By John Glennon
It’s not so crazy to compare the months leading up to the NFL Draft to a pre-trial process.
Teams spend countless hours compiling evidence in preparation of the big event, seeking answers that will make their decisions simple, clear and accurate.
We’re finally close to watching the Titans and 31 other NFL teams announce their respective verdicts, beginning Thursday night with round one of the draft.
So it’s high time we heard closing arguments for the Titans’ top candidates at the 22nd overall pick.
There’s certainly no guarantee that any of the six players listed below – Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome, Alabama defensive lineman Christian Barmore, Georgia edge rusher Azeez Ojulari, Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Oklahoma State tackle Teven Jenkins and Ole Miss wide receiver Elijah Moore – will be selected by the Titans in the first round.
But they all seem like decent possibilities, when factors like talent, positions of need and draft value are all mixed together.
So see what you make of the evidence for and against each player, and decide on who you’d select if all were available – or whether you’d choose to go in another direction entirely:
Player: Greg Newsome
Ht., wt: 6-0, 192
Argument for picking him at No. 22: There are plenty of questions at the cornerback position following the departures of Adoree Jackson, Malcolm Butler and Desmond King. Veteran Janoris Jenkins is a short-term solution at one spot, and there’s still no guarantee that Kristian Fulton – who played in just six games last season – is the answer on the other side. Newsome has speed (4.38 40-yard dash), athleticism, flexibility and a skill set that would allow him to play press coverage. He only intercepted one pass in his 21 college games, but Newsome did knock away 25 passes during that stretch. He allowed just 12 completions in 34 times targeted last year, for a total of just 93 yards, per Pro Football Focus.
Argument against picking him at No. 22: Cornerback position is one of the deeper spots in this year’s draft, so the Titans could probably find a quality corner – or two – later in the draft as well. There have been some durability concerns with Newsome, as he missed a combined 14 games over the past three seasons. But the injuries didn’t appear to be the type with long-range ramifications, and Newsome looked strong at his pro day in March.
Position: Defensive line
Player: Christian Barmore
Ht., wt: 6-4, 310
Argument for picking him at No. 22: The Titans have a hole to fill on the defensive line following the departure of nose tackle DaQuan Jones, and they also need to improve their ability to pressure the passer from the inside. Those are two good reasons to take Barmore, who showed his ability to wreak havoc in the backfield last season, totaling eight sacks, 9.5 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles in 12 games. Barmore is strong, violent and athletic on the interior of the line. He also seems to enjoy the spotlight, as Barmore posted 12 pressures and eight stops in Alabama’s two College Football Playoff wins last year, per Pro Football Focus.