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In a 2011 re-draft, is this the right move for the Tennessee Titans?
The 2011 NFL Draft may go down as one of the worst big decisions in Tennessee Titans history.

The Titans desperately needed a quarterback and Jake Locker was viewed by some as a prospect with tons of athletic ability and the intangibles to lead a locker room. However, he was very inaccurate and many people had him as the 3rd-best QB in that draft class behind Cam Newton (sure) and Blaine Gabbert (oh).

In a draft with several Hall of Fame defenders and All Pros scattered throughout the first round, the Titans selected a QB who retired from football before getting his second contract.

Jake Locker is a great human being by all accounts, but the decision to draft him was a mistake and it is one that cost the Titans dearly. Not only did the Titans have to go back to the drawing board at QB, but they missed out on so many elite players.

Well, Benjamin Solak did a re-draft of the 2011 NFL Draft, and with the 8th pick in the draft the Titans had a ton of options. The only players off the board were: Newton, Von Miller, J.J. Watt, Julio Jones, Patrick Peterson, A.J. Green, and Justin Houston.

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So with the 8th pick the Titans selected: Jurrell Casey DT, USC.

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This is such a bittersweet pick for me. Casey has been an absolute star and was a steal in the third round, but ultimately even a redraft wouldn’t have made that team better.

As an ambassador of the Titans brand and as the heart and soul of the defense for nearly a decade, I would absolutely make this pick knowing what I know now.

If the Titans could somehow hide Casey from being on this list, then several names would have been great additions to that 2011 roster.

–Ryan Kerrigan is likely a Hall of Fame sleeper right now considering his consistent domination as a pass rusher (he’s never had less than 7.5 sacks per year and he averages 10.5 sacks per season).
-Cam Jordan has really come into his own as a defensive lineman over the past few years and could potentially be the best defensive player on a Super Bowl team this year.

–Mike Pouncey coming in to replace Kevin Mawae would have been really fun and it probably would have turned the Titans offensive line into a powerhouse for the next decade.

In a world where the Titans can still steal Casey in the third round, there is one pick that I would have loved to see in this redraft. Drafting Richard Sherman would have made the Titans one of the most fun defenses in NFL history.

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That defense would have had Jason McCourty, Michael Griffin, Jurrell Casey, Derrick Morgan, Karl Klug, Jason Jones, and Dave Ball, all of which are fan favorites or players that were never really given their proper respect. But the most fun thing? The Tennessee Titans would have had Cortland Finnegan and Richard Sherman playing boundary CB.

The two most in-your-face, brash corners in the NFL over the last decade lined up across from each other giving receivers an ear full after every catch or drop.

Like I said, I definitely agree with the re-drafting of Jurrell Casey especially when you look at his longevity. But, just for fun, if Tennessee could keep Casey and take one other player, Sherman would have made the 2011 Titans legendary.

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Every team will of course have its own draft board when it enters the war room on April 25 for the 2019 NFL draft. But marrying rankings and scheme fit with team-specific areas of need will be key to acing the draft.

Let’s take a closer look at the five biggest draft needs (in order) for all 32 teams.

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Note: Statistics provided throughout from Elias Sports Bureau and ESPN Stats & Information.

AFC EAST

Buffalo Bills
Top draft needs: DT, EDGE, TE, G, CB

The Bills have their quarterback in Josh Allen, but considering Shaq Lawson is the only player drafted by Buffalo before 2017 still on the roster, there are a lot of areas of need here. With Kyle Williams gone, the defensive tackle position opens up — Houston’s Ed Oliver could fit perfectly — and Jerry Hughes isn’t getting any younger off the edge. The Bills managed only 36 sacks in 2018. And after Charles Clay signed with Arizona, Buffalo will want a complement to Tyler Kroft at tight end.
2019 NFL DRAFT

When: April 25-27
Where: Nashville, Tennessee
How to watch: ABC/ESPN/ESPN App

• Complete draft order: Picks 1-254 »
• Needs for all 32 teams » | Draft guides »
• In-depth stories on the top prospects »
• Kiper’s ‘Grade: A’ three-round mock »
• McShay’s ‘Grade: A’ three-round mock »
• Two-round mock drafts: Kiper vs. McShay »
• More NFL draft coverage »
Miami Dolphins
Top draft needs: QB, G, OT, C, EDGE

The Dolphins need everything, starting with quarterback. Yet because they don’t pick until No. 13, there’s a shot the Dolphins either draft a QB on Day 2 or wait until 2020 to address the position — or both. Miami will be looking to rebuild its offensive and defensive lines almost entirely and then potentially tack on some cornerback depth. It all depends on how GM Chris Grier wants to go about this rebuild.

 

New England Patriots
Top draft needs: TE, WR, DT, EDGE, QB

Could New England go wide receiver, perhaps in the slot, in the first round for the first time since snagging Terry Glenn in 1996? Will the Patriots find a Rob Gronkowski replacement? Who will be the heir apparent to Tom Brady? And can Bill Belichick do what he’s done so many years in the past and replenish the defense after losing Trey Flowers and Malcolm Brown to free agency? Lots of questions for the defending champs.

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NFL draft profile: Noah FantNoah Fant is a tight end out of Iowa who caught 19 touchdowns during his stint with the Hawkeyes.
New York Jets
Top draft needs: EDGE, G, C, TE, CB

If the Jets take an offensive lineman in the first two rounds, it’d be just the second time since 2007. But it’s a real possibility considering the lack of depth and the departure of James Carpenter. And Gang Green will also target some pass rushing off the edge after dropping the QB just 39 times in 2018. Trading back from No. 3 overall might be a move for the Jets to wrangle some more picks.
AFC NORTH
Baltimore Ravens
Top draft needs: EDGE, ILB, WR, G, RB

The Ravens’ offense pivoted last season once Lamar Jackson took the reins. He averaged 17 rushing attempts per game, and per Elias, no other QB has averaged even 12 per outing since 1970. Even still, Baltimore needs to get him some weapons, including some impact wide receivers and a running back complement to Mark Ingram. But let’s not forget the defensive front seven also lost Za’Darius Smith, C.J. Mosley and Terrell Suggs during the offseason.

 

Cincinnati Bengals
Top draft needs: OT, LB, QB, TE, G

ESPN +Over the past couple of weeks, we rolled out our annual position rankings series, which usually come out around the time pitchers and catchers report. This was my first year handling the project, and I decided to structure it from the standpoint of tiers.

Doing it that way helped, I hope, offer a sense of how talent is grouped at the different positions right now, and which positions are stronger and weaker as compared to historical standards. But there is one final step we can take with this approach: What do the teams look like from the standpoint of tiers?

As I did with the pitching staffs, it’s simple enough to dump all the ratings into a file and see how many players each team has in each tier. So that’s what I did, and the results serve a dual purpose. First, they simply give us a way to look at how teams stack up in relation to each other. It’s not a rigorous projection, but the hierarchy of teams organized in this way isn’t much different than it looks like in an actual projection of team records.

ESPN+: Doolittle’s positional tiers

How do the best at each position rank and what tier of production do they fit in?

Positions:C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | SP | RP

The other thing this snapshot offers is a glimpse at how teams have constructed their rosters. This is really the interesting part. Which teams are built with a stars-and-scrubs approach? Which teams have a lot of talent bunched in the middle? Which teams are good but have an obvious void in terms of MVP-level talent? Are there any teams that look less talented than the current group of unsigned free agents? (Sadly, there is one.)

As with the pitching tiers analysis, teams are given 6 points for each player rated in Tier I, 5 points for Tier II and so on. Those total points are then divided by the total number of players being rated to give us our tier-based score. I updated the teams’ rosters with the latest transactions. To break up the commentary, we’ll list the teams in groups of five.

ESPN +