2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Titans have flexibility picking at No. 20 overall

By TERESA M. WALKER - AP Sports Writer
    2012-04-23 11:12

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Titans' biggest move in free agency fell flat when Peyton Manning chose Denver. They still have plenty of options in the NFL draft.

They filled their quarterback needs last season by drafting Jake Locker with the eighth pick overall and then signing veteran Matt Hasselbeck to a three-year contract. They chased Manning as a free agent only when owner Bud Adams decided to join the chase. Since Manning chose Denver, new general manager Ruston Webster has been busy meeting with a handful of veteran free agent centers and signing defensive linemen.

Tennessee also has visited with some of the top receivers available in the draft starting Thursday night. Webster said there could be clues there, but the choice will be simple at No. 20 overall.

``You just want to make sure you take the best player,'' Webster said. ``If receivers are there and a level better than the defensive player, it's always a possibility. I think, though, it'll depend on who else is there.''

Webster was promoted in January to general manager when Adams moved Mike Reinfeldt to chief operating officer. Webster has worked drafts for a couple decades starting with Tampa Bay and Seattle before coming to Tennessee. This will be his first making the final call on a pick, and he has just seven, Tennessee's fewest since 2003.

The Titans just missed out on a playoff berth in coach Mike Munchak's debut season, going 9-7 and losing out on tiebreakers to Cincinnati as a wild card. It was an impressive record considering Munchak had two new coordinators in Chris Palmer and Jerry Gray with no offseason to teach their schemes thanks to the lockout.

Gray also had a bigger challenge with four rookies contributing heavily on defense while still ranking eighth in the league in points allowed, giving up 19.8 points per game. But the Titans finished next to last with a measly 28 sacks, making improving the pass rush a big key this offseason.

Lost in the news of Manning choosing Denver was Webster signing Kamerion Wimbley to a five-year deal that will see the linebacker play at defensive end in Tennessee. Webster also re-signed Dave Ball to a one-year deal and brought in Leger Douzable in moves to take some of the pressure off hitting on a defensive end in the draft who can play immediately. They also expect more from end Derrick Morgan, the 16th pick overall in 2010, with his first full offseason.

``Defense is a big focus of ours this year,'' the general manager said.

The Titans also signed five-time All Pro Steve Hutchison as a free agent and plan to use him at left guard. They visited with Chris Myers, Scott Wells, Jeff Saturday, Dan Koppen and Jeff Faine only to see four sign elsewhere. It's part of trying to improve the interior of the offensive line after ranking 31st in the NFL in rushing, averaging 89.9 yards per game, with Chris Johnson having his worst season after signing his big contract extension.

On defense, Tennessee let cornerback Cortland Finnegan leave for St. Louis as a free agent. They slapped the franchise tag on safety Michael Griffin and signed safety Jordan Babineaux to a new deal.

The Titans open their offseason program Monday and are counting on that helping boost a defense that had so many rookies play so much in 2011. Linebacker Akeem Ayers, the second pick overall, was their first rookie to start all 16 games for Tennessee since safety Tank Williams in 2002. Third-round pick Jurrell Casey started 15 games at tackle, while tackle Karl Klug started one and played in all 16.

Colin McCarthy played in 13 and took over as the starting middle linebacker for seven games down the stretch. Cornerback Tommie Campbell, a seventh-round pick, played in 15 games himself.

``It's going to be a huge help for our coaches, our players, just for our players to be able to spend time with (strength coach) Steve Watterson and be in the training room with any rehab they have to do with (trainer) Brad Brown,'' Webster said. ``All of that is a positive and should definitely help us for next year. We still hope to hit with all our picks.''

Nate Washington, Damian Williams and Lavelle Hawkins all had career seasons at receiver, but Kenny Britt, their top pick overall in 2009, tore his right ACL in September. He's expected to be ready for training camp but has missed games with injuries each of the past two years. So the Titans met with Michael Floyd out of Notre Dame, Baylor's Kendall Wright and Stephen Hill out of Georgia Tech.

They also met with South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore and defensive end Melvin Ingram.

So if Webster can follow up Reinfeldt's success, this should be a draft to remember.

``Hopefully, I'll remember it fondly,'' Webster said.

---

Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Patrick PetersonJul 28 04:01p

Arizona Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson will be used strictly on defense this season and will not see time in any offensive situations. The Cardinals have excess capacity at wide [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJul 28 03:42p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee) has a bone bruise, according to head coach Ron Rivera. There is swelling in the knee but nothing is structurally damaged.

Lamar MillerJul 28 03:37p

Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller will be used much like Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy was last season. That means he should see quite a few passes headed his [ More ]

Ndamukong SuhJul 28 03:32p

Detroit Lions DT Ndamukong Suh's contract extension discussion will be put on hold until the end of the season, according to a source.

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 28 03:12p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) missed practice Monday, July 28, to receive treatment for his injured hamstring. Head coach Tom Coughlin said Beckham probably has some tests scheduled for the hamstring.

Ryan WilliamsJul 28 03:02p

Dallas Cowboys RB Ryan Williams looks to be a longshot for the final roster, because he is not a good special teams player and would have to help on [ More ]

M. BernadeauJul 28 02:43p

Dallas Cowboys OG Mackenzy Bernadeau has been working at left guard with the first-team offense, because OG Ronald Leary (hamstring) has been dealing with a hamstring injury. Bernadeau and [ More ]

Dan WilliamsJul 28 02:22p

Arizona Cardinals DT Dan Williams (knee) is not expected to participate in practice Monday, July 28, but the team does not believe his knee injury is serious.

Everette BrownJul 28 02:22p

The Washington Redskins have signed free-agent LB Everette Brown (Cowboys). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

B. RoethlisbergerJul 28 02:02p

The Pittsburgh Steelers are confident that they will be able sign QB Ben Roethlisberger before his current contract expires, according to general manager Kevin Colbert. Colbert said he expects [ More ]

Anthony GaitorJul 28 01:42p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed free-agent CB Anthony Gaitor (Dolphins) and undrafted free-agent DT Jibreel Black (Michigan). Terms of the contracts were not disclosed, but all contracts signed [ More ]

Alshon JefferyJul 28 01:32p

Updating a previous report, Chicago Bears WR Alshon Jeffery (foot) left practice early Monday, July 28, because of a sore foot.

Matt CasselJul 28 01:23p

Minnesota Vikings QBs Matt Cassel, Teddy Bridgewater and Christian Ponder have been evenly splitting reps during the early part of training camp, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Turner [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJul 28 01:23p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin's (knee) left knee injury isn't expected to be serious, and head coach Ron Rivera is optimistic that Benjamin won't miss much time. Benjamin is [ More ]

Adrian PetersonJul 28 01:12p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson does not need to play in the preseason to show something to the coaching staff, according to head coach Mike Zimmer. Zimmer said Peterson [ More ]

Golden TateJul 28 01:12p

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate (shoulder) was removed from the Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, July 28, and he is expected to take part in the team's first [ More ]

Frank GoreJul 28 12:53p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore is unlikely to play in the preseason this year. RBs Carlos Hyde and Jewel Hampton have both looked good so far during training [ More ]

Trent ColeJul 28 12:42p

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy and LB Trent Cole squared off in a fight during training camp Sunday, July 27. 'Next thing you know, they're on the ground scuffling,' [ More ]

Charles JohnsonJul 28 10:13a

Cleveland Browns WRs Charles X. Johnson (knee) and Travis Benjamin (knee) are riding the stationary bike and working on the side Monday, July 28.

Micah HydeJul 28 10:03a

Green Bay Packers FS Micah Hyde has the edge over S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix for the starting free safety spot.

Ray RiceJul 28 09:52a

Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice did not appeal his two-game suspension.

Kenny StillsJul 28 09:32a

New Orleans Saints WR Robert Meachem (back) and WR Kenny Stills (quadriceps) are out of practice Monday, July 28.

Chris RaineyJul 28 08:52a

The Indianapolis Colts released RB Chris Rainey.

Mike IupatiJul 28 04:02a

The San Francisco 49ers plan to re-sign RG Mike Iupati at some point. Originally the team thought it would not be able to keep him due to a higher [ More ]

Tim HightowerJul 28 03:22a

Former Washington Redskins RB Tim Hightower, who suffered a torn ACL in 2011 and a subsequent infection, was spotted at Washington Redskins camp in the past few days. Hightower [ More ]

Alan BonnerJul 28 12:52a

The Houston Texans have waived injured WR Alan Bonner (foot). Bonner suffered a broken foot during practice Saturday, July 26.

Russell OkungJul 28 12:22a

Seattle Seahawks OT Russell Okung (foot) is about two weeks away from returning to practice, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Terrell McClainJul 28 12:02a

Dallas Cowboys DT Terrell McClain (ankle), LB DeVonte Holloman (dehydration) and FS Matt Johnson (hamstring) left practice early Sunday, July 27, because of injuries.

Koa MisiJul 27 11:52p

Miami Dolphins LB Koa Misi (foot) left practice early Sunday, July 27, because of a foot injury. He has told people that someone stepped on his foot and that he will be fine.

Dre KirkpatrickJul 27 11:02p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick (hamstring) did not participate in practice Sunday, July 27, because of an apparent hamstring injury. The injury is not expected to keep him out for long.

D.J. HaydenJul 27 10:32p

Oakland Raiders CB D.J. Hayden (foot) still has no definite timetable for his return, but the team is optimistic that he will be ready for the start of the [ More ]

Kyle RudolphJul 27 10:32p

The Minnesota Vikings have signed TE Kyle Rudolph to a five-year extension worth $36.5 million.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group