The free agent wide receiver pool was shallow this spring. The Titans did not sign a playmaking wide receiver. Plan B? Take a big risk and draft a receiver in the first round this Saturday.
I’m a big fan of Limas Sweed. He’s a fellow Longhorn, he’s big, fast and seems to have a good head on his shoulders. However, I think the Titans will be lucky to draft him, and here’s why.
Most NFL draft pundits believe the Buffalo Bills (currently at pick 11 in the first round), Philadelphia Eagles (19), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (20), Washington Redskins (21), Dallas (22) and Tennessee Titans (24) need help at wide receiver. Throw the Pittsburgh Steelers (23) in this mix because $102 million quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wants a big young target at wide receiver.
The team to watch in the first round receiver sweepstakes is Buffalo. Let’s assume they intend to draft a receiver. How high is Sweed on the Bills draft board? Would they prefer to have Malcolm Kelly or Devin Thomas? I’d say there’s no more than a 20 percent chance the Bills draft Sweed at number 11 unless they trade down a few spots.
Next is the Philadelphia Eagles. I’d say their chances of drafting Sweed are 30 percent, because they have an urgent need for a cornerback and either Kelly or Thomas should still be available.
The Redskins chances of drafting a receiver are 40 percent. The question is whether Washington wants another “Smurf” or a taller player to compliment short receivers Antwaan Randle-El and Santana Moss.
Next are the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas wants a cornerback (Pacman Jones, anyone?) but I believe Jerry Jones is going to draft either a running back or a wide receiver. Jones’ choice may come down to the answer to this question: is my greatest need a number two running back to share carries with Marion Barber or to groom a young receiver behind the aging Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn?
I have a sinking feeling Limas Sweed will play the early part of his career in the NFC East.
But let’s say the Eagles and Redskins pass on Sweed, and Jerry Jones picks fellow Arkansas Razorback Felix Jones. I’d guess that Jon Gruden Tampa Bay would prefer a smaller receiver like DeSean Jackson or Thomas for the Buccaneers offense. If Pittsburgh ignores Roethlisberger’s wishes, the Titans will have their man.
Here are my predictions:
1. If Limas Sweed is available at pick 24 the Titans will draft him. Rest assured that Vince Young’s voice will be heard.
2. If Sweed, Kelly, Thomas and Jackson are gone before the Titans pick at 24, Tennessee will draft a defensive lineman.
3. The Titans will not draft receiver James Hardy. Pacman Jones, anyone?
4. If the Titans don’t draft a receiver in the first round, they will draft a very fast running back (Chris Johnson or Jamaal Charles are the players I have in mind) in the second round.
5. If the Titans draft a receiver in the first round and either Johnson or Charles in the second round, the Titans will go 12-4 in 2008.
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