NFL Wire News

What would Titans do if they had the first pick?


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — How low can they go?

That is the question that now surrounds the Tennessee Titans as they limp through the final three games of the season looking more and more like a contender for the first overall pick in the 2015 draft than anything resembling a competent football team.

At 2-11, with fellow two-win disasters the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars upcoming, the Titans have a legitimate shot to grab the top pick in the draft for the first time since the franchise moved to Tennessee. The franchise has had the first pick overall twice in its history and one of those picks worked out pretty well. They took John Matuszak first overall in 1973, but he never played for them and was eventually traded to Kansas City before going on to a standout career in Oakland.

The other first overall pick came via a trade with Tampa Bay as the Oilers drafted running back Earl Campbell in 1978. He went on to a Hall of Fame career.

If the Titans did manage to have the top pick, they have so many needs that they probably would have a tough time deciding what to use it on. Entering this week, the Titans are second to Tampa Bay in the draft order.

One question is whether they would use that top choice on a quarterback.

The Titans are expected to be without rookie Zach Mettenberger for the rest of the season, and the former LSU star was asked Wednesday whether he believed he had done enough to be the starting quarterback in 2015.

“I believe I’ve shown them enough,” he said. “I’m confident in my abilities in what I’ve put on the field and put on tape. I think I’ve shown the ownership and Ruston (Webster), the GM, and the staff that I can play at a high level and that I’m gonna continue to get better.”

Mettenberger completed 107 of 179 passes (59.8 percent) for 1,412 yards, with eight touchdowns, seven interceptions and a passer rating of 83.4.

On the negative side, he did not win a game in six starts — though that certainly is not all on him, as the Titans have just two wins and have not looked competitive in weeks.

Given their terrible offensive line play, non-existent running game and sieve-like defense, it was an impossible situation to put nearly any quarterback in, much less a sixth-round rookie.

When coach Ken Whisenhunt was asked the QB question on Monday, he said he would wait until season’s end to make that evaluation. If he and the front office decide Mettenberger is the guy, it will allow them to explore other needs in the draft. If Mettenberger isn’t the guy, then the Titans had better start getting a leg up on evaluating Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston.

SERIES HISTORY: The Titans lead the Jets 23-17-1. Jake Locker is back at quarterback and gets the start against the Jets team he dissected last year, 38-13, before being knocked out of the game with a hip injury.

NOTES: OT Taylor Lewan was limited in practice on Wednesday after missing two weeks with a high ankle sprain. There is a chance he could play this week. … OT Michael Oher went to get a second opinion on his injured toe on Tuesday, but it is not known whether he needs surgery. … LB Kamerion Wimbley remains out of practice with a hamstring injury suffered against the Eagles nearly three weeks ago. … OT Jamon Meredith was signed Tuesday and will fall into the mix of reserve tackles who might have to play this week if Lewan and Oher are out. … CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson was placed on injured reserve and will have surgery to fix his dislocated shoulder.

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