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Thursday, 16 April 2015

Why The Titans Must Trade Out Of The Second Pick

Zach Mettenberger Walking Off The Field

The Titans Have A Lot Of Questions to Answer in 2015

1999 was a year Titans fans will never forget.  2014 - well - it has already been forgotten.

But not to the degree that the Music City faithful would like.  The stench of last season hangs over the city of Nashville like the smell of garbage on a hot summer day.  The worst year in franchise history was a humble reminder that change doesn't always breed success.

Everyone within the confines of LP Field is on the hot seat.  From the upper tiers of management to the lowest ball boy -  they all know the Titans must win in 2015.

The good news is that the Titans finished tied for the worst record in the league.  When you finish 2-14 it seems as if any kind of improvement is a good sign. 

But you could also say that it's like being the most financially responsible person in a room full of slot junkies.  When placed amongst your peers, it's not much to brag about.

So here we are just two weeks away from the NFL Draft.  As per the usual, everyone is pulling out all of the stops.  There are trade rumors, the ever-unchanging McShay/Kiper duels, featured writers' Mock Draft Version 32.7 and the sublime uncertainity that encompasses everything.

Although there is one certainty when it comes to the Tennessee Titans - they must trade out of the second-overall pick.

The holes on Tennessee's roster are everywhere.  The only stable position on the roster is tight end.  Everything else is up for grabs. 

They made some good moves in the offseason, re-signing Derrick Morgan and bringing in veterans such as Brian Orakpo and Harry Douglas.  All three players should contribute heavily to this team in 2015. 

However, none of these guys (except maybe Morgan based on his recent uptick in production) have the chance to be absolute game-changers.  The roster that was put together in 2014 was completely derived of game-breaking talent.

This team is so desperate for playmakers - they were entertaining the idea of bringing Greg Hardy in at one point.

2015 so far, is no different.

It all begins with the quarterback.  If your team finds the right guy (Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, etc.) then your team has an excellent shot at improving right away.

Well, what about Zach Mettenberger?  A sixth-round pick that did not win a single game in six starts as a rookie.  Who also has had two major injuries in less than two years?

Word around camp is that the Titans' coaches and front office personnel like Mettenberger alot.  But the full truth of that matter this time of year is always questionable.

Mettenberger had his moment(s) last season. The first play that comes to mind was his beautiful 80-yard strike to Nate Washington before halftime during the Steelers game.  After that there's not much else.

Is Ken Wisenhunt willing to tie his future to an unproven second-year player? Or is he using him to buy time?

Those questions are for another discussion, but they tranisition into the fact that this year's quarterback class is not very impressive at all. There are no quarterbacks that will take a non-playoff team to the playoffs in this year's draft.

When you get a special quarterback like a Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck - the common thread is that they make everyone around them better.  Neither Mettenberger, Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota can do that.

And Whisenhunt needs to win now.

In this day and age, especially in Tennessee, a coach's career lasts as long as a character on Game of Thrones.  If the fans don't see results quickly they will turn on you in a heartbeat.

If the Titans were able to trade down and collect multiple picks, that would enable them to overhaul their roster with the game-breaking talent they so desperately lack. We all know that the more talent you have on your roster, the greater your chance of winning becomes.

If the Titans really want to see significant progress in 2015 they must find a way to improve at every position.

Winston is basically a lock to go to Tampa Bay. Would Whisenhunt go for a non-system quarterback in Mariota? That doesn't seem likely considering Whisenhunt's inability (or refusal) to tailor his offense to his players' strengths a season ago.

With more and more teams seemingly looking to trade up in the draft, it's becoming more evident that the Titans should trade back, gain extra picks and draft more players.

Not only have the Eagles been rumored to draft Mariota since the season ended, but teams such as the Browns, Chargers, Jets, Bears and even Raiders have been rumored as willing to move up.

The possible trade of Philip Rivers and the Chargers' 17th overall pick seems the most logical, considering Rivers had one of his best years under Whisenhunt.  The Titans could then nab a Dorial Green-Beckham or a DeVante Parker to help out the newly acquired signal-caller.  Jaelen Strong is also a great option, depending on how his wrist surgery goes.

Rivers is good enough to the point where he could take the Titans' average receivers and elevate them to the next level.  He would also have a pass-catching tight end in Delanie Walker - Rivers' best Antonio Gates comparison.

The scenarios are endless.  But what exactly could the Titans get in return for their pick if they don't get a player of Rivers' caliber in addition to draft picks? 

Fortunately, we only have to go back three drafts ago to find this exact situation: the infamous Rams/RedskinsTitans Faithful Are Ready To Win RGIII trade.

Washington gave up three first-round picks and a second-round pick to move up to number two from number six. The Rams also used one of those first-rounders to drop  from sixth overall to 14th - and they gained an extra second-rounder doing so!

That's almost a first-round pick for every spot they moved up.

In all, the Rams gained three-first round picks and two second-round picks in  the top ten of the second round.  Talk about a haul.

The Titans have to follow this blueprint.  If Winston does go first, they would be committing football suicide by drafting Mariota.

Tennessee simply does not have the players to succeed under just Mettenberger or a rookie quarterback, whether it be Winston or Mariota.  None of those players have the skill set nor the preparation to make a big enough impact in their first year.                                                                                     

Sure, they could draft Winston or Mariota at number two and the Titans could double their win total, bringing their record to a healthy 4-12.  But the fanbase and the owner (or lack thereof, which kind of sets the tone of this mess to begin with) will not accept that.  At all.

Fans everywhere will have anuerisms if the Titans blow another top ten pick on a quarterback, too.

If Whisenhunt truly wants to buy time then the best ploy is to set up a plan for the future.  By taking as much young talent as possible, he can do just that. 

The clock is ticking, Whiz. 


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