Meet the eight members of the Titans' 2013 draft class

Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 11:19pm

Chance Warmack, 10th overall
Guard, 6-2, 317, Alabama

Who: He was a part of three national championship teams in four years at Alabama. He started the final 40 games of his career at left guard after having been a backup right guard for the first five. He was a first-team All-American as a senior and a second-team All-American the previous year.

Why: An overhaul of the interior of the offensive line has been the offseason’s top priority, and Warmack becomes a major part of that as the presumed starter at right guard. Plus, the franchise had not used a first-round pick on an offensive lineman since it took tackle Brad Hopkins 13th overall in 1993. It was time.

Notable number: Two – penalties called against him in 805 plays for which he was on the field as a senior.

The Titans say: “If the board fell right, then we thought this was a guy that we couldn’t pass on and there it was. So it worked out real well for us. … He loves to play and he loves what he does and he has been successful with what he does. He has worked very hard for what he has accomplished at Alabama and we see that being contagious to our group and our offensive line.” – coach Mike Munchak

Warmack says: “I feel like I could grow as a player, learning from some of the best guys that’s played the position, and I’m not saying that because [Munchak] is sitting right next to me. It’s a dream for a guy like me to find other guys that played my position and know what’s hard and what’s going to be easy and can speak from a guard’s perspective.”

Justin Hunter, 34th overall
Wide receiver, 6-3, 202, Tennessee

Who: A knee injury ended his junior season in the third game, but he came back and caught 73 passes for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns last season. The 73 receptions were tied for the second-highest single-season total in UT history. He has a long stride that allows him to get away from defenders and big hands that help him hang on to the ball, even when it’s slightly off target.

Why: At worst, the Titans now have a big, fast receiver to take Kenny Britt’s place in the event Britt’s injury problems or off-the-field issues resurface. At best, quarterback Jake Locker now has three receivers drafted in the first or second round – Hunter, Britt and Kendall Wright – over the last five years at his disposal.

Notable number: 18 – touchdown receptions in 28 career games, including an UT freshman-record seven in 2010.

The Titans say: “For us, he was on a different level grade-wise than the rest of the players on the board. It was not even really close for us. With him sitting there we just saw this great opportunity to get a really talented wide receiver with a lot of upside. That was really it. We liked Justin Hunter a lot.” – general manager Ruston Webster.

Hunter says: “I was hoping really to go in the first round, but I see the positive of going in the second round, so I wasn’t too bummed. … There might be some Hall of Famers one day in the second round, so that makes you what to work that much harder just because you were that close from being in the first round and you are going to work that much harder to show people why you could have been a first-rounder.”

Blidi Wreh-Wilson, 70th overall
Cornerback, 6-foot, 192, Connecticut

Who: A soccer player until his senior year in high school, he was a 165-pound running back/cornerback who immediately earned a two-star rating from multiple outlets. He redshirted as a true freshman but became a starter before the halfway point of the next season. In 45 career appearances (like Warmack he made 40 starts) he intercepted eight passes and averaged nearly four tackles per game.

Why: Cornerback is a position the Titans address in the draft virtually ever year. This was the 13th straight year they picked at least one and the fourth time in five years they got one before the end of the fourth round.

Notable number: 45.7 – percent of the 46 throws into Wreh-Wilson’s area last season that resulted in a completed pass.

The Titans say: “The nice thing about him is he’s athletic. He can play the ball in the air. He can play press. He can play off. He can remember things and has very good reaction skills. … It’s going to be great working with him.” – assistant secondary coach Steve Brown.

Wreh-Wilson says: “I played soccer before I played football. That was probably the first sport I picked up probably since I was five through my junior year of high school. I had a late growth spurt so it was kind of a safety thing. My dad didn’t like football, so in sixth, seventh or eighth grade I played soccer. My senior year I had a nice growth spurt and played the sport that I really wanted to play.”

Zaviar Gooden, 97th overall
Linebacker, 6-1, 234, Missouri

Who: A three-year starter, he was the fastest linebacker at this year’s NFL combine when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds. Playing the weak side, which requires a player to operate in the open field, he led the team with 85 tackles as a sophomore and averaged 70.5 the next two seasons. He was a team captain last fall after having graduated earlier in the year.

Why: Consistent with their pick of Zach Brown in the second round a year ago, the Titans want to emphasize speed with their linebackers. His combination of size and speed provides a better option to match up with the NFL’s increasing number of athletic tight ends than a defensive back does.

Notable Number: 5 – the number of both interceptions and fumble recoveries he had in his career, a total of 10 takeaways.

The Titans say: “With that explosive speed – and he’s a strong kid – he could be a devastating blitzer. He has played strong safety in the past years ago. … Anything that happens out on the perimeter, he has outstanding closing speed and can make a lot of plays out there.” – linebackers coach Chet Parlavecchio.

Gooden says: “Yeah, I know about Zach Brown. He went to North Carolina and he ran a real fast 40 last year as well. I know he used to run track as well. … He is a great player and I have great respect for him and I am excited to work with him. Obviously, we are both real fast for the position.”

Brian Schwenke, 107th overall
Center, 6-3, 307, California

Who: He is a three-year starter who moved from guard (20 starts at left guard, four at right guard as a sophomore and junior) to center last season. Numerous analysts rated him as the best center available in the draft, either because of his athleticism, his nasty attitude – or both. He and first-round draft choice Chance Warmack trained together in pre-draft workouts.

Why: The Titans viewed him as too good to pass up at that spot and potentially addressed another offensive line spot for the long term. The last time they drafted a true college center was 2004, when they got Eugene Amano. The four veterans currently on the roster who can play that position are all 28 or older.

Notable number: 0 – sacks and quarterback pressures credited to opposing players Schwenke blocked last season. He was the only Cal starter who did not allow either.

The Titans say: “Like we talked about with Chance Warmack, he’s a guy that moves the pile. He’s played physical on both levels. He can get to the second level well. He’s smart, so he’s a guy that has a capability of playing early because he gets it and takes control pretty well.” – Munchak.

Schwenke says: “When I play Madden, I like to use the Titans because [Chris Johnson] is such a good running back.  It is going to be exciting.  Honestly, I couldn’t be more excited to be in Tennessee.”

Lavar Edwards, 142nd overall
Defensive end, 6-4, 277, LSU

Who: LSU’s third defensive end behind two other draft picks, Barkevious Mingo (first round) and Sam Montgomery (third round), Edwards did not post huge numbers in 52 games (15 starts) over four years. He never had more than 26 tackles or four and a half sacks in a season. He was, however, versatile enough to play on both ends of the line. He also intercepted two passes in his career.

Why: Having run 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash, he’s another player who adds speed to the defense. Unlike most of the team’s other depth players at that spot, he is not a specialist – he projects as someone who can be effective against both the run and the pass.

Notable number: 6 – career quarterback pressures, four of them either resulted in an interception of the end of a drive for the opponent.

The Titans say: “We need football players. This is a football game. I feel like this guy is a football player and that he can do many things for us. As we go along, we can go into saying we can go to a specialty guy of that nature. This guy I feel like can play football hopefully on all downs.” – defensive line coach Tracy Rocker.

Edwards says: “Knowing my snaps would be limited throughout the game, whenever I did get out there, I wanted to make sure that I could do whatever was in my power, go all out and make sure that I made plays when I had the opportunity to make them. So, I would take advantage of every opportunity that I got.”

Khalid Wooten, 202nd overall
Cornerback, 5-11, 210, Nevada

Who: He does not have the top end speed for the position but he is stronger than most (only two cornerbacks at the NFL combine did more bench press reps than his 17). He also has been consistently productive – he intercepted at least two passes each of his four years, including a career-high four as a junior, despite the fact that he was not a starter as a freshman or sophomore.

Why: In addition to the fact that he provides additional depth at cornerback, he also has experience as a punt and kickoff returner. One way or another, he offers immediate potential as a special teams contributor and more long-term upside at cornerback.

Notable number: 90 – yards on an interception return for a touchdown against New Mexico State in 2010. It was one of the longest interception returns in Nevada history.

The Titans say: “We are trying to get some big corners with speed and he fit that mold.  He has good toughness and good ball skills and has interception production.  He was on our board where the value was good for us to take him.” – Webster.

Wooten says: “[I want to] excel at my craft. My main job is preventing the receiver from catching the ball, that’s what I am going to do.”

Daimion Stafford, 248th overall
Safety, 6-1, 205, Nebraska

Who: He played two years at Nebraska, during which he started 26 of the 27 games he played. His team-high four interceptions last season all came against Big Ten opponents, and his 176 career tackles were the fourth-highest total by a two-year player in school history. Before that he spent two years at Chaffey College (Calif.), where he intercepted 10 passes, averaged 74 tackles and was one of the top-ranked junior college defensive backs in the country.

Why: Free agent Bernard Pollard signed a one-year contract, and 2012 sixth-round pick Markelle Martin missed all of last season with a knee injury. That means the future of the strong safety position in the Titans’ defense is completely undecided. Stafford is now added to that mix.

Notable number: 47.1 – the completion percentage allowed by Nebraska’s defense in 2012, it was the best in the nation.

The Titans say: “Daimion Stafford is somebody who is a physical, downhill safety that we think can play back as well.  His calling card is going to be his physical nature and how he hits, 220 pounds.  We liked him and have for some time.” – Webster.

Stafford says: “[It was] a real long day, woke early, and you know, basically waiting. … No, I am not disappointed. I mean it happens the way it happens for a reason. I’m just excited to get out there and compete, play football.”