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Draft's Top Defenders Like Idea of Playing for Titans DC Dick LeBeau


PHILADELPHIA – Marshon Lattimore knew of Dick LeBeau long before he walked in the doors at Saint Thomas Sports Park on April 4.

Like Lattimore, LeBeau was a star defensive back at Ohio State. The Titans defensive coordinator played for the Buckeyes under coach Woody Hayes in the 1950s, and became a Hall of Famer.

"He's a legend,'' Lattimore, who's projected to be the first cornerback taken in tonight's NFL Draft, said of LeBeau. "When I spent time with him, he taught me a lot, not just about football, but about life and being prepared for the NFL. I feel like he's a great person."

The Titans are scheduled to pick twice in the first round of tonight's NFL Draft – at No. 5 and No. 18.

With needs in the secondary, the team is expected to address cornerback and safety in the draft, but just how early has been up for debate among those who pen mock drafts. It's a deep draft for cornerbacks and safeties.

The lure of LeBeau makes the Titans even more attractive to some of the DBs in the draft.

"He's the guy that you want to play for, I know that," LSU cornerback Tre'Davious White said of LeBeau. "I have been training with Ryan Clark, and he played for Dick LeBeau in Pittsburgh, so I've always heard about him.

"He's a great coordinator, a guy who cares about his players and he is going to put his players in the best position to make plays."

Here at the NFL Draft, Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen also called LeBeau "a legend."

While Lattimore is considered the top cornerback in this year's draft, LSU's Jamal Adams has consistently been ranked the top safety in this year's class, although Ohio State's Malik Hooker has drawn plenty of praise as well.

Lattimore has been a popular pick of the Titans. In the most recent mock draft roundup by Titans Online, four of 17 mock drafts had Lattimore pegged to the Titans at No.5.

"But you can't read into that because mock drafts don't mean anything,'' Lattimore said. "The teams that are going to pick you are going to pick you, it is their decision so I try not to get too caught up in that. I try and tell my family members the same thing. It's exciting, some have me going as high as 2 (to San Francisco). That would be a blessing but I don't know where I am going."

At this point, Adams said players are ready to find their new home.

Now, for many of them, they're just hours away.

"I have been dreaming of this for a long time," Adams said. "I have been watching the draft, and seeing those guys walk the stage. So it is crazy.

"I am not going to be able to see if everybody else is crying because it is going to be emotional for me."

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