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2009 Senior Bowl: Potential Tennessee Titan targets

The best and the brightest college seniors will be on display in tomorrow’s Senior Bowl. All this week, the Tennessee Titans and the rest of the league have been in Mobile, Alabama in their efforts to scout talented seniors who will be available in this year’s draft.

In recent years, the Senior Bowl has been of great interest to the Titans. Jeff Fisher coached the North team in the 2006 Senior Bowl. Last year’s game featured a guy by the name of Chris Johnson, who went on to become the team’s first-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft.

Will the Titans draft one of this year’s Senior Bowl participants? Here’s a look at some potential candidates.

Peria Jerry DT Ole Miss

By most accounts, Jerry has been the second-most-impressive DT in Mobile this week. Playing in the shadow of behemoth B.J. Raji, Jerry has been getting attention for his ability to play the run and rush the passer.

Raji has been the star of Senior Bowl Week and will likely be unavailable by the time the Titans are on the clock. At pick #30, Peria is probably a more realistic possibility.

If Haynesworth isn’t re-signed, Jerry could be a potential target for the Titans on draft day.

Alphonso Smith CB Wake Forest

I like the tenacity of this cornerback who like Cortland Finnegan, plays much bigger than his size. Smith’s a little guy who isn’t going to back down from bigger receivers and in addition to his coverage abilities, he’s also a weapon as a returner.

With Nick Harper’s advancing age and the impending free agent status of five Titan corners, Smith may be a guy who shows up on the Titans’ draft-day radar.

Derrick Williams WR Penn State

Williams is a playmaking receiver who also wreaks havoc on special teams as a returner. Overshadowed by underclassmen Jeremy Maclin and Percy Harvin, Derrick has been impressive during this week’s Senior Bowl practices.

Since the Titans don’t draft receivers in the first round, Williams would be a great pickup in the second, if he’s still available.

Shawn Nelson TE Southern Miss

At 6’5″, Nelson is a big target with good athleticism and great hands. If Bo Scaife isn’t re-signed, the Titans may have a need for a receiving tight end. Under those circumstances, Nelson could emerge as a potential fit and may be available anywhere from the 2nd-4th round.

Nic Harris OLB Oklahoma

Although he played safety in college, Harris is projected to be an OLB in the pros. Keith Bulluck and David Thornton aren’t getting any younger, so a guy like Nic could be a player of interest as the Titans look for youth at the OLB position.

Rashad Jennings RB Liberty

Jennings is a 6’1″ 234 lb. specimen who has turned some heads during this week’s Senior Bowl practices. With Smash and Dash, the Titans are in pretty good shape at RB but if a guy like Jennings is still on the board during the middle rounds, I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing him in the two-tone blue next year and beyond.

Ramses Barden WR Cal Poly

At 6’6″ 228 lbs, Barden is a huge target who has created a buzz in Mobile this week. Compared to Marques Colston and Vincent Jackson, Barden could become the latest small-school big receiver to emerge as a solid receiver at the pro level.

The Titans aren’t afraid to draft receivers outside of the first round, so maybe they’ll take a stab at Barden if he’s still on the board during the second day of the draft.

Rhett Bomar QB Sam Houston State

The former Oklahoma Sooner signal-caller has caught the attention of coaches, scouts and team executives in Mobile this week.

Considering that two of the team’s three quarterbacks are unrestricted free agents, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Titans selected a QB at some point during this year’s draft. A guy such as Bomar, who has an excellent arm and may be available on the second day of the draft, could be on the Titans’ radar.

Louie Sakoda P/K Utah

According to Scott Wright of NFL Draft Countdown, the Titans have been paying attention to Utah placekicker/punter Louie Sakoda. Louie made All-American teams as a punter and kicker for the undefeated Utes in 2008.

Considering the free agent status of Rob Bironas and the potential retirement of Craig Hentrich, it’s not a shock that the Titans are interested in Sakoda.

For those of you interested in watching the Senior Bowl, it will take place Saturday night at 6PM Central Time on the NFL Network.