Titans' Choices: QB, Another Player or Try to Trade Down


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Whatever the Tennessee Titans do with the No. 2 overall selection in the NFL draft will depend on just how much they like quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

Because of a 2-14 record in coach Ken Whisenhunt's first season, the Titans are drafting within the top eight picks for the third time since 2006.

They took quarterbacks with each of those previous picks, though both Vince Young (No. 3 in 2006) and Jake Locker (eighth overall in 2011) now are retired from the NFL.

Still rebuilding, the Titans could draft their third quarterback in 10 years unless Mettenberger has shown them enough starting six games without a win as a rookie to stick with him.

The Titans studied Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota very closely this offseason from the combine to their pro days with both visiting Tennessee. The goal is to be ready depending on whom Tampa Bay selects at No. 1 overall.

One of the biggest trade rumors features a deal reuniting Whisenhunt with Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers two years after the Titans coach was Rivers' offensive coordinator in San Diego.

General manager Ruston Webster, going into his fourth draft with this team, said the Titans will know what they need to do come draft night.

''It's the quarterback or another player or it's a trade if that's even possible,'' Webster said. ''I think we'll see where all that goes.''

Sticking with Mettenberger allows the Titans to give the young quarterback help at wide receiver with Kevin White of West Virginia or Amari Cooper of Alabama.

With most of their free agency signees on defense, lineman Leonard Williams of Southern California could be the final piece for new assistant coach Dick LeBeau to fix a unit that was one of the NFL's worst last season.

''We were a 2-14 team last year so we are all about improving and getting players who can help us get back to where we can compete and play,'' Whisenhunt said.

Here are some things to know as the Titans go into the draft:


THE METT SHOW:** Mettenberger certainly fits the prototypical Whisenhunt quarterback with size at 6-foot-5 and 224 pounds. He showed a willingness to stand in the pocket and throw downfield as he ranked second in the NFL with a passer rating of 83.4 among rookies starting at least one game behind only Teddy Bridgewater of Minnesota. And that topped the team's rookie mark previously held by Steve McNair who had a rating of 81.7 in 1995. Mettenberger was 107 of 179 for 1,412 yards passing with eight touchdown passes and seven interceptions.

Mettenberger did post two of this franchise's three best performances by a rookie, throwing for a record 345 yards in a loss at Philadelphia and for 299 yards in his first career start. He didn't have much help on an offense where injuries decimated the line and tight end.


FIX THE D:** Improving the defense has been at the top of Tennessee's agenda this offseason. Whisenhunt convinced LeBeau to take over a unit that ranked 27th giving up 373 yards per game last season.

Tennessee tied for 29th giving up 27.3 points per game, and the Titans ranked next to last against the run. Defensive players made up most of their free agent signees led by linebacker Brian Orakpo, safety Da'Norris Searcy and cornerback Perrish Cox. The Titans also re-signed linebacker Derrick Morgan, who is coming off a career-best 6 1/2 sacks.

NO. 2 FLASHBACK: This franchise hasn't held the No. 2 pick since the then-Houston Oilers used that pick on offensive tackle Dean Steinkuhler from Nebraska. The Titans have seven selections in this draft and hold the first pick in the second, fourth and sixth rounds.


OFFENSIVE PICKS:** The Titans let veteran wide receiver Nate Washington leave after his 10th NFL season, and they signed Harry Douglas and Hakeem Nicks to join Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter. Whisenhunt, who calls his own plays, might want another option, and the Titans have gone for offense with their first pick in six of the past seven drafts.

OFFENSIVE LINE: The Titans still need help here despite taking right guard Chance Warmack 10th overall in 2013 and left tackle Taylor Lewan 11th last year. Signing Michael Oher as right tackle last year was such a mistake Tennessee released the veteran in early February, and veteran left tackle Michael Roos retired. They brought back Byron Stingily and signed veteran Byron Bell last week.


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