NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The New England Patriots have been crowned Super Bowl XLIX Champions and the entire league now shifts its focus to the offseason.
With the calendar already turned to February, the NFL Scouting Combine is up next later this month at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. That means draft season is heating up. The experts will be churning out mock drafts more regularly, continuously tinkering with their predictions. As always, we'll have you covered at Titans Online.
Here's your fill of draft information to get lost in. There's plenty of changes from past versions with several analysts no longer thinking the Titans will select a quarterback in the first round.
NFL.com's Bucky Brooks (@BuckyBrooks) has the Titans taking USC DT Leonard Williams with the second pick. Brooks calls Williams, "a dominant defender capable of playing anywhere on the defensive front."
Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) of Bleacher Report put together his first full seven-round mock draft. Miller agrees with Brooks and thinks the Titans go with Williams in the first round.
"The Titans could build a dominant defensive line by putting Leonard Williams opposite Jurrell Casey," says Miller. "Williams is a special athlete and rare player at defensive tackle. He's also versatile enough to play in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense — something coordinator Ray Horton desperately needs to run his hybrid defense."
In the second round, he has Tennessee going with edge rusher Vic Beasley out of Clemson.
"Beasley is the edge-rusher the Titans are lacking and will be a third-down specialist from Day 1," he said of the pick.
Miller has the Titans going with Houston WR Deontay Greenberry, Florida Atlantic CB D'Joun Smith, Penn State LB Mike Hull, Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace and Central Arkansas WR Dezmin Lewis in rounds three through six. The Lewis pick is the final selection of the sixth round that Tennessee acquired from the Patriots in the Akeem Ayers trade. The Titans do not have a seventh round pick as of now.
Rob Rang (@RobRang) and Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) of cbssports.com have updated their mock draft and both changed their predictions for the Titans at #2. In their last version, both Rang and Brugler had the Titans taking Jameis Winston.
Now, Rang thinks the Titans select Williams. Brugler has Tennesse going with Nebraska edge rusher Randy Gregory.
This is what Rang said about the Titans taking Williams: "Gambling on a rookie quarterback when Zach Mettenberger showed flashes as a rookie might not make as much sense as landing a building block for defensive coordinator Ray Horton. The 6-5, 290-pound Williams has been my personal top-rated player since October. He is a physical mismatch - too quick for interior linemen and too powerful for offensive tackles."
Here are Brugler's comments on Gregory: "If Tennessee passes on a passer and goes best player available, that might lead the team to Gregory, who could take over for Derrick Morgan as a stand-up rush end in Ray Horton's 3-4 defense."
Both of the CBS draft experts think the Tampa Bay Buccaneers go with Winston as the top pick in the draft. Also of note, Rang and Brugler think Mariota goes to the New York Jets at pick number six.
Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) of rotoworld.com says the Titans will go with Winston after the Bucs select Mariota first overall.
Bleacher Report's Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) also thinks the Titans take Williams.
"A 6'5", 300-pound player with terrific strength and athleticism, Williams can beat blockers both inside and outside," said Hope. "He is ideally suited to play defensive end in a 3-4 scheme like that which the Titans run and could immediately give Tennessee an elite combination at that position, in tandem with fellow USC product Jurrell Casey."
Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) of Fox Sports is on the Williams train.
"A hot shot high school recruit out of Florida, Williams has drawn comparisons to Gerald McCoy for his inside play and Muhammad Wilkerson at the end spot," said Schrager.
SB Nation's Dan Kadar (@Mocking the Draft) continues the trend of Williams.
"In Williams, defensive coordinator Ray Horton would have a player he could use the same way he utilized Calais Campbell in Arizona," said Kadar.
Walter Cherepinsky of Walterfootball.com (@walterfootball) updated his four-round mock draft.
Cherepinsky still thinks the Titans take a QB in the first round, but now has the Titans taking Mariota instead of Winston. He has the Bucs taking Winston first overall. He has the Titans going with Florida State G Josue Matias from Florida State, Washington LB Hau'oli Kikaha and Stanford S Jordan Richards in rounds two through four.
His colleague at Walterfootball.com Charlie Campbell (@draftcampbell) also updated his three-round mock. Campbell thinks the Titans go with Mariota, Utah DE Nate Orchard, and Samford S Jaquiski Tartt in the first three rounds. Both Orchard and Tartt (as well as Kikaha) were at the Senior Bowl.
Draftbreakdown.com's Luke Easterling (@LukeEasterling) completed four rounds of his mock draft. Easterling thinks the Titans go with Gregory, Stanford CB Alex Carter, Minnesota RB David Cobb and Fresno State S Derron Smith in the first four rounds.