Five Things That Stood Out for Titans From NFL Draft


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The NFL Draft is in the books.

The Titans ended up grabbing 10 players in the 2016 draft, Jon Robinson's first as general manager of the team.

Here's a look at five things that stood out:


The Titans are building at identity**

There's been a lot of talk in recent years about the Titans lacking an identity. It's evident the team is trying to change that perception. This year's draft is loaded with big, physical football players, starting with first-round pick Jack Conklin. The next three guys off the board -- OLB Kevin Dodd (6-5, 277), DL Austin Johnson (6-4, 314) and RB Derrick Henry (6-3, 247) -- all bring a rugged approach to the game as well. But the smash-mouth trend didn't stop there. Guard Sebastian Tretola (6-4, 322) is known for being a bully, and LeShaun Sims (6-0, 203) is no pushover either. Robinson and coach Mike Mularkey have preached all offseason about wanting tough players, and they're backing it up with their new additions.

The RB room is suddenly packed – and pressured

Most of the discussion following the selection of running back Derrick Henry centered on how the Titans will manage carries with veteran DeMarco Murray and the Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama. Time will tell, but having two big-time backs is hardly a bad thing. The addition of the two backs isn't necessarily great for the job security of some of the other backs on the roster, however. Antonio Andrews, David Cobb, Bishop Sankey, Dexter McCluster and David Fluellen will be fighting for reps and a roster spots throughout the offseason, and in camp. Needless to say, the Titans can't keep them all.


Titans did their homework**

When the Titans pulled the trigger on their selections over the weekend, they did so after an exhausting process that included Robinson, Mularkey, the scouting department, and assistant coaches. I can't remember the last time the Titans picked so many players who were among their 30 pre-draft Nashville visits. Conklin, Johnson, Tretola and Wallace all spent a day in Nashville in April. The Titans attended Pro Days for all the players, and sent assistant coaches DeShea Townsend (secondary) and Bob Bratkowski (receivers) went to the campuses of some of the later-round picks. A big contingent from the Titans traveled to MTSU two weeks before the draft to spend time with safety Kevin Byard.

Protecting – and helping -- Marcus Mariota is key

The Titans added a sturdy center in free agency in Ben Jones and then picked up two more bodyguards in Conklin and Tretola, who add up to 622 between the two of them. All three of them have a reputation as no-nonsense, hard-nosed players willing to push folks around – and keep their quarterback from getting him. Adding a running back like Henry proved even further the Titans want to keep Mariota from having to do it all in the offense, something he was faced with too often during his rookie season.


Robinson is a wheeler and dealer**

OK, so we already knew that. The general manager proved he's not shy when he acquired Murray via trade, and then shipped the No.1 pick of the draft to the Rams a few weeks before the draft for a boatload of picks. But Robinson, as we all know, didn't stop there. At the start of the draft, he traded up to get in a position to draft Conklin at 8, and then he moved up again in the fifth round to land Southern Utah's Sims, a player the Titans did plenty of homework on. Robinson has proven to be an outside-the-box thinker, and an aggressive risk-taker, in his first few months on the job. And so far, it's paid off.

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