All eyes are on the Tennessee Titans and what they will do with the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, the Titans' general manager and head coach may have showed their hand a little bit about what they may do with the pick.
The expectation during much of the offseason is that the Titans will use the first pick to take Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil. Head coach Mike Mularkey and general manager Jon Robinson were both open about the importance of the offensive line, and keeping second-year quarterback Marcus Mariota protected.
"It’s imperative you keep him upright and keep him able to throw the football," Robinson said. "There are different ways. Whether it’s keeping him on his feet, or the defense turning the ball over, getting off the field on third down so you can get the ball again … Again, it’s keeping him upright so he can throw and putting the ball in his hands, those are key parts of the game."
If the Titans do take Tunsil with the first overall pick, that would mean 2014 first-round pick Taylor Lewan would move to right tackle. Mularkey thinks Lewan has the ability to play on the right.
"I think Taylor can play in a lot of places. He’s a very good football player," Mularkey said. "I could see that, if that was ever a scenario that came up."
Robinson even opened up on his opinion of Tunsil.
"He’s a good athlete. He’s blocked a lot of good football players," Robinson said. "I haven’t met really many of these guys yet. I’m looking forward to meeting him and getting him to know him a little bit."
Of course, the whole thing could be a heavy smoke screen being laid by Tennessee. Robinson also said on Wednesday that he'll listen to offers for the first pick. The Titans hired Robinson in January. He was previously the director of player personnel with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa general manager Jason Licht knows it's not in Robinson's nature to let his intentions slip.
"He does a good job of keeping things close to his vest," Licht said. "That's one thing I've really respected about Jon. You could tell him something and you knew it wasn't going to get out. You guys will have a lot of fun trying to get it out of him. If I were a betting man is say you probably won't."
* * *
NFL Scouting Combine: The players with the most at stake