The Tennessee Titans were the linchpin of the 2015 NFL Draft. The stories that swirled in the days and weeks leading up to the draft had about half the league trading up to the No. 2 overall pick to take Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota or a bevy of other players, leading some to reminisce about the Eli Manning/Philip Rivers trade of 2004.
Fellow AFC South member Houston drafted in the middle of the draft and while it didn’t have the fanfare of Tennessee’s draft position, the results was plenty of young talent infused onto the roster.
Today, we’ll take a look at how the Titans and Texans fared in the draft and what that means for your dynasty team.
After all the hubbub surrounding trading the second overall pick, at the end of the day the Titans chose to stand pat and take Mariota themselves.
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Mariota is a big, strong-armed quarterback who is accurate and a good decision maker. He also brings the added bonus of being quite mobile. His detractors will say he didn’t play in a pro-style offense and will have a hard transition to the NFL, but that remains to be seen. The coaching staff says he will be the starter from day one, supplanting last year’s sixth-round pick Zach Mettenberger, which prompted the second-year player from LSU to ask to be traded.
Mariota should bring stability the quarterback spot in Tennessee. Jake Locker had been the previous long-term solution, but he never developed the way many had hoped, thanks in no small part to injuries. Mettenberger took over after Locker’s latest injury, but lasted only six games himself before being lost for the season.
Mariota is surrounded by talented players. How quickly they become acclimated with each other and how well the line plays will determine how well he plays in his first season.
The Texans selected cornerback Kevin Johnson from Wake Forest, strengthening an already impressive defense by adding a playmaker in the backfield to several in their front seven.
If Mariota was the given in Round One, taking Dorial Green-Beckham in Round Two was the surprise.
Green-Beckham is a very talented wide receiver who had plenty of off-field issues that caused him to be kicked off the team at Missouri. He spent the 2014 season on campus at Oklahoma (but never played) before entering the draft. He’s never played with a quarterback as talented as Mariota, so it should be interesting to see how that relationship develops. If those two click, they could become Matthew Stafford-Calvin Johnson 2.0.
In terms of his place on the Titans wide receiver depth-chart, there is no reason to think that Green-Beckham can’t end up as the WR1. He, just like seemingly every other wideout on the roster, is full of potential but has yet to maximize it. The same can be said for Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter.
Houston traded up to land inside linebacker Bendardrick McKinney out of Mississippi State.
Tennessee took guard Jeremiah Poutasi. Protecting Mariota is always a good thing.
The Texans selected Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong in this round. A 6-foot-2, 217 pound receiver with great hands, he’ll pair with emerging star DeAndre Hopkins to give Houston two youngsters on the outside to build around. Whether the quarterback this season is Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett, Strong has the ability to make an early impact in PPR leagues.
Strong is more of a possession type receiver, as opposed to Hopkins who has the speed to get deep. The pair should complement each other nicely. Strong currently sits at at No. 14 in our most current rookie ADP data.
The Titans selected defensive tackle Angelo Blackson with the first pick of the round, then grabbed fullback Jalston Fowler from Alabama with ninth selection after a trade with the New York Giants. Fowler probably doesn’t hold much value in terms of fantasy, but could vulture a few touchdowns here and there.
Last season the Titans run game was subpar, so upgrading the offensive line and adding a fullback to clear the road can only help.
Speaking of that sub-par run game, Tennessee added another running back in the person of David Cobb out of Minnesota. He’ll come in and be in direct competition with last year’s second-round selection, Bishop Sankey.
Last season Sankey, well, he wasn’t good. He only rushed for 569 yards and a 3.7 average and never gained more than 61 yards in any game. He managed just two touchdowns on the season.
Cobb has been described as similar to New York Giants back Shane Vereen. He has good burst, good hands and has some wiggle. He’s not the best blocker on the planet, however. Still, Cobb’s skill set is good enough that he could end start the season as the third down back and steal the RB1 job from Sankey by the end of the year.
Houston selected Keith Mumphrey from Michigan State. He’s a 6-foot-0, 215 pound physical receiver, but he has some work to do to stick on an NFL roster.
With the first pick of the round, the Titans took outside linebacker Deiontrez Mount, then selected center Andy Gallik at pick 32 after trading with New England.
Houston selected South Florida outside linebacker Reshard Cliett with their first compensatory pick, then with their second took defensive tackle Christian Covington from Rice.
Another weapon for Mariota as the Titans took wide receiver Tre McBride from William and Mary. He has outstanding body control, excellent hands and speed and great focus. He is a bit on the small side, checking in at 6-foot-0 and 210 pounds.
While McBride is talented, the Titans wide receiver depth chart is bursting at the seams. On top of McBride and Green-Beckham from this year’s draft, Tennessee also has Wright and Hunter discussed above, along with Harry Douglas, Jacoby Ford, and Hakeem Nicks.
With it’s final selection Houston took running back Kenny Hilliard from LSU. He’ll pair with former Tigers teammate Alfred Blue to back up incumbent Arian Foster.