If this isn’t your first time reading my blog, you already know I recently wrote a book about the NFL scouting business called Scout Speak. However, you may not know what we’ve got going on a week from today for everyone who’s bought a copy and tweeted about it (more on that later).
Tuesday night at 8 p.m. EST, my friend Blake Beddingfield, former Director of College Scouting for the Titans, will join me and everyone who tweets a picture of their copy of Scout Speak and includes the hashtag #ScoutSpeak before Monday on a Zoom call. It takes five years to properly judge a draft class, right? Well, on Tuesday, we’ll talk about the 2016 draft, one in which Blake (and the Titans) figured prominently.
Let’s set the scene. The team was coming off a 3-13 record in QB Marcus Mariota’s first season as a starter and had elevated Mike Mularkey from interim to full-time head coach. The team was lacking in playmakers on offense and wanted to go to more of a power offense. Meanwhile, on defense, the pass rush was solid with Brian Orakpo and Jurrell Casey but looking for talent in the secondary.
Here’s a rundown of the questions Blake will address.
- The draft had franchise QBs at the top two picks and an impact defensive end at No. 3, plus several big stars sprinkled throughout Round 1. Who were the top five players on the Titans’ board, regardless of position?
- The 2016 draft was a big one for passers. Given that you were in Year 2 with Marcus Mariota, how did you size up the quarterbacks that year?
- No one who watched the draft will forget 12 teams passing on Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil after an embarrassing video of him surfaced immediately before the draft. How could one quick video have resulted in so many teams passing up the best left tackle in the draft? Did the Titans really have Michigan State’s Jack Conklin, whom they drafted at 8, higher than Tunsil? How could the fear of facing an uncomfortable press conference have scared so many teams off the No. 1 blindside protector in the draft? Is there something teams knew that fans and the media didn’t.
- The Titans selected Clemson OB Kevin Dodd with the first pick of the second round. He had one sack in his two NFL seasons. What went wrong?
- Tennessee drafted Alabama OH Derrick Henry midway through the second round when the popular narrative was that running backs were mostly interchangeable. What prompted you to ignore the narrative and take him? How close did you come to taking him higher? Lower?
- There were several great safeties in the 2016 draft (Florida’s Keanu Neal, Maryland’s Sean Davis and Ohio State’s Vonn Bell among them), but you might have gotten the best one in Middle Tennessee’s Kevin Byard at 64. Was he your No. 1 safety?
- One of the most exciting players in the game, Saints QB Taysom Hill, went undrafted. What was “the book” on Hill that resulted in Kevin Hogan, Brandon Doughty and Jeff Driskel getting drafted but not Hill?
- What was “the book” on Ohio State’s Michael Thomas that prompted five wide receivers — most of whom are now out of the league — to be drafted before the Saints selected him in the second round?
- Who is the player you nearly took, but didn’t, and regret the most?
- Did you have any “now it can be told” interviews or experiences during pro days or Top 30 visits that spring?
I can’t wait till Tuesday. It’s gonna be a blast! If you haven’t already, make sure you pick up your copy of Scout Speak and tweet a picture of it with the #ScoutSpeak hashtag (like this one) by Sunday night. I want you on this Zoom call. Hope to see you soon!