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BTSC 2009 Community Mock Draft - Pick #30 by the Tennessee Titans: Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee

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As we wind down the 2009 BTSC Community Mock Draft, we're treated to one of the very finest efforts of the entire process. The Tennessee Titans selection at #30 by BTSC's iin-house Twitter manager and draft enthusiast syrsteelerfan. A hearty thanks to him for the effort on short notice as we've roared through the last part of this draft in time. Great job all! Next up? The great and much missed cgolden, who's been doing his thing over at RotB with aplomb while we win Super Bowls here in Steeler Nation :) - Blitz-

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The Tennessee Titans... from unseating the Colts atop the AFC South and playing like the best team in the league in the regular season, to turning over their Super Bowl hopes in the playoffs against the Ravens, of all teams.

Where do the Titans go from here? Since I don't follow the Titans the way I do the Steelers, I did a little research. I used the following resources:

Local papers in Tennessee, for info on team needs and prospective picks

Music City Miracles, the Titans SB Nation blog, for info on team needs and prospective picks

Scout.com player rankings

Mel Kiper's Big Board

Mike Mayock's Draft Rankings

As you might be aware, I'm a strong believer in best player available - which I define more narrowly as staying true to your board. So my first step was to simulate a draft board. Like others, I turned to the Scout.com player rankings. Here's a few top players from those rankings that haven't been taken in our draft:

  • Alex Mack
  • Alphonso Smith
  • Clint Sintim
  • Connor Barwin
  • D.J. Moore
  • Donald Brown
  • Hakeem Nicks
  • Kenny Britt
  • Larry English
  • LeSean McCoy
  • Percy Harvin
  • Robert Ayers
  • Sean Smith
  • Tyson Jackson

That's a lot - so let's narrow it down. I'm going to pull the two RB's off the board - while the Titans love drafting backs early, they just took Chris Johnson last year. I'm also going to take Larry English off as he doesn't fit their scheme, and Alphonso Smith because local papers speak of him as a 2nd rounder at most for the Titans.

That still leaves me with 10 players, so I'm going to take off anyone who doesn't appear in both Mike Mayock's top 5 at their position, and on Mel Kiper's big board. That leaves me with four very good football players:

Alex Mack - He's got size, skills, smarts, and intangibles - a very high floor for his future performance, but how high is his ceiling?

Rankings (Scout / Kiper / Mayock top 5): 41 / 21 / 3

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Percy Harvin - Shouldn't have fallen this far, he's the most explosive all-around offensive player in the draft. Character concerns seem to have scared off members of the BTSC community.

Rankings (S / K / M):  21 / 25 / 3

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Robert Ayers - Physical specimen who had a great Senior Bowl and can play DT or DE, but not a lot of great tape.

Rankings (S / K / M): 20 / 14 / 1

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Tyson Jackson - 1st round physical skills, lacks consistency and elite burst off the line to rush the passer. Considered the top 3-4 DE, but could play DT or run-stuffing DE in 4-3.

Rankings (S / K / M): 17 / 16 / 2

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Mike Mayock is my favorite draft guru and the one I trust the most. The one downside to these rankings, though, is that they fail to account for the strength of the position in the draft. The Kiper and Scout rankings, meanwhile, give a good sense of overall value in the entire draft. So to finalize my board, I added the Kiper and Scout numbers together and subtracted Mayock bonus points (#1 =- 5, #2 = -4, etc).

My board was as follows: Robert Ayers and Tyson Jackson with 29 points, Percy Harvin with 43, and Alex Mack at 59. Harvin and Mack aren't ranked high enough (and, for you needs people out there, they have speed with Chris Johnson and Washington, and drafted mid-round centers recently to replace Mawae).

So it's down to Tyson Jackson and Robert Ayers, and the pick is...

Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee Volunteers

He's ranked higher by Mayock and Kiper, and has received positive coverage as a potential pick in local papers and at Music City Miracles. Having lost 2 DE's before last season, Javon Kearse getting up there in age, the Titans need an end who can rush the passer. They love the versatility that both bring to the table, and can rotate either with 2008 2nd rounder Jason Jones. But Ayers' pass rush moves make him a touch more explosive. He's also a local pick, playing with the Tennessee Volunteers. And with last year's Chris Johnson pick, the Titans showed that they'll take a risk on someone who was a bit under the radar but have all the physical skills.

In the real draft, I don't expect Tyson Jackson or potentially Harvin to be around at this pick, and I think Ayers might go sooner. Titans needs are at WR, DE, DT, O-line, LB, or CB, but in this mock there is no value at the CB or LB positions at 1.30. I also don't see WR ranked as highly after they picked up Nate (if nothing else, he backs up the safeties and give room to Johnson, who they plan to throw to more). Harvin might come off on character concerns.

 

And now, on to the Arizona Cardinals with Harvin and a few solid backs still around, and our own Pittsburgh Steelers - who may have to choose between Alex Mack and Tyson Jackson.