South Notes: Titans, Spencer, Saints, Panthers

With the Buccaneers viewed as very likely to draft Jameis Winston first overall next month, the Titans‘ pick at No. 2 is a big one, since it’s not clear whether Tennessee will opt for quarterback Marcus Mariota or select a defender.

Asked today about the Mariota possibility, Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt told reporters, including Jim Corbett of USA Today (Twitter link) that “if he comes to us at No. 2, he’s definitely going to be the Day One starter.” As Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports tweets, Whisenhunt later clarified that he meant if his team were to draft a quarterback second overall, it would be with the expectation that the player would start immediately.

Whisenhunt’s comments don’t necessarily signal that Tennessee is leaning toward the Oregon signal-caller, but the door certainly doesn’t seem closed on that outcome either. Here are a few more notes from around the NFL’s two South divisions:

  • The latest report on the possibility of a Titans sale has led to the latest round of denials from the organization. This time, it’s interim president Steve Underwood saying that ownership is committed to the team, and doesn’t intend to field offers on the franchise, according to Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. Per Wyatt, Tommy Smith‘s replacement also made it clear that he has confidence in Whisenhunt and GM Ruston Webster.
  • Former Cowboys DE/OLB Anthony Spencer is visiting New Orleans to meet with the Saints, per Kristian Garic of WWL 870 (via Twitter). Spencer, who has spent all eight years of his NFL career with Dallas, hasn’t started a game since his Pro Bowl season in 2012, but has a history with Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
  • Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said today that linebacker Thomas Davis will be next in line for a contract extension, and also suggested that wide receiver Greg Jennings and cornerback Alan Ball are still in play for Carolina — both players have drawn interest from other teams as well, and are taking their time to make decisions.
  • Texans head coach Bill O’Brien identified safety and offensive line as two spots at which he wants to improve his team’s depth, adding that he’d like to upgrade the club’s return game as well (Twitter link via John McClain of the Houston Chronicle).
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