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Will defense be Titans draft focus?

Much of the focus for the Tennessee Titans this off-season as it pertains to the draft has centered around the offensive line.

Florida's Sharrif Floyd is the type of player who could instantly help Tennessee's defense if he is available at No. 10.

Many a mock draft has had the Titans selecting Alabama’s Chance Warmack or North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper. That still could be the case for the Titans at No. 10, but there may be clues that the Titans are strongly considering defensive players with the bulk of their nine draft picks – perhaps even in round one at No. 10 overall.

General manager Ruston Webster said Tuesday, when asked specifically about the safety position, that all spots were open for upgrade for a defense that allowed a franchise-record 471 points a year ago.

“Well, I think safety is one of those positions where it’s a pretty good year this year, and really defensively, there’s nothing we couldn’t do to try to help our team,” Webster said. “You can’t pick a position and say we’re good, so I don’t think safety is any different. I think we’ll continue to look for the best football players we can and try to create as much competition as we can and improve our team that way.”

In trying to improve the team, one area that could also be addressed with a high pick is the defensive line, where players like Florida’s Sharrif Floyd and Utah’s Star Lotulelei could be available at tackle, and pass rushers like LSU’s Barkevious Mingo and Oregon’s Dion Jordan could be on the board at end when the Titans pick in round one.

In the case of the ends, the top pass rushers are a bit light _ both weighing less than 250 pounds, but Titans coach Mike Munchak indicated that when the talent is special, you can find ways to use them effectively.

“They don’t have to play 60 or 70 snaps. They can help you on special teams, they can help you where they’re out there 40 or 50 plays a game where they can make a difference,” Munchak said. “Those are the kind of guys like Jordan that can change a game like we saw Jevon (Kearse) do.

“We saw how fast a defensive lineman can swat the ball out of a quarterback’s hand and the game changes, so those are the kind of guys that probably will not play a lot of the game, 60 or 70 snaps, because of their size and you want to keep them going throughout the season, and then it’s hard to fit them in a particular system because everyone tries to figure out if those guys are 3-4 or 4-3—they’re football players, so it’s just a matter of the way they fit your team at the time that you get to pick from. I think that’s what you have to decide when it’s your turn to pick.”

Webster said the key for any player the Titans draft – no matter the position – is to already know how you plans to use him and how he fits into your system before you select him.

“The thing that you do always have to have is a plan. Wherever you pick, we always talk about what the plan is for that player, so whenever we pick a guy we’ll have that in place and that’s what we’ll follow and that’s what’s going to give them the best chance to succeed,” Webster said.

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