2019 NFL draft: Could Titans keep tapping into Boston College connection?
MOBILE, Ala. — Mike Vrabel has a man on the inside, someone the Titans coach can rely on to leak behind-the-scenes scouting reports on the several intriguing NFL draft prospects out of Boston College.
OK, maybe Tyler Vrabel isn’t being utilized quite like a covert informant. But the fact that he’s a rising sophomore offensive tackle for the Eagles certainly has played a vital role in their link with the Titans.
“Obviously have a lot of ties to that program, but I don’t know if I’d rely on Tyler’s observations,” Vrabel said with a smile after Tuesday's Senior Bowl practice. “But everybody up there was great to Tyler with him coming in and helping him with the transition. ... He’s in the right place. I’m glad he’s at Boston College.”
In April, the Titans selected outside linebacker Harold Landry out of Boston College with the 41st overall pick. It was widely regarded as a second-round steal. Last month, Vrabel plucked Boston College strength and conditioning coach Frank Piraino for the same role for the Titans.
Could the Titans dip into the Boston College well again this April?
It’s within the realm of possibility, considering the number of NFL prospects emerging from Boston College this year and the talent at positions of need for the Titans.
The top two in that regard are defensive end Zach Allen and offensive guard Chris Lindstrom.
Could Zach Allen, Harold Landry reunite in Nashville?
Allen last spoke with Landry about a week ago. The two are training at the same facility in Phoenix this offseason, and Allen was hoping to get a lay of the land.
Former teammates in the trenches, they remain in touch frequently.
"He was a big part of helping me become the player I am," Allen said, "because I was able to learn from him. It’s going to be great to be able to continue to learn from him this offseason."
But imagine continuing to learn from him next season … in Nashville?
"It’d be funny," the 6-foot-5, 285-pounder said. "It’d be great to work with him again. We have a good chemistry. We know each other’s games pretty well. I bumped inside when he was here and we ran games and stunts together, so I know what he likes and he knows what I like. It would be really exciting."
The Titans’ top priority entering the draft is finding a complementary piece to Landry, someone who can occupy the space voided by Brian Orakpo’s retirement and create pressure on the other side. It seems likely how the Titans will spend their 19th overall pick.
Most prognosticators have Allen going late in the first round or somewhere in the second. That could change depending on how his Senior Bowl week plays out. Part of his strength lies in his versatility; he's agile and strong, and he can play both inside and outside.
"I probably prefer playing on the outside versus the pass and inside versus the run," said Allen, who had 15 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks last season for Boston College. "Inside versus the run, you’re closer to the action, and outside versus the pass, having a one-on-one with the tackle and being able to build up some speed, because power is a big part of my game. A lot of guys can’t take 285 pounds running at them head-on with a 5-, 6-yard head start."
For Allen and his Boston College teammates, there are a lot of reasons to view Nashville as a good landing spot.
"It’s great to have people in a facility to kind of mesh you in," Allen said, "and make a very complex transitioning period a lot easier."
Said Vrabel: "It’s fun to be able to evaluate players that you know."
Chris Lindstrom could bolster Titans' interior O-line
Lindstrom stopped short of saying the Boston College locker room was composed of full-blown Titans fans this past season. But the Eagles certainly had a lot of reasons to cheer for Tennessee.
"We’re really happy for him (Landry) and his opportunity, and then with Tyler in there, too," Lindstrom said, "it was just another reason for us at BC to root for the Titans."
Lindstrom projects as a second- or third-round selection and is a name to keep an eye on as the Titans scour the draft boards to pad the interior of their offensive line, arguably the weakest position group currently on the roster. The 6-foot-4, 310-pound offensive lineman said he’s most comfortable as a guard but has recently spent time learning center.
During Tuesday's Senior Bowl practice, he pancaked a few defenders while flashing his power and technique.
"I'm coming out here, trying to work and show my best game," he said. "Whatever drills, I'm trying to go as hard as I can and finish the details of those drills. One-on-ones, trying to win as many reps as I can."
Another reason for Vrabel to think highly of Lindstrom? Well, Lindstrom thinks highly of his son.
“Oh, Tyler’s a great player and he’s going to be a great player in the future,” Lindstrom said. “He’s young and still has got some developing to do, but he’s got a bright future ahead of him.”
Reach Erik Bacharach at email@example.com and on Twitter @ErikBacharach.
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