The Tennessee Titans willingly paid a big price to make sure their defense got younger and deeper on the front seven.
For the second straight night, the Titans moved up in the NFL draft to acquire the linebacker they wanted. Tennessee chose Boston College outside linebacker Harold Landry with the 41st overall pick Friday night after sending the Oakland Raiders the 57th and 89th overall selections — its second-round and third-round picks.
The Titans aren't scheduled to draft again until the fifth round. Titans general manager Jon Robinson believes the quality of Landry and first-round pick Rashaan Evans of Alabama will make up for their draft's lack of quantity.
"Two guys that were certainly worthy of going in the first round," Robinson said of his picks.
The Titans had traded up three spots in the first round Thursday to take Evans with the 22nd overall pick . This second trade leaves the Titans with only one fifth-round pick and two sixth-round selections the rest of the draft.
Tennessee had traded its fourth-round selection to the Baltimore Ravens when the two teams swapped first-round picks in the Evans deal, which also got the Titans an extra sixth-rounder.
Landry, who is listed as 6-foot-2 and 252 pounds, opted to return to Boston College for his senior year after recording 16 1/2 sacks to set a single-season school record in 2016. He recorded five sacks in eight games last year before an ankle injury shut him down for the remainder of the season
Landry says he's feeling better now.
"I'm 100 percent healthy and ready to go to work right now," Landry said.
Landry also isn't second-guessing his decision to return to school.
"I have absolutely zero regrets about going back for my senior year," Landry said. "Going back for my senior year, I met my fiancee, my son was born and now I'm a Tennessee Titan. I don't think it can get much better."
Although he couldn't match his 2016 production last year, Landry still was rated as a probable first-round pick on several mock drafts. Robinson said he started working the phones Friday morning trying to get an earlier second-round pick with Landry still on the board.
"We felt like we got a first-round-caliber player that for whatever reason slipped into the second round," Robinson said.
The Titans recorded 43 sacks to tie for fifth in the NFL last season, but the age and contract status of their outside linebackers made that position a draft priority.
Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan are heading into the final years of their contracts. Orakpo turns 32 on July 31, and Morgan is entering his ninth season in the league.
The Titans used a 2016 second-round pick on outside linebacker Kevin Dodd, but he was hurt for most of his rookie year and wasn't much of a factor last season.
"We've invested quite a bit of draft capital on the offensive side the last couple of years," Robinson said. "This year we invested some on the defense."
Landry is eager to contribute to that group and says he's "beyond blessed" to have this opportunity. Landry's pre-draft meeting with new Titans coach Mike Vrabel made him eager to work with the former New England Patriots linebacker and Houston Texans defensive coordinator.
"He's definitely a coach I've always wanted to play for all along," Landry said. "Tennessee's a place where I want to raise my family. I think it's a perfect fit."
The Titans now have quite a bit of time to wait before they get to choose the next few guys who best fit their remaining needs.
"Hopefully we can add some role players, guys that can help us in the kicking game, add some depth there," Robinson said. "We're going to stick to that philosophy of tough, team-first guys that are going to come here and work."
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