TitansOnline.com Senior Writer and Editor Jim Wyatt offers hot topics from the team’s pre-draft press conference at Saint Thomas Sports Park.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans general manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Mularkey held a pre-draft press conference on Tuesday at Saint Thomas Sports Park.
In just over 30 minutes, the two tackled questions on the NFL Draft, quarterback Marcus Mariota’s health, Taylor Lewan’s fifth-year option, running back Derrick Henry’s whereabouts, and other players currently on the roster.
Here’s a look at the highlights…
“50/50” on Trade?
The Titans are scheduled to pick 5th and 18th overall in the first round.
Robinson said he’s received some inquiries from other teams regarding a trade.
“We’ve had a few calls,’’ Robinson said. “There are some (calls) that are just investigative, trying to see if anything is going on around us. We’ve had a couple a little more serious in nature about potentially moving.”
Robinson didn’t give any clues about positions the team might be looking for in the first round. He said a trade probably wouldn’t manifests itself until draft night, if it happens.
“We are in a good position at 5 and 18 to get two good football players,” Robinson said, “if we stay there.”
When asked about the odds of the Titans picking at 5 and 18, Robinson replied: “50/50.”
It’s no secret the Titans have needs at receiver and in the secondary.
So what is the team looking for at each position?
Clemson’s Mike Williams, Western Michigan’s Corey Davis and Washington’s John Ross are considered the top three receivers in this year’s draft. Williams and Davis are big-bodied players, while Ross is small, but can fly.
“I think we have said it multiple times – there’s really two things (we are looking for) and we have incorporated a third,’’ Robinson said. “Get open, catch, and block. That is what we are looking for. There’s some guys that could potentially fit that criteria.”
At the cornerback position, where Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore is considered the top prospect, Robinson was even more specific.
“I think ball skills are important,’’ Robinson said of the cornerback position. “I think the ability to tackle is important, the ability to play with good technique, their instincts, their speed, their savvy for the position, versatility. Can he play outside? Can he play inside? I think there’s a lot of characteristics we are looking for at the position.”
Robinson said the Titans plan to pick up left tackle Taylor Lewan’s fifth-year option for 2018.
Lewan, a first-round pick by the Titans in 2014, is coming off a Pro Bowl season. Robinson said the Titans will likely have discussions about an extension in the future.
“He is excited about the direction of this football team,’’ Robinson said of Lewan. “And we are looking forward to continuing to work with him. … I think it was a relatively easy decision I should say. He and I sat down this morning and talked for 20 minutes, and he is excited about the style of football we’re playing here and he is looking forward to being a part of this organization for a long time.”
Later in the day, Lewan sent out this message via Twitter: “Thank you to the @Titans and Jon Robinson. My family and I are very excited about the future. #NoBadDays
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota continues to recover from the fractured fibula he suffered at the end of the 2016 season.
Mariota said last week the next hurdle for him to clear would be to start running, and he said estimated he’s a few weeks away.
Mularkey was asked about his quarterback’s progress on Tuesday, and said he thinks that’s a possibility.
“He is still on track,” Mularkey said of Mariota. “It’s been very positive, all the reports back from the doctors.”
Derrick Henry Talk
Running back Derrick Henry wasn’t among the players who reported for the start of the offseason program last week.
The only other player who wasn’t there on Day 1 was cornerback Bennett Okotcha, and he’s retiring.
Mularkey was asked about Henry on Tuesday. He said he hasn’t been around, and he hasn’t had any conversations with him. But he didn’t seem overly concerned.
“I didn’t reach out to him,’’ Mularkey said of Henry. “All of the players know our schedule, know what we are doing daily. I didn’t feel like I needed to follow up. He has been informed as everybody has.”
Mularkey reminded the workouts are voluntary.
“He doesn’t have to (be here),’’ Mularkey said of Henry. “None of them have to. We have a good group working right now. He, from what I understand is in school, and I don’t think there is anything negative about that.”
The Titans drafted linebacker Kevin Dodd in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Clemson, but he only made a small contribution during his rookie season because of a lingering foot injury.
Dodd was placed on Injured Reserved at the end of the season.
Mularkey acknowledged on Tuesday “he’s not completely” healthy.
“He is not far off,’’ Mularkey said. “He still has a little bit of pain in that foot. We are still working with him daily, trying to get him to be 100 percent, but he is not.
“It is a delicate injury. He has done everything he possible can to get back at the level, but it has taken time. There is nobody at fault. We are doing everything we can to get him back. He has been here working diligently trying to get that thing right.”