Dunlap, OT, Auburn. No Titans draft is complete without adding at least one offensive line project for Mike Munchak to groom for future seasons. Dunlap is this year’s project.