AUBURN, Ala. — Sen’Derrick Marks turned out to be a first-day NFL draft pick after all.
The Tennessee Titans took the former Auburn defensive tackle in the second round with the 62nd overall selection in Saturday’s draft, two picks before the end of the first day.
“I just went crazy,” Marks said.
“When I went to visit the Titans, I asked coach (Jeff) Fisher how it all works on draft day, and he asked if I really wanted to know and he told me. When he just called me, he said, ‘Didn’t I tell you that it was going to be a great feeling?’”
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The Titans needed help on their interior line after losing defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to free agency in the offseason. The All-Pro signed a 7-year, $100 million contract with the Washington Redskins in February.
The 6-foot-2, 306-pound Marks, who bypassed his senior season at Auburn to enter the draft, turned out to be their solution. He was the sixth defensive tackle taken Saturday.
“Sen’Derrick Marks is perfect getting up the field,” ESPN analyst Todd McShay said shortly after the pick. “He is best when he’s on the move. A little bit undersized, but I think early on he can come in and rush the passer from the interior. Certainly, Tennessee needs some depth at that defensive tackle position. I think Marks will provide some of that.”
ESPN’s Scouts Inc. gave Marks high grades in agility and quickness but had questions about his strength, toughness and durability.
Many of those doubts arose after an injury-plagued junior season during which he had 32 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss and two sacks.
A projected first-rounder before the season, Marks’ stock dropped considerably by the time he declared in December.
Those concerns were exacerbated by an offseason hamstring pull he suffered at the NFL Combine in February, an injury that affected him during a sub-par showing at Auburn’s pro day a few weeks later.
But Marks met with several teams in the past month to temper concerns about his hamstring, which he declared “100 percent” last week. One of those teams was Tennessee.
“The Titans complex was the only facility that I went to visit, and I really enjoyed it,” Marks said.
“It was a lot like Auburn’s, so I felt very familiar with it. I really liked the d-line coaches and the way that they coach. I really liked my visit and enjoyed it.”
According to the team’s Web site, the Titans’ two projected starters at defensive tackle next year are Tony Brown and Jovan Haye. Brown had 52 tackles and four sacks for Tennessee last season. Haye signed as a free agent after making 33 tackles in 14 starts with Tampa Bay.
Auburn now has had a player selected on the first day of the draft every year since 2004.
Two more Auburn players — guard Tyronne Green and cornerback Jerraud Powers — have a good chance to be selected some time in the final five rounds today.