|Tennessee Titans 2011 NFL Draft Review|
|By Scott Garbarini, NFL Editor|
1 - Jake Locker, QB, Washington (6-2, 231);
2 - Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA (6-2, 254);
3 - Jurrell Casey, DT, USC (6-1, 300);
4 - Colin McCarthy, ILB, Miami- Florida (6-1, 238);
4 - Jamie Harper, RB, Clemson (5-11, 233);
5 - Karl Klug, DE, Iowa (6-3, 275);
6 - Byron Stingily, OT, Louisville (6-5, 313);
7 - Zach Clayton, DT, Auburn (6-2, 299);
7 - Tommie Campbell, S, California-PA (6-3, 203)Top Picks Analysis: A Tennessee team that was desperate for a quarterback as any wasted little time in grabbing one, taking the highly-athletic Locker with the eighth overall selection. It's a choice that has triggered a wide range of opinions, however, with some insiders raving about the former Husky's arm strength, mobility and terrific intangibles while others wonder if he'll be able to overcome the erratic accuracy and decision making he displayed in college. The Titans also went with high-risk, high-reward players from the Pac-10 with their next two picks, snaring the inconsistent Ayers with pick No. 39 and tabbing the somewhat-undersized Casey in the third round. Ayers is a great talent with the skills to be an asset both in coverage and a pass rusher, but his on-field production hasn't always matched his potential because of questionable instincts. Casey is shorter than ideal for an interior lineman, but is strong and competitive and actually adds some beef to a defensive tackle corps that's relied on smaller, quicker players in recent years.
Best Value Pick: In contrast to Ayers, McCarthy isn't a premium athlete but is regarded as one of the most instinctive and best tackling linebackers in this class. With possible free agent Stephen Tulloch's status in limbo, the Miami product may get a shot to start as a rookie.
We Question Why: The Titans preferred Locker over Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, who went to fellow AFC South member Jacksonville two spots after Tennessee's pick. Quarterbacks with a completion rate of under 55 percent in college (i.e. Kyle Boller) often struggle in the NFL, and Locker didn't have a particularly strong senior season after showing promising progress as a junior.
Summary: GM Mike Reinfeldt showed he wasn't afraid to roll the dice in this draft, but it's reasonable to wonder whether those gambles will pay off. Ayers could flame out just as easily as break out, while there isn't a whole lot of upside to speak of among most of the mid-to-late picks. Locker is the key to this class, however, and the grade obviously changes if in fact he makes the grade in the NFL. But as previously mentioned, there are plausible reasons to believe that he won't.
FINAL GRADE: C-