(SportsNetwork.com) - There is a linchpin pick where every draft pivots and that selection is going to be very early in the 2015 version, Tennessee's spot at No. 2 overall.
If things fall as expected and Tampa Bay selects Florida State QB Jameis Winston with the No. 1 overall pick, the Titans have a decision to make, either draft Marcus Mariota or trade out to an organization that wants the Oregon Heisman Trophy winner.
For weeks the thought was that Tennessee wanted out of the slot because it needs multiple assets in order to get better and Mariota seems nothing like a Ken Whisenhunt-type quarterback.
The Titans have done a brilliant job dispelling that notion, however, and an early draft-week column by Peter King of Sports Illustrated claimed Tennessee will be "comfortable" taking Mariota "unless they trade the pick."
Think about that thesis, though. If the Titans really liked Mariota that much, the solution is simple, draft him and build from there. The "unless they trade the pick" is the key part of the subterfuge. Simply put, Tennessee remains intent on dealing the pick but hasn't gotten an offer it likes just yet.
So the question becomes whether anyone has the interest of trading up and overdrafting a solid but far from spectacular quarterback prospect. The most likely candidates remain the Jets and Chicago, simply because those are teams that don't have to move that far. That said, the Jets understand Mariota may drop to them anyway if the Titans are bluffing, and the Bears will have issues trying to move the poster- child for bad-body language, Jay Cutler.
Cleveland, Philadelphia, and to a lesser extent New Orleans and San Diego, remain the wild cards. The Browns have two No. 1 picks, Nos. 12 and 19, and a GM, Ray Farmer, who not only struck out badly in the first round last year, he also showed he was in over his head with the embarrassing text-gate scandal, facts that mean Farmer is looking to make a splash to save his job.
Chip Kelly, meanwhile, is unhinged, at least in a football sense, and is capable of shock and awe even if makes no sense and mortgages his organization's future.
The Chargers are the one team that could get it done rather easily if they agree to part with Philip Rivers but that's looking unlikely.
From a pure need standpoint, the Titans have to secure help on their front seven and at right tackle on the offensive line. Passing on Leonard Williams, the Southern Cal defensive lineman almost universally regarded as the best player in this draft, may be a mistake.
"He is Reggie White. He can play anything and dominate," one scout said when describing Williams. "Watch the (Holiday) bowl game. When he could have shut it down, he dominated Nebraska. He will be a perennial Pro Bowler - no and's, if's or but's."
2014 Record: 2-14
Top Needs: DL, RT, QB
First Three Picks: No. 2, No. 33, No. 66
Number of Selections: 7 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6)
RECENT FIRST ROUND HISTORY: 2014 - Taylor Lewan (OT, Michigan); 2013 - Chance Warmack (OG, Alabama); 2012 - Kendall Wright (WR, Baylor); 2011 - Jake Locker (QB, Washington); 2010 - Derrick Morgan (DE, Georgia Tech); 2009 - Kenny Britt (WR - Rutgers); 2008 - Chris Johnson (RB, East Carolina); 2007 - Michael Griffin (S, Texas); 2006 - Vince Young (QB, Texas); 2005 - Adam "Pacman" Jones (CB, West Virginia)