NASHVILLE – Titans General Manager Jon Robinson held a pre-draft press conference on Monday leading up to this week's NFL Draft.
The first round of the draft kicks off on Thursday night and the draft runs through Saturday.
Here's a look at some of the highlights from today's 36-minute video conference call:
-Robinson thanked his scouting staff, coaching staff and the team's medical staff at the start of the call. "A tip of the cap to everybody that has had a very important hand in this process so far."
-The Titans have four picks in the top 100 in this year's draft. But it doesn't sound like Robinson is satisfied. "I wish I had more than four," Robinson said. "But that's what we've got, and we'll see what we can make out of that. Can we turn four into five or maybe six? I have some calls to put in around the league with other GMs, just to kind of gauge their willingness to move around Thursday night and Friday night, and we'll see how those calls go this week. … I think everybody kind of knows that we're willing to shuffle around. We have historically been a team that doesn't mind shuffling around pick-wise."
-The Titans are scheduled to make nine picks in this year's draft, beginning with pick No.22. "I am excited about the number of picks that we have this year," Robinson said. "Whether we come away with fewer picks if we move up, or more picks if we move back, we'll just see how it goes."
-Robinson said the Titans have discussed both moving up and back in the draft, but plenty depends on how things play out leading up to Tennessee's pick and who is on the board. "You don't want to trade back just to trade back," Robinson said. "What's the return on that move? And can you still get a player you want and pick up a pick in doing so?"
-Robinson attended roughly "10 to 12" Pro Days this season, including Alabama, Tennessee, Miami (Fla.), Michigan and Tulsa. He said it was beneficial to see the players on the field, interacting with their teammates and coaches. "It was great for me to get back out and get on some campuses and watch these guys work live," Robinson said. "(I) was able to participate in some of the drills with some of the guys, and all of that was really good for me." Robinson said he felt like the zoom meetings provided more of a relaxing atmosphere compared to last year. Robinson said the medical portion of the process has been more challenging because not as many were available without the NFL Combine this year.
-Robinson was asked about "need" vs "best player available". The GM said in a "perfect world, if you can get it to match up, where need meets the best player on the board." But Robinson said the Titans could still pick players at position where they don't have a glaring need now because injuries can't be predicted, and because those positions could be needed down the road.
-Robinson said the receiver position is "pretty balanced from top to bottom." He said the group has some premium players at the top, and there's good depth and role players throughout the draft.
-Robinson said the cornerback group has some good players at the top and in the middle, and at the back of the draft, "you're kind of drafting some traits – there's some guys that are really fast at the back end, and there's some guys that are really good tacklers. It's really kind of what you want for your football team."
-Robinson said there's a lot more depth at the offensive line compared to the defensive line group. There's good depth at the tackle and interior positions throughout the draft on the offensive line, he said. Robinson said there are some tackles "worthy of first-round picks."
-Robinson said edge rusher is a good position group. "There's some guys at the top," Robinson said. "And then there's some guys in the middle that we like, that we think can be situation guys and maybe grow into full-time starting players. … And then there's some developmental guys that are going to be later on that we think have some upside as well. So, I think that's a pretty good depth position as well."
-Robinson said a lot of the players who opted out for the 2020 season returned to their Pro Days and performed well. Part of the draft process this year was understanding the decisions for each player. The Titans have also watched a lot of 2019 college tape on players who opted out in 2020.
-Robinson was asked about tackle Isaiah Wilson, the team's first round draft pick a year ago who was traded to Miami earlier this offseason. Wilson has since been released by Miami. "I always put pressure on myself to get it right, and we've gotten it probably right more than we have wrong. Last year certainly wasn't a great situation for us," Robinson said. "But I'm proud of the guys in the process for the players that have come in here and have done things the right way and been productive members of our football team, and you can go down the list from Jack Conklin to A.J. Brown to Kevin Byard to Derrick Henry. Rattle off all of our draft picks and there have been a lot of good ones, and the ones I didn't get right, or we didn't get right, I am certainly not looking to do that again."
-Robinson said the Titans could benefit from so many quarterbacks being selected early in the draft, because that could "push a player to you that maybe typically wouldn't be there for you."
-As for making trades, Robinson said he looks at historical trades more than the points charts to gauge whether it's worth doing a deal. "The history of what has kind of gone is probably what you are going to lean maybe moreso on than, 'Well, I'm short 2.7 points on the trade chart, so I'm not going to do it."
-Robinson had a funny one-liner when asked about the team's draft set-up, and whether it might compare to the mansion that will serve as headquarters for the Los Angeles Rams, and head coach Sean McVay. "We do not have a McMansion," Robinson said. "Me and coach Vrabel may pitch a tent beside the lake" at (Saint Thomas Sports Park). We don't have a ram, but maybe there's a raccoon we can let rummage in there with us as we pick." … The reality is the team's headquarters in Nashville is currently under construction, so the team will be operating in a temporary draft room in property owned by the Titans in the MetroCenter area.