NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Draft week has arrived. After months of buildup and projections, we'll finally see which prospects land with which teams.
The Tennessee Titans are picking 25th, so much of who remains on their draft board when they are on the clock will be dependent upon positional runs, trades and players falling to them. After talking to some people in the know over the last few months, I took a stab at the most likely prospects for the Titans to take with their first-round pick. There's also a decent chance that the Titans will consider trading back to collect more picks.
Here's a range of guys who might go a few spots before the Titans pick at No. 25, a few after or right around that pick. All five are defensive selections, as I see the Titans going that route with their first pick. I talked to a few scouts from different teams to get their take on these prospects. Let's dive in:
Harold Landry, defensive end/linebacker, Boston College: First, Landry shouldn't be here. He should be selected in the first half of the opening round because of his athleticism, junior-year production and position. If Landry is available at 25, Titans general manager Jon Robinson should have his draft reps run the pick up. There are questions about Landry's run defense, but he would immediately step in as a dangerous situational pass-rusher behind aging veterans Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan. He could become the Titans' top pass-rusher within a year.
Scout take: "He's right behind Bradley Chubb. Good pass-rusher. He was a lot better his junior year than his senior year."
Sam Hubbard, defensive end, Ohio State: Sweet fit here; Hubbard was recruited to Ohio State by Titans head coach Mike Vrabel when Vrabel was an assistant for the Buckeyes. Hubbard fits the Titans' edge-rusher needs while showing off qualities that Vrabel prioritizes like instincts and play speed over timed speed. Hubbard may even be available later in the first or early in second round if the Titans decided to trade down.
Scout take: "Hubbard is good, but nothing special."
Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama: Evans follows a long line of talented Alabama inside linebackers who have gone on to be high draft picks this decade (Dont'a Hightower, Courtney Upshaw, C.J. Mosley, Reggie Ragland, Reuben Foster). It would be easy to see former Baltimore Ravens and current Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees seeing Evans as a potential duplicate of Mosley.
Josh Sweat, defensive end, Florida State: The Titans have given a lot of attention to Sweat throughout the draft process, and it's hard to tell whether it's genuine or a smoke screen. He shined at the combine (4.53-second 40-yard dash, 39.5-inch vertical, 1.55 10-yard split). Sweat has more of a complete game than Landry and more athleticism than Hubbard, but he's far less polished. The biggest knock on Sweat coming into the process was a knee he dislocated four years ago. He passed his physical in Indianapolis and did not need to come back for a recheck, a source said. Potential trade-down target.
Scout take: "Workouts were better than tape. He's quite an athlete. FSU played him everywhere. He may go higher than I'd take him."
Justin Reid, safety, Stanford: Safety isn't as big of a need as front seven, but the Titans would like their safeties to be interchangeable and versatile coverage guys. Kevin Byard has put his name among the NFL's best safeties after a breakout sophomore year. Johnathan Cyprien was a splash free-agency signing a year ago, but he's more of a box safety. Reid would represent starting competition for Cyprien from day one and give them much-needed starting-caliber depth.
Scout take: "He's better than his brother (free-agent Eric Reid) in coverage. Versatile."