ESPN Draft Analyst Mel Kiper Offers Take on Titans Draft

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Mel Kiper's draft grades are in, and he gave the Titans a good one:

A-.

Kiper, ESPN's easily-recognized draft analyst, awarded the Titans one of the highest grades of the 2016 NFL Draft.

"The Titans not only got a bunch of good football players in this draft, they should have one of the best 2017 draft classes thanks to the premium picks they added when they moved out of the No. 1 slot. That's factored into the grade here,'' Kiper wrote on ESPN. "As for what they got this year, well, it's quite a bit even if the value was just OK in spots."

Kiper gave the Jaguars and Ravens both an 'A" for this year's draft. He gave the Titans, Bears, Bengals and Redskins an "A-." Those were his highest marks among the team's 32 teams.

Kiper lowest grade was a C. It went to the Browns, Cowboys, Eagles and 49ers.

As Kiper wrote, "the draft is about adding talent, but winning is about talent development. I know I can't grade a draft class on performance for at least a few years, which is a reason I audit old drafts. What I do here is assess three main things:

• How much overall talent did a team add, based on board position?

• How effectively did they address key personnel voids?

• How efficient were they in maneuvering on the draft board?

"In my mind an A means it's exceptional; a B is pretty good; a C is average, with hits and questions marks,'' Kiper wrote. "A D means below average with some big questions."

The Titans picked Michigan State tackle Jack Conklin No.8 overall in the draft after trading up to get him, and then picked Clemson outside linebacker Kevin Dodd in the second round. Penn State defensive lineman Austin Johnson and Alabama running back Derrick Henry were also second round selections.

"Jack Conklin is a good player, and will compete to start at left tackle, and perhaps end up at right. Either way, that's a starter at a need spot,'' per Kiper. "Kevin Dodd helps the pass rush, Derrick Henry gives them running back help (even though you can get good running backs much, much later), Austin Johnson will jump into the mix on the D-line."

The Titans took MTSU safety Kevin Byard in the third round, and then selected Massachusetts receiver Tajae Sharpe and Southern Utah cornerback LeShaun Sims in the fifth round. Guard Sebastian Tretola was the team's sixth-round pick, and UCLA linebacker Aaron Wallace and Southern Mississippi cornerback Kalan Reed were selected in the seventh round.

"Tajae Sharpe could compete for time at wide receiver,'' Kiper wrote. "LeShaun Sims and Kevin Byard could help in the secondary, though not early on.

"If there's a question mark for me, it's whether they should have added a corner or wide receiver earlier. But overall, they got a bunch of players who have the chance to help, and the picks for next year will turn into more. This is what rebuilding looks like, and they already have the QB."

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