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Right move: WR Wright gives Titans sizzle

The Sports Xchange

They did it in a roundabout way, but the Tennessee Titans managed to address most of their needs in the draft.

Cornerback and defensive end were considered two of the Titans' biggest needs. Tennessee managed to fill those spots, but not as early as many thought. The Titans picked up a cornerback in the fourth round, taking Coty Sensabaugh of Clemson, but did not address end until round seven with Scott Solomon of Rice.

The first-round pick added to an already solid wide receiver corps as they selected Kendall Wright of Baylor with the 20th overall pick. The Titans hope Wright can add an explosive element to the offense on both short and deep balls.


Defensive tackle Mike Martin: The Titans were plenty pleased to find Martin, a defensive tackle, still on the board at pick No. 82. The former Michigan captain is the type of blue-collar player who make the often unnoticed plays that lead to wins. Martin will play some nose tackle and eventually learn the three technique and should find a spot in the d-line rotation very quickly.


Tight end Taylor Thompson: Easily the most intriguing pick in Tennessee's draft. Thompson was an all-conference defensive end at SMU, where he originally committed as a tight end. But when June Jones' run-and-shoot style offense ended in 2008, Thompson became a man without a position. He moved to defense, but as his pro day approached, he made the switch back to tight end, and turned plenty of heads, including the Titans scouts.

A closer look at the Titans' picks:

Round 1/20 - Kendall Wright, WR, 5-10, 196, Baylor

Wright gives the Titans another weapon at receiver and something they don't have, even if Kenny Britt comes back healthy. He can take the top off the defense from the slot position and is a threat when it comes to YAC as well.

Round 2/52 - Zach Brown, LB, 6-1, 242, North Carolina

This fills a need for a speedy weak-side linebacker, who should compete right away for a starting job. A solid pick, but a bit of a surprise, given that Tennessee bypassed center Peter Konz, who had a first-round grade.

Round 3/82 - Mike Martin, DT, 6-1, 306, Michigan

Martin could be the best value of the Titans picks. He will step in and do the dirty work that has to be done in the trenches, and already considers Lions star Ndamukong Suh a friend and mentor he wants to pattern his game after.

Round 4/115 - Coty Sensabaugh, CB, 6-1, 189, Clemson

Sensabaugh's game is speed, as he was clocked in the 4.3s and also considers himself to be a student of the game. There is an opening for him to potentially play right away in nickel packages either in the slot or outside.

Round 5/145 - Taylor Thompson, TE, 6-6, 259, SMU

Thompson, a college defensive end, will try to make the switch back to tight end, his natural position. The Titans believe he as the athleticism and hands to not only make the switch, but be a difference-maker at the position.

Round 6/190 - Markelle Martin, S, 6-0, 207, Oklahoma State

Martin's value dropped two or three rounds because of a torn meniscus shortly after the Senior Bowl.

Round 7/211 - Scott Solomon, DE, 6-3, 262, Rice

The Titans liked Solomon's high motor enough to trade back into round seven to grab him.

--The Tennessee Titans offense can now be officially welcomed into the 21st century.

Tennessee's selection of Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright, a speedster with game-breaking potential, adds yet another weapon to a Titans offense that already features Kenny Britt, Nate Washington, Jared Cook and, of course, Chris Johnson.

The days of playing defense, kicking field goals and running backs getting 25 carries in a 13-10 game appear to finally be a thing of the past in Tennessee.

The Titans still need help on defense in the 2012 draft, but when they saw a player that offensive coordinator Chris Palmer described as "electric" still sitting there with the 20th pick in the first round, they grabbed him.

"We're very excited to make our first-round pick in Kendall Wright of Baylor. We spent a lot of time watching Kendall. We brought him in here for a visit, sent our coaches to work him out," Ruston Webster said of his first-ever pick as Titans general manager. "He is an exciting playmaker who can help us in a lot of ways. He'll be fun to watch, and it'll make our offense even better than it is, and we're very excited about that."

Wright figures to play right away in offensive coordinator Chris Palmer's system, one that is similar to the New York Giants system that combines a solid running game with a big-play passing game. It is clear that the Titans will employ Wright and hope to put plenty of solid weapons around future franchise quarterback Jake Locker long-term with veteran Matt Hasselbeck also benefiting in the short run.

Palmer, a coaching veteran whose days date back to the Houston Oilers' run-and-shoot and later with the Drew Bledsoe-led New England Patriots under Bill Parcells, not to mention stints as head coach in Cleveland and offensive coordinator of the Houston Texans.

Palmer sees no reason by Wright won't be the right fit, right now.

"You go back and look at New England and we had Terry Glenn who caught 90 balls as a rookie. We had Kevin Johnson of Syracuse as a receiver (in Cleveland), and he caught eight touchdowns. We had Andre Johnson who had 975 yards his rookie year (in Houston)," Palmer said. "I think this system allows a rookie to come in and play early, and there's enough evidence of that in the history of our coaching to indicate that we're counting on this guy to come in and play."

Wright also gives Tennessee some insurance in case Britt's surgically-repaired knee is uncooperative for the start of the season, though Tennessee expects Britt to be ready by the opener barring any setbacks.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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