With the fifth pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans select…
5. Tennessee Titans: Malik Hooker, Safety | Ohio State
The Tennessee Titans were a pleasant surprise in 2016 with quarterback Marcus Mariota really coming into his own. While Mariota was unable to finish out the season for a second straight year after suffering a broken fibula in Week 16, it seems he has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback in this league. With a little help, Mariota should be able to take another huge step forward, once he’s able to get back on the field of course. The Titans made the right moves to try and prevent Mariota from taking too many hits in year 2 after seeing him get sacked 38 times his rookie year and last only 12 games. They brought in center Ben Jones along with guard Josh Kline while also drafting right tackle Jack Conklin to pair with former 2014 first round pick Taylor Lewan. The offensive line is solid, and it helps that Mariota had a sensational run game behind him with DeMarco Murray coming back to life and second round pick, former Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry also providing some juice. Now all Mariota needs is a true #1 wide receiver, but I don’t believe that player comes to ‘Music City’ at this pick.
Tennessee’s offense was able to do some nice things last season and there’s no doubt they’ll be in the market for one of the top wide receiver prospects in this years draft, but I think they’ll look to address that with their second first round pick (No. 18 overall). Instead I have the Titans looking defense at pick number 5 and grabbing one of the top safety prospects in this years draft: Ohio State’s Malik Hooker. When your starting safeties are Da’Norris Searcy and Jonathan Cyprien, I think you can afford to upgrade. I know what you’re thinking though, Hooker is damaged goods. He was unable to partake in the combine after having surgery to repair a torn labrum and a hernia he suffered this past season. He’s also raw with just 1 year of experience, but did you see this guy play! He’s got the instincts, and he’s a ballhawk with 7 interceptions last season (tied for second most in the nation.) I get the injuries, but he’ll be fine by the start of the NFL regular season and he would give defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau a safety in the form of Troy Polamalu, who he had back in Pittsburgh.
Jamal Adams is still on the board, and you’re right, chances are if the Bears and Jags don’t snag Allen he very well could go to Tennessee at this pick. The top rated corner Marshon Lattimore is also on the board and is a high possibility with this pick especially with the recent release of Jason McCourty. It’s a deep corner class though and I think they can get a quality corner (perhaps a Sidney Jones) in round 2. Maybe the Titans don’t want to risk missing out on a Corey Davis or Mike Williams and pull the trigger early and then go corner at 18. Either way, GM Jon Robinson has done a fantastic job thus far at moving up & down the draft board, compiling picks, and evaluating talent, so Titans fans should be pumped for what’s in store April 27th.