The Tennessee Titans have already drafted a new head coach with the surprising and impressive hire of Ken Whisenhunt. It was easy to perceive it as another setback for the City of Detroit, which has been in a prolonged slump. Either way, Whisenhunt accepted about $1 million more a year to call Nashville home and he also was given more control over personnel decisions.
The former Arizona Cardinals head coach, previously the offensive coordinator at San Diego, has rekindled fan hopes to revive a sluggish offense that has been mistake prone in key situations. Wisely or not, the Titans forked over $100 million in free agent acquisitions for 2013. The lack of production -- or progress in a weak division -- contributed greatly to Mike Munchak's departure after he refused to make wholesale staff changes.
Although Whisenhunt has declined to tip his hand, personnel evaluations and salary cap considerations are likely to lead to a complete makeover. Running back Chris Johnson could be the first to hit the road. His $8 million salary and inconsistent production do not bode well for a roster spot in 2014. Questions continue to linger about injury prone quarterback Jake Locker and backup Ryan Fitzpatrick. At least it is a familiar refrain in the quarterback deprived AFC South with only Indianapolis and Andrew Luck looking good.
The offensive line had a new look in 2013, with three new starters, but don't be surprised if a left tackle is the team's first pick.
The team's most pressing needs will be rushing end and coping with the likely departure of All-Pro cornerback Alterraun Verner, who is a free agent and can get mega bucks. This makes re-signing physical safety Bernard Pollard even more important. A linebacker that can hold his own in pass coverage also would be helpful. What to do? With the 11th overall pick and three quarterbacks and Clemson WR Sammy Watkins likely off the board, the Titans' pick will be focused on Auburn OL Greg Robinson, Oklahoma State DB Justin Gilbert, Michigan OL Taylor Lewan and Alabama LB C.J. Mosley. The first DE taken might be Stephon Tuitt of Notre Dame. A player to watch is Michigan State DB Darqueze Dennard, who has the athleticism to wow scouts at the combine.