Crystal ball gazing — a mock draft peek at Tennessee’s likely first 10 picks

Friday, April 24, 2009 at 12:41am
D.J. Moore

 It’s time for my annual mock draft to take wild stabs at just whom the Tennessee Titans might select with their 10 picks this weekend.

And stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Titans enter 2009 NFL Draft weekend looking for help at wide receiver. It is a familiar refrain around Baptist Sports Park and with Titans fans. Still, despite needing help at the position, Tennessee has normally addressed other needs first with draft picks — not having used a first-round pick at receiver since Kevin Dyson in 1998 or a second-rounder there since Tyrone Calico in 2003.

Although the Titans could have a number of options when their turn comes at No. 30 on Saturday, perhaps — just perhaps — this is the year Tennessee goes back to the well at receiver in round one to try and solve the ongoing problem at that spot.

When the Titans’ turn comes, there are several players who could be attractive at that spot. Cornerbacks Alphonso Smith of Wake Forest, Darius Butler of Connecticut and Vontae Davis of Illinois may well be on the board for Tennessee. In addition, the Titans might have a chance at Missouri star defensive tackle Evander “Ziggy” Hood.

But if the team look to receivers who could be available late in the first round, they are Rutgers’ Kenny Britt, North Carolina’s Hakeem Nicks or Florida’s Percy Harvin — though the Titans are almost certain to steer clear of him — given his off-field issues.

Darrius Heyward-Bey also visited the Titans, but could well be gone by the time Tennessee picked.

But enough yakking already. Here’s the annual City Paper mock (mockery?) draft on players the Titans would (will?) choose.

Pick #1 – Round 1. Hakeem Nicks, (WR), North Carolina:

There are those inside Baptist Sports Park who like Britt and even Heyward-Bey better, because they are faster and perhaps capable of stretching the field more. But that might be precisely the reason they are gone.

Wake Forest’s Smith is certainly tempting as well here, if he’s around, as is Hood to fill a defensive line spot. Don’t rule out linebacker Clay Matthews either, though he is another unlikely to last until pick No. 30.

Pick #2 – Round 2. D.J. Moore, (CB), Vanderbilt:

The Titans have had the chance to examine Moore up-close, and have a need for both a cornerback and a punt returner. Moore can do both, and his mid- 4.5 speed has him tumbling down the draft boards and perhaps into the bottom of round two and into the Titans’ laps.

Pick #3 – Round 3. Jason Williams, (LB), Western Illinois:

A fast-riser in the eyes of many. The Titans have mined small school gold in the past with Cortland Finnegan, Michael Roos and again last year with Jason Jones and perhaps William Hayes.

Pick #4 – Round 4. Mike Wallace, (WR), Ole Miss:

If Heyward-Bey gets away in the first round, the Titans still have options for a speed receiver, and Wallace of Ole Miss fits the bill for that. Perhaps not as polished as the top tier guys, Wallace’s speed gives him plenty of upside.

Pick #5 – Round 4. Lardarius Webb, (CB), Nicholls State:

Another player with loads of upside, but Webb is dogged by off-field issues that wound up getting him dismissed at Southern Mississippi before he enrolled at Division I-AA Nicholls State. Webb has the skills to be a top-flight corner, if he can get past his previous issues.

Pick #6 – Round 5. Everette Pedescleaux, (DE), Northern Iowa:

Pedescleaux has a background in basketball, and plenty of potential. He could be just the type project for defensive line coach Jim Washburn to groom.

Pick #7 – Round 6. Travis Beckum, (TE), Wisconsin:

The Titans are likely to take a tight end somewhere in this draft, simply because it is such a deep group. Beckum was one of the best tight ends in the Big Ten, but an injury in 2008 has his draft stock down a bit. Remember, the Titans found Bo Scaife in much the same way four years ago.

Pick #8 – Round 6. Andrew Gardner, (T), Georgia Tech:

Speaking of projects to groom, Mike Munchak usually gets one or two to work with each season. Gardner should fit that bill as a backup tackle.

Pick #9 – Round 7. Robert Francois, (LB), Boston College:

The Titans need depth at linebacker, and Francois is a late riser, who can cut his teeth on special teams while waiting for his chance.

Pick #10 – Round 7. Nader Abdallah, (DT), Ohio State:

Another project for Washburn, who has gotten results out of the likes of Robaire Smith, Carlos Hall and Jacob Ford in the late rounds before.

Check out this week's NFL Draft coverage:

Titans scouts share draft secrets