With the No. 1 pick in the draft, the Tennessee Titans could go any number of ways. They could go with star defensive end Joey Bosa, they could go with athletic cornerback Jalen Ramsey, or they could go with playmaking linebacker Myles Jack.
Houston Nutt wouldn’t draft any of them – not if he had the No. 1 pick, anyway.
“I’m probably going to go protect that quarterback with Laremy Tunsil,” the CBS Sports Network college football analyst said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “This guy has a unique set of skills. To me, nobody else has them. (He has) tremendous feet. We looked at it yesterday. When you look at years past, you’ve got to have a quarterback. Well, Tennessee, I’m sure they feel like they have one. I think Marcus Mariota really, for this first year, did an outstanding job. I think he’s only going to get better.”
Mariota, 22, completed 62.2 percent of his passes for 2,818 yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 12 games last season. He also rushed for 252 yards (7.4 yards per carry) and two scores.
“You’ve got to protect him,” Nutt said. “He took some hits, got hurt and you see what happens when you get hurt: People lose their jobs and the team goes south. So I think you got to start with that left tackle.”
Speaking of getting hurt, the one knock on Tunsil is his durability. The 6-5, 310-pound tackle allowed just two sacks in his collegiate career at Ole Miss, but he spent an awful lot of time in the trainer’s room.
That has to be a concern for the Titans, or any team that drafts him, right?
“No question,” Nutt said. “When you look at it and you look at the history, you go check that training room. Torn bicep, had a knee problem there for a little bit. This guy has stayed in the training room, but I’ll tell you what’s amazing: You turn on that film, and you look at the last six games, they averaged 200 yards rushing. Without him, they averaged about 80 yards rushing. And then you see that drop-set. You see those feet, the quickness, the natural bend that he has – it’s going to be hard to pass up. But you’re right. I’m sure all the research they’re doing is going back to that training room. Is he going to be durable? You got to have a guy – if you’re going to pay that much money – he’s got to be out there on that field.”