I’m not a fan of NFL teams drafting receivers in the first round. Most assume the Titans front office shares my sentiments.
However, there are players that might force the Titans to break the trend of avoiding wideouts early in the draft. One guy I like is Florida’s Percy Harvin, but he likely will not be available when the Titans pick at number 30.
The player who might be force the Titans to break tradition is University of Maryland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Heyward-Bey left Maryland after his junior season. He caught 138 passes 2089 yards and 13 touchdowns during his collegiate career. In 2008, he rushed 15 times for 202 yards, including a 76-yard run which is featured midway through this highlight video:
The Nashville City-Paper reports that Heyward-Bey met with Titans officials at the NFL Combine.
Heyward-Bey said that he comes from a run-first offense that was used to set up the pass, and that he believed he was a pretty good blocker who focused on angles rather than just trying to go for the kill shot against the man he is expected to block.
Heyward-Bey also ran the fastest 40-yard time among receivers at the combine. He posted a 4.30.
Last year, Titans running back Chris Johnson ran a 4.24 at the combine.
Besides Heyward-Bey’s blazing speed, he fits the profile of a prototypical Titans receiver. He’s big and he’s willing to be a run blocker in a offense that emphasizes the run.
All of this could be wishful thinking. Tennessee may draft a defensive lineman to replace Albert Haynesworth if he signs with another team. The Titans might draft a cornerback to replace veteran Nick Harper.
Also, Heyward-Bey’s draft stock might rise after his combine performance. Or, if Percy Harvin drops on the draft board, the Titans might pick the shifty, all-purpose player.
Still, if the Titans decide to draft a receiver in the first round, I think Heyward-Bey will be the pick.