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Recapping the Titans’ draft

It was certainly a mixed bag of draftees for the Titans this weekend. It’s a group that has drawn both kudos and criticism and the fan reaction here on Total Titans has mirrored that.
Round 1, Pick 24 (24): RB Chris Johnson, East Carolina
This is not only the most visible pick but also the one that’s drawn the most controversy. Depending on your point of view, the Titans either scored a touchdown or fumbled with this one. If you’re a guy who was looking for a speedy playmaker, this was the fastest guy in the draft and a guy with the potential to be an offensive weapon with an immediate impact. If you were looking for a receiver or defensive player, you’re upset at the waste of a pick.
Round 2, Pick 23 (54): DE Jason Jones, Eastern Michigan
No controversy here. Jones is a pretty solid choice who should be able to step right in as Antwan Odom’s replacement. There’s a good chance he’ll see more playing time than any of the other rookies this fall. Should be good against the run as a DE and could also move inside as a pass-rushing DT.
Round 3, Pick 22 (85): TE Craig Stevens, California
It’s not a surprise that the Titans selected a tight end in this draft, but it is a surprise that they took one so early. This guy looks like he was taken specifically to be the next Ben Hartsock. Like Hartsock, Stevens has some receiving skills too.
Round 4, Pick 4 (103): DE William Hayes, Winston-Salem State
The biggest surprise in Tennessee’s draft and a real head scratcher. Why did the Titans give up two draft picks to move up and take this guy? Were they really afraid someone else was about to grab him? And why all the urgency on another pass rusher off the edge? The Titans already have KVB and Jevon Kearse. Is Jacob Ford’s injury worse than we think?
Round 4, Pick 27 (126): WR Lavelle Hawkins, California
Not a surprise that another receiver was taken. Hawkins has got some upside as a versatile WR who stood out at the Senior Bowl and could be a steal. Or he could get lost somewhere in the mix with Paul Williams, Chris Davis and Biren Ealy.
Round 4, Pick 35 (134): LB Stanford Keglar, Purdue
Selecting an OLB is also not a surprise. The Titans had very little depth behind Keith Bulluck and David Thornton and this pick fills a need. Keglar should be good on special teams as well.
Round 7, Pick 22 (228): CB Cary Williams, Washburn
There are both positives on this guy as well as some negatives which Tom pointed out. It looks like the Titans are rolling the dice here, but as Tom noted, if Williams doesn’t work out, it’s only the loss of a seventh-rounder. One thing we’ve noticed since the Titans got out of salary cap trouble is they no longer have any reservations about releasing draft picks who don’t pan out.
Noticeable by its absence was the lack of a pick for a defensive tackle. Albert Haynesworth may only be here one more year and the Titans could use an upgrade over Tony Brown. Jones played some DT and there’s been talk about moving him inside occasionally in passing situations but he won’t be a long-term answer there unless he beefs up.
Although these needs were not as significant, another o-lineman and safety could have also been taken.
I’m disappointed in a few of these picks but I’ll be rooting for all of them to do well when they put on the two-tone blue. It will be fun watching them in training camp in July and August.