Mike Reinfeldt described the Tennessee Titans’ draft board as a work in progress.
As of Tuesday afternoon, a little more than 48 hours before the start of the first round, the team’s general manager and scouting staff continued to review, revise and revamp the master list from which they will make their picks.
Through it all, one aspect of the board remained constant.
There are not 32 players the Titans deem worthy of a first-round selection. Good thing for them, their first pick is scheduled to be the 16th overall.
“I wouldn’t tell you the specific number, but it’s less than 32 – and it usually is, quite honestly,” Reinfeldt said. “ … It’s between 16 and 32. I’ll go there.
“It’s a number that works for us.”
He did acknowledge that the Titans, who are scheduled to make nine picks overall, can do any number of things, including make a deal for their first-round choice. Still, the combination of their draft position and the number of players they believe are worthy of that spot make it more likely than not that they will remain in that spot and pick as scheduled.
“At this point in time there’s some players we really like at 16 – a number of them – and we’d like to see things develop,” Reinfeldt said. “If someone makes an offer that’s too good to pass up, we’d certainly take that into consideration.”
Assuming Tennessee does pick at No. 16, it will be the franchise’s earliest selection since Reinfeldt replaced former general manager Floyd Reese following the 2006 season.
All three of the first-round picks under Reinfeldt – Michael Griffin (19th, 2007), Chris Johnson (24th, 2008) and Kenny Britt (30th, 2009) – quickly assumed prominent roles on the team.
The last time the Titans had the 16th overall pick (1999), they ended up with Jevon Kearse, who was the Defensive Rookie of the Year that season.
“I think out of the first-round pick, you’d like to see him contribute some early on out of the gate, be involved be somewhat productive and then as the season goes along take on a bigger and bigger role,” Reinfeldt said.
Defensive end is considered a primary need for the Titans once again this year following the loss of Kyle Vanden Bosch through free agency and the end of Kearse’s second stint with the franchise because his contract expired.
“I would say there’s quite a few defensive linemen that are pretty good,” C.O. Brocato, the team’s national scouting supervisor, said. “I feel like there’s going to be more defensive linemen taken in the early rounds, moreso than at other positions.
“I think this year’s draft is not bad. I think they have some real good football players in there, enough for everybody to take one.”
There just aren’t enough to fill up Round One, at least as far as the Titans are concerned.
“Beauty is kind of in the eye of the beholder,” Reinfeldt said. “There will be some guys taken who we had as second-round grades taken in the first round, and there will be some guys that we view as first-round picks who will slide to the second.”
• Reinfeldt repeatedly avoided questions about any effort the Titans might have made or will make to reacquire defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth in a trade with Washington. Reinfledt cited the league’s tampering rules, which prohibit league personnel from commenting about a player under contract with another team.
• The recent signing of quarterback Chris Simms does not mean Tennessee won’t use one of its nine selections this weekend on a quarterback, Reinfeldt said.
Simms became the third quarterback under contract. Vince Young and Kerry Collins were the other two.
“That’s a position we could look at,” Reinfeldt said. “I wouldn’t rule out any position at this point. The good thing is we have nine picks. So it affords us the opportunity to stack good players, if that’s what the board says, at different positions.”