A year after helping resurrect the career of quarterback Philip Rivers, Ken Whisenhunt gets a second chance as a head coach - this time with the Tennessee Titans.
Whisenhunt was 45-51 in six years as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals from 2007-12. He took the franchise to its first-ever Super Bowl appearance on the arm of Kurt Warner. Last year, Whisenhunt was the offensive coordinator for the Chargers, who ranked fourth in pass yards and fifth in total yards. Rivers won the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year Award after throwing for 4,478 yards with 32 touchdowns - his most since 2008 - against only 11 interceptions for a 105.5 passer rating, which tied a career high.
Tennessee used a first-round pick in 2011 on quarterback Jake Locker. Injuries have limited Locker's time on the field. He showed flashes of promise in 2013, but a hip injury followed by a Lisfranc sprain prematurely ended his season. Until that point, however, Locker had completed 60.7 percent of his passes for eight touchdowns against four interceptions. Whisenhunt has no allegiance to Locker and Tennessee could decide to use a first-round pick on a quarterback. Whisenhunt has said that the fourth-year quarterback is entering a “make or break” year.
The Titans moved on from running back Chris Johnson as they released the former 2,000-yard back in the offseason. Shonn Greene sits atop the depth chart for now, but it's very unlikely that the Titans would use the No. 11 pick on a running back.
Ray Horton, who orchestrated an outstanding defensive unit with Whisenhunt in Arizona, will oversee the Titans' transition from a 4-3 front to a 3-4 alignment. Looking to find pieces along the defensive line to fit in the new scheme, the Titans could look at disruptive interior lineman Aaron Donald from Pitt or Notre Dame's Louis Nix, a true nose tackle. Tennessee signed pass rusher Shaun Phillips from the Broncos this offseason, but could use the first-round pick on a player like UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr or inside linebacker C.J. Mosley from Alabama.
After losing Pro Bowl cornerback Alterraun Verner to the Bucs in free agency, the Titans could target a defensive back with their first pick. Tennessee missed out on Justin Gilbert, who went 10th to the Lions, but could get Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard or Ohio State's Bradley Roby. They also could be the first team to draft a safety.