NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans have focused on defense so far this offseason, and ESPN draft guru Todd McShay sees that trend continuing in the NFL Draft - at least at the start.
McShay has the Titans picking Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen with the fifth overall pick in the draft. In his most recent mock draft, he has the Titans then selecting Clemson receiver Mike Williams with the 18th overall pick.
McShay explained his thought process on a conference call on Wednesday morning.
"I was sitting there with Tennessee and I want to give them more weapons," McShay said. "With Mike Williams, he is great at everything, but what's his true top end speed? Corey Davis has the ankle injury and I really loved his tape. He is big like Williams, I think is faster on tape and has really good ball skills as well. The level of competition, though, is tough because you just didn't get to see him. Now I really like Corey Davis. I think he is going to be a really good pro and could be the first receiver off the board.
"But when you have a guy like Jonathan Allen, if you are comfortable with his medical, I think you put him opposite Jurrell Casey, you've got a 5-techniqe who can also rush the quarterback and is a big-time playmaker. So that was my process there and then we got to 18...and Mike Williams was the third receiver to come off and it just made sense to give them a playmaker."
The Titans have signed six free agents so far in free agency, including five on the defensive side of the football.
In his Mock Draft 3.0, released this morning, McShay has the Browns selecting Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett first overall. McShay has the 49ers picking Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas at No.2, the Bears picking LSU safety Jamal Adams at No.3, and then the Jaguars jumping on surging Alabama tight end O.J. Howard with the No.4 pick.
He wrote this about Allen to the Titans at No.5:
"Allen didn't test well at the combine, but he's a much better football player than his workout numbers would indicate. While some long-term concerns regarding his shoulder might cause him to fall, the Titans have the luxury of taking the best player on their board with this pick, since they also own the 18th selection. Allen would slide right in and start opposite Jurrell Casey at the 5-technique spot."
Before the Titans go back on the clock at 18, McShay sees players like cornerback Marshon Lattimore (Jets, 6) and safety Malik Hooker (Chargers, 7) going off the board in the top 10, and LSU cornerback Tre'Davious White going to the Cardinals at 13. McShay has Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett being picked by the Saints at No.11.
At the receiver position, McShay has Western Michigan's Davis going to the Bills with the 10th overall pick, and Washington's John Ross going to the Ravens at 16th overall.
That would leave Williams to the Titans at No. 18.
"I'll be at Clemson's pro day on Thursday, and I'm interested to see what Williams runs in the 40-yard dash after sitting out the drill at the combine," McShay wrote. "On tape, he shows great hands and the ability to win contested catches. The one remaining question is: What's his true top-end speed? Running a 4.55 or better would be a win for Williams."
McShay on Wednesday said he also considered giving the Titans Miami tight end David Njoku with the 18th overall pick.
"But I think if you get Mike Williams there,'' McShay said of the Titans, "you're in really good shape."