KNOXVILLE (WBIR) - The NFL Draft begins Thursday night at 8 p.m., and Titans and Vols fans will be paying close attention.
WHAT WILL TITANS DO?
New Tennessee Titans General Manager Jon Robinson made a big move when he traded the No. 1 overall pick in the draft to the St. Louis Rams for the No. 15 overall pick, in addition to three more picks in the 2016 draft, and three picks in the 2017 draft, including a first-round selection.
Fox Sports Radio Knoxville host and NFL Draft expert Nate Hodges says the Titans will look to protect Marcus Mariota.
"I think he's going to pick (at No. 15)," Hodges said. "I think they want to get one of the right tackles that should be on the board at 15."
Michigan State's Jack Conklin and Ohio State's Taylor Decker are popular choices for the Titans at that slot, but Hodges said Robinson could always pull another big move.
"I would not be surprised if you see him start wheeling and dealing especially after that first-round pick," Hodges said.
NORTH OR BUST FOR VOLS?
Meanwhile Tennessee hopes to avoid a second-straight year without having a player selected in the NFL Draft. The Volunteers have never gone two consecutive years without a pick since the draft began in 1936.
Wide receiver Marquez North, who is leaving the program after three injury-riddled years, could appeal to teams with his 6-4, 225 pound frame.
"I think Marquez North is probably a late-round pick but it could be really late," Hodges said. "He's got the perfect body for the NFL. I think it's North or bust for Tennessee this year."
2017 WILL BE MONSTER YEAR FOR VOLS IN DRAFT
If Tennessee's draft drought continues in 2016, it will certainly end in 2017. Tennessee could boast several first-round picks in defensive end Derek Barnett and cornerback Cam Sutton. Linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, and running backs Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara are other names to watch in next year's draft as well.
"There's going to be a handful," Hodges said. "It's loaded. Everybody's excited about the season and that will translate in to NFL prospects down the road."