I did a post like this last year, and now it's time for this year's edition. NFL Films guru Greg Cosell is doing a series of draft review podcasts discussing how each team drafted with Doug Farrar of Yahoo's Shutdown Corner, and the AFC South one posted a little bit ago. As with last year's, there's a lot of good stuff in there, on the Titans and the other teams in the division, and I'll be posting overviews rather than transcriptions.
The most interesting discussion in the podcast is the one Farrar highlighted in his post, Cosell's comments on fifth-round defensive end Lavar Edwards. He had some pretty high praise for him as a potential sub package pass rusher at defensive end, and Farrar likes him as well. The problem I have with that was, is that really how the Titans see him? My initial reaction, which stayed the same in my follow-up piece on Edwards, is that's not how the Titans see Edwards at all. Rather, I think they see him as a closed-side end in their base 4-3 look who may be a contributor in sub package situations.
The only real evidence we've gotten, from the press conferences immediately after they drafted him, tend in my view to support my initial reaction. As I think more on the subject, though, I think he could see some more time at end in nickel, either as part of a 3- or 4-man line, because of his bulk compared to a player like Wimbley and that explosiveness in his movement Cosell noted. I've noted before how the Titans will play nickel and just how the defensive line rotation might shake out are still relative mysteries to me.
After the jump, thoughts on Cosell's thoughts on the other rookies.
Chance Warmack: Cosell covered him in some length when he and Farrar discussed offensive linemen before the draft, and he's a relatively known quantity. Will be a very good player, strong, good athlete for his size. Speaking personally, though, I need to see Warmack be a good pass protector at right guard before I trust him there. That may speak to my limitations as an evaluator and project more than anything else, but the stuff he did at Alabama that rightly had people agog at what he did was not that. He should be fine, I expect him to be fine sooner or later, but I need to see it.
Justin Hunter: The most purely explosive wideout in this draft, with length, fluidity, speed, and explosion. Listening to Cosell talk about Hunter, he likes his ability to accelerate off the snap and build speed quicker than most players with similar good deep speed. Cosell finds him intriguing. I need to see him catch the ball well consistently.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson: There are a number of corners who get drafted in the second and third rounds who have the physical attributes to become starting NFL corners. Cosell definitely puts Wreh-Wilson in that category thanks to his size, length, and movement. Not all of those corners succeed? Why do some succeed and others fail? From Cosell's perch and mine, it's hard to say. It may be the player, the coaching, the situation, or something else. Farrar wondered if he might be the slot corner or an outside guy who pushes Alterraun Verner inside. Cosell concurs with my opinion he's more of an outside guy, and that's where the Titans would want to put him, with Verner going to the slot or safety. As I noted when I covered Verner recently, I think Verner is definitely an NFL player but one who doesn't fit what the Titans are ideally looking for in either position.
Zaviar Gooden: Fast flow run and chase linebacker with great speed and range. Is he soft? Cosell noted Lavonte David as an example of a weakside linebacker who never played soft. Gooden is not David. Ruston Webster said last year he didn't care about that sort of thing if the Titans thought they could reach a guy. They clearly did with Zach Brown, who played much more physical than I and many other expected as a rookie. Will Gooden do the same? Jerry Gray has been rightly taking a very cautious line, noting he needs to play well when the pads come on. I normally only kind of look forward to preseason games, but he's a guy I really want to see.
Brian Schwenke: Cosell noted "he's probably going to start." My baseline assumption has been that Velasco has about a 75% chance of being the starter at center, with Schwenke most likely not taking over until 2014. Cosell apparently dropped by Baptist Sports Park on a recent (June) visit to Nashville, so I may need to update my assessment based on what may (or may not) be inside information. Both Farrar and Cosell thought he has a chance to be a longtime starter in the league. He won't necessarily be an All-Pro, but Cosell praised his quickness, balance, and movement skills and how he got to the second level, but noted he sometimes struggled to sustain blocks when he had to block immediately. Facing a couple 3-4 teams in the division, that could be an issue.
Khalid Wooten: Some players are consistent-Luke Joeckel may have been the best example of this sort of player in the class. Other players are more like Wooten, an 8 some games and a 2 others. At his best, he looks like he could be a solid corner. In others, he looks like a stiff. Farrar and Cosell noted he's a much better press corner than he is playing off coverage. Cosell compared him to Bradley Fletcher, who's stiff and unathletic enough he tends to struggle badly playing off but can be reasonably effective playing press.
Daimion Stafford: Cosell noted he looked big on film and was clearly better playing downhill and driving forward than he was turning and running. Does he look big because he is that big, or because guys who are slow look bigger than they are and guys who are fast don't look as big? Stafford is not small, but it could easily be a mix of both. Seventh-round picks tend to be seventh-round picks for good reason.
Anyway, there's a lot more in the podcast I didn't cover, on the Titans rookies, and the rest of the AFC South, so give the whole thing a listen.