Columnist Court Weston will be breaking down the team needs for all 32 NFL teams this off-season. Next up, the Titans…
1. Cornerback – Tennessee used its franchise tag on safety Michael Griffin, meaning Cortland Finnegan is a free agent. If the Titans lose Finnegan, the cornerback position will suffer a huge drop off. Finnegan has reportedly said he believes the team will not ask him to return, which makes this the top priority for Tennessee. The Titans must find a legitimate No. 1 corner whether it is through free agency or the draft. With Kansas City’s Brandon Carr hitting the market, Tennessee could make a strong push for the star defensive back. Even if the team can lure a top-tier cornerback via free agency, expect the Titans to take one with an early-round draft pick.
2. Offensive Guard – Although Chris Johnson was not in football shape due to his holdout, not all of his struggles were his own fault. The interior of the offensive line did not do its part, and with free agent guard Jake Scott set to leave Tennessee, the team can find an upgrade this offseason. If the Titans do not use their No. 20 pick on a corner, look for them to take a guard in the first round.
3. Defensive End – Derrick Morgan is decent, but both starter Jason Jones and backup William Hayes are free agents, making defensive end a concern for Tennessee. The Titans lack an elite pass rusher, and the potential departure of Jones allows them to land one this offseason. Houston’s Mario Williams will be the most sought-after DE this year, and if Tennessee cannot lure easily the best defensive lineman in the 2012 free agent class, the Titans may attempt to land the likes of Jacksonville’s Jeremy Mincey, Tampa Bay’s Michael Bennet or possibly New England’s Andre Carter, who had a breakout season with the Patriots despite his age (33).
4. Center – Again, Tennessee needs to shore up its interior offensive line (See “Offensive Guard” above). The Titans will be looking to replace Eugene Amano this offseason. The team could pursue one of the best free agent centers available this year, but most of them (the top six) are at least 30, which could make Tennessee hesitant. The aforementioned “top six” include Green Bay’s Scott Wells, 30; San Diego’s Nick Hardwick, 30; Houston’s Chris Myers, 30; New England’s Dan Koppen, 32; Baltimore’s Matt Birk, 36; and Indianapolis’ Jeff Saturday, 37. Regardless, any of those six would be vast improvements over Amano at the position.
5. Tight End – Craig Stevens is the starter, but Jared Cook is the receiving tight end. However, neither strike fear into opposing defenses. The Titans need to find a starter that is also a receiving threat. With the Titans seemingly sticking with Jake Locker as their quarterback for the foreseeable future, it is imperative that the team finds an athletic, talented tight end for him. Look for Tennessee to take a tight end within the first four rounds of the draft.
Previously: The Chicago Bears
Next: The Cincinnati Bengals