I think it would be appropriate to say that the Titans Draft effort was short, but sweet. The team ended up with the fewest Picks of any team in the League, with only 4 selections. The good news down in Music City is that the team got the guys they wanted especially at the top.
The TITANS set their sights on Alabama LB/RASHAAN EVANS in the First Round and had to sweat it out a bit to get their man with Pick 22, which is exactly where Pigskin Paul had him rated as a prospect. Besides the fact that he comes pro ready with his ‘Bama pedigree EVANS also was highly valued because he’s an every down player. His 4.70/40 time isn’t bad, but he seems to play even faster than that in pads. EVANS also seems to be very instinctive and gets to the ball in a hurry. He is also solid dropping into coverage, and at times is asked to blitz, which he also does well. Of his 74 tackles last year he had 13 TFL, 6 sacks and 7 QBH. The team lost their second leading tackler, AVERY WILLIAMSON, to VFA and needed a replacement for him. EVANS will be given every opportunity to win that job. I expect him to do so once Training Camp begins.
‘Pocket pressure’ became the buzz words of their abbreviated Draft, when in Round 2, at Pick 41 they selected a pure edge-rusher in HAROLD LANDRY/DE/Boston College. At 6’3/252, he’s just not stout enough to play as a full-time pro DE with his hand on the ground, so the question becomes whether or not he can play well enough in reverse to be called an OLB and play every down. I had him ranked as my 25th best prospect, on the assumption that he is healthy after some lower leg issues in the second half of the 2017 season. But he looked healthy and posted some solid numbers at the Combine, ranking as the 4th most athletic player in his position group. His 9 3/8″ hands help him grab hold of QB and others once he gets to them. In 2016 when he was totally healthy, he led the nation with 16.5 sacks and 7 forced fumbles. He might be the flashier version of current Titans OB, DERRICK MORGAN in time. Perhaps very soon since MORGAN is now very highly paid and entering his 9th year in the League.
The team did not pick again until Round 5, at Pick 152. But they managed to get my 107th ranked player in the very versatile DB DANE CRUIKSHANK. Cruikshank toiled in relative obscurity for a below par Arizona team. He was invited to the Shrine venue back in January and was one of my favorite players there. He is a good athlete, with very nice DB size at 6’1/206. His 4.45/40-speed is adequate for a CB, but I think he may be an even better fit as a pro FS. He is physical in coverage, but also has the athleticism to make plays on the ball. He should also make a very good Special Teamer as a pro. This strikes me as a very high value Pick, who should contribute right away in sub-packages.
The team got itself a highly productive college QB in Round 6, Pick 199 in LUKE FALK, from Washington State. He was a record setter in HC Mike Leach’s offense and has nice pro QB size at 6’4/225. His arm is adequate and his FBI is certainly of pro caliber. He is not particularly athletic and will have difficulty moving the pocket to extend plays at the pro level. In the right system he should make a solid career back-up as a pro. He will likely sit behind BLAINE GABBERT if he can make he team. It will be up to FALK to show enough in Camp and pre-season games to force the team to keep 3 QB on their 53-man roster. With some pro coaching under his belt he should make a strong run at winning the No. 2 job as soon as 2019.
These reviews are primarily about actual Draft selections, but in a case like this where only 4 Picks were taken it would pay to make note that the team was very active in signing URFA in a deep draft class of prospects. Familiar names to Draftniks like DeLUCA/LB, BURNETT/WR, WADLEY/RB, WEBB/S, WOLF/TE and others will help to raise the usual volume of 9-12 Rookies to the TITANS roster. Despite lack of quality volume, when you consider the VFA group that they signed the team is looking to move up from their 9-7 regular season mark and win the suddenly tougher AFC South in 2018.