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5 Things About: Titans Sixth-Round Pick Zach Mettenberger

Posted by Craig Peters on May 16, 2014 – 10:23 am

The Titans drafted LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft with the 178th overall pick.

Here are five things to know about one of the newest Titans:

The Titans selected QB Zach Mettenberger after trading to move up in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

The Titans selected QB Zach Mettenberger after trading to move up in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

1) Mettenberger completed 192 of 296 passes for 3,082 yards with 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions as a senior in 2013. He became the third QB in Tigers history to throw for 3,000 yards in a season (Rohan Davey, 3,347 in 2001 and JaMarcus Russell, 3,129 in 2006). Mettenberger’s 171.4 passer rating ranked fourth nationally in 2013.

2) Mettenberger said he benefitted greatly as a senior when LSU implemented a pro-style offense under coordinator and quarterbacks coach Cam Cameron, who was previously offensive coordinator with the Ravens (2008-12), head coach with the Dolphins (2007) and offensive coordinator with the Chargers (2002-06).

3) Mettenberger graduated Oconee County High School (Ga.) in December 2008 to enroll early at the University of Georgia but was redshirted in 2009. He transferred to Butler Community College (Kan.) in 2010 and transferred to LSU in 2011 but was behind Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson that season.

4) A torn ACL against Arkansas knocked Mettenberger from the final game of the 2013 regular season and required surgery and rehab that kept him from participating in the 2014 NFL Combine. He was, however, able to participate in a pro day workout that was attended by Titans general manager Ruston Webster and quarterbacks coach John McNulty.

5) Mettenberger listed his favorite school subject as history, which appears to transcend to his appreciation of sports and automobiles. He said he is a fan of 70s and 80s sports icons and watches significant amounts of ESPN Classic and listed a 1994 Chevrolet Astro Van as his favorite vehicle.


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5 Things About: Titans Fifth-Round Pick Avery Williamson

Posted by Craig Peters on May 16, 2014 – 10:14 am

The Titans drafted Kentucky inside linebacker Avery Williamson in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft with the 151st overall pick.

Here are five things to know about one of the newest Titans:

The Titans selected inside linebacker Avery Williamson in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

The Titans selected inside linebacker Avery Williamson in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

1) Williamson was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but grew up about two hours from Nashville in Milan. He watched the Titans on television and made it to one Titans game that was against the Browns (a 28-9 win by Tennessee in 2008) when he was in high school.

2) Williamson had a storied prep football career, helping the Milan Bulldogs go 14-1 and make the AAA state title games in his junior and senior seasons. He was named Defensive Most Valuable Player in the Tennessee East-West All-Star Game after his senior season.

3) “Tackling machine” is a title that Williamson easily could have earned in his time with the Kentucky Wildcats. In 2012, his first season as a starter, Williamson ranked second in the SEC and seventh nationally with a career-best 135 tackles (70 solos) and had three sacks 4.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. He followed with 102 tackles (fifth-most in the SEC), one sack and four tackles for loss in 2013.

4) Williamson spent a week in Ethiopia on an educational and service trip in May 13. A captain with the Wildcats, Williamson was a candidate for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award and a member of the SEC Community Service Team.

5) Off the field, Williamson said he likes to read mystery books and has put going to Egypt to see the pyramids on his “bucket list.”


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5 Things About: Titans Fourth-Round Pick Marqueston Huff

Posted by Craig Peters on May 15, 2014 – 12:46 pm

The Titans drafted Wyoming defensive back Marqueston Huff in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft with the 122nd overall pick. Huff agreed to terms of his contract with the Titans Wednesday.

Here are five things to know about one of the newest Titans:

The Titans selected defensive back Marqueston Huff out of Wyoming with their second pick of the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

The Titans selected defensive back Marqueston Huff out of Wyoming with their second pick of the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

1) Huff was born in California but grew up in Texarkana, Texas, and attended the same high school as running back LaMichael James, who was a second-round pick of San Francisco out of Oregon in 2012. Huff and James were hanging out the night before the Titans drafted Huff.

2) Huff was recruited by Baylor, Missouri and New Mexico, but opted to attend Wyoming. After wearing No. 14 as a freshman for the Cowboys, he switched to No. 2 because his favorite football player is Deion Sanders. Huff was able to meet “Prime Time” during the 2014 NFL Combine.

3) Huff showed versatility in college that drew interest from the Titans and other teams. He played nickel back and on special teams as a freshman before becoming a starting cornerback as a sophomore in 2011. He continued at that position in 2012, but filled in at safety because of injuries during spring practice in 2013. Wyoming coaches liked what they saw and moved Huff to free safety last fall. He was second on the team with 127 tackles (team-high 74 solos) and tied for first with six pass breakups, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

4) Majoring in communications classes were helpful to Huff, he said, because of the extensive interview processes that prospects have with NFL teams during the weeks of the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine. His on-field performances at the events didn’t hurt either. Huff ran the 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds, which tied for third among safeties, and had the fifth-fastest time among the position group in the 20-yard shuttle (4.19 seconds).

5) Huff said he liked the Chicago Bulls (Michael Jordan), L.A. Lakers (Shaquille O’Neal) and Miami Heat (Dwayne Wade) growing up and plans to become a “huge Memphis Grizzlies fan” since he is relocating to Tennessee.


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5 Things About: Titans Fourth-Round Pick DaQuan Jones

Posted by Craig Peters on May 15, 2014 – 12:36 pm

The Titans drafted Penn State defensive lineman DaQuan Jones in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft with the 112th overall pick. Jones agreed to terms of his contract with the Titans Wednesday.

Here are five things to know about one of the newest Titans:

The Titans selected DaQuan Jones out of Penn State with the first of their two picks in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

The Titans selected DaQuan Jones out of Penn State with the first of their two picks in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

1) Jones will add size (6-foot-4, 322 pounds) and versatility to the Titans defensive line. He has experience in 4-3 and 3-4 defenses, which will be helpful as Tennessee implements a “hybrid” system with elements of both under new coordinator Ray Horton.

2) Jones was a highly-rated offensive lineman in high school who switched to defense at Penn State. He started 23 of 46 games he played, progressing each season. Jones had 56 tackles (33 solos), three sacks and a team-best 11.5 tackles for loss in 2013 when teammates selected him as the team’s Most Valuable Player.

3) Jones became the fourth Nittany Lions defensive tackle to be selected as the outstanding senior player since the award was created in 1978, joining Lou Benfatti (1993), Brandon Noble (1996) and Devon Still (2011), a second-round pick by Cincinnati in 2012.

4) The person Jones said inspires him the most is his father, Steve Jones, a single parent who “treasures the small things in life and keeps things in perspective.” Steve Jones works as a chef at Cornell University, and Jones said his father’s chicken parmesan is his favorite food.

5) Jones said criminal justice classes were his favorite. He spent part of his 2013 summer as an intern with the Spring Township (Pa.) Police Department.


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5 Things About: Titans Second-Round Pick Bishop Sankey

Posted by Craig Peters on May 14, 2014 – 12:03 pm

The Titans drafted Washington running back Bishop Sankey in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft with the 54th overall pick.

Here are five things to know about one of the newest Titans:

The Titans selected Bishop Sankey out of Washington in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

The Titans selected Bishop Sankey out of Washington in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

1) Sankey was third on Washington’s depth chart before injuries created an opportunity for him in the second game of the 2012 season. He made the most of his playing time, with 1,439 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns on 289 carries and 249 yards on 33 receptions as a sophomore. Sankey followed with a school-record 1,870 rushing yards and second-highest season total of 20 rushing TDs.

2) Sankey was watching the NFL Draft with family and friends at Fort McArthur Air Force Base in San Pedro, Calif., when he was selected by the Titans. (Sankey’s father is in the Air Force and works with ROTC at UCLA).

3) NFL Media fantasy football editor Michael Fabiano recently predicted that Sankey has an opportunity to make one of the biggest impacts of any rookie. The Titans love Sankey’s versatility, and his ability to catch passes out of the backfield could enhance his offensive numbers (in fantasy and reality).

4) Sankey said his “favorite athlete as a child” was running back Javon Ringer, a fifth-round pick by Tennessee out of Michigan State in 2009. Ringer played in 37 games in four seasons with the Titans but was limited by injuries.

5) Sankey, whose middle name is Shaquille, said his pre-game playlist has “gospel at first, then some hip hop and some more upbeat stuff.”


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5 Things About: Titans First-Round Pick Taylor Lewan

Posted by Craig Peters on May 14, 2014 – 11:54 am

The Titans drafted Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft with the 11th overall pick.

Here are five things to know about one of the newest Titans:

The Titans drafted tackle Taylor Lewan out of Michigan in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

The Titans drafted tackle Taylor Lewan out of Michigan in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

1) Lewan played defensive line his first three years in high school in Arizona before switching to offensive line for his senior season. He became the ninth offensive lineman to start four seasons at Michigan and was twice named Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year.

2) He wore No. 77 with Michigan and will do the same with the Titans. The number is significant to him because it was also worn by former Wolverines offensive lineman Jon Jansen (a second-round pick by the Washington Redskins in 1999) and Jake Long (a first-round pick by the Miami Dolphins in 2008 who is now with the St. Louis Rams).

3) In February, before the NFL Combine and 13 weeks to the day before Tennessee drafted Lewan, ESPN Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. projected that outcome in a version of his mock draft. Kiper also correctly projected Greg Robinson would go to St. Louis at No. 2, but was slightly off on the destination for Jake Matthews, who was drafted by Atlanta at No. 6. Click here for a recap of Kiper’s comments from February about the depth at tackle.

4) Hands are important to an offensive lineman, and Lewan’s right hand has personality that may be concealed by gloves during games. He has a mustache tattoo on his index finger and a stick figure tattoo that he calls his “right-hand man.”

5) Lewan said he loves country music and motorcycles and listed Eric Church as his favorite music artist.


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Kiper: Jadeveon Clowney Likely to Land in AFC South

Posted by Craig Peters on February 6, 2014 – 10:04 pm

One way or another, ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. believes South Carolina defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney will be in the AFC South next season.

ESPN's Mel Kiper believes former South Carolina star Jadeveon Clowney could wind up with Houston or Jacksonville via the No. 1 or No. 3 overall picks.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper believes former South Carolina star Jadeveon Clowney could wind up with Houston or Jacksonville via the No. 1 or No. 3 overall picks.

Kiper, an NFL Draft expert, held a conference call Thursday in which he said he expects Houston to select Clowney with the No. 1 overall pick or Jacksonville to do so with the third pick in the 2014 NFL Draft this May. Click here for the draft order for the first round.

“They’re both teams in the AFC South and both need to get heat on (Colts QB) Andrew Luck,” Kiper said. “He would have been the No. 1 pick obviously had he had the great year, which he did not have for a variety of reasons, which it would probably take us 20 minutes to get into that, but the fact that he was concerned about getting hurt, had that cheap shot against him in the North Carolina game, kind of all contributed to that, but he’s No. 1 on my big board, and a lot of pro teams still have him No. 1. I think he goes No. 1 to Houston or 3 to Jacksonville, or maybe if St. Louis wants to move out of 2, somebody may trade up to get him.”

St. Louis has the second pick via Washington from the previous trade that the Redskins made to pick Robert Griffin III in 2012.

The Scouting Combine will be later this month in Indianapolis, offering team executives, scouts and coaches an opportunity to interview and evaluate the invited participants and shape each team’s plans for the draft. Kiper said he expects the top offensive tackles to receive grades that could be higher than last year’s prospects, and he expects there to be a strong consensus on Clowney’s numbers, as well.

“Clowney is going to be a guy that everybody is going to have a high grade on, and in this league, you have to get after the quarterback and he can do it,” Kiper said.

As for potential pro quarterbacks he might be chasing, Kiper said it’s “too early to speculate on which quarterback is going to be the hot guy at quarterback because the combine and pro days are going to be critical to” (Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Central Florida’s Blake Bortles and Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater).


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