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Titans' decision on Jake Locker option could impact draft plans

There are NFL teams in unquestionable need of a quarterback who figure to make an early, if not a first-round, investment in the position. Then there are those who may only be checking the temperature of the quarterback pool with one toe.

The Tennessee Titans fall more into the latter category than the former, but with the club reportedly unlikely to exercise its fifth-year option on quarterback Jake Locker, speculation figures to grow that the Titans are at least giving a first-round quarterback some serious consideration. The deadline for the team to extend Locker to a fifth season will come just days before the draft.

With Locker being a former first-round pick himself, how the club addresses the position in this draft will ultimately speak loudly about whether the team believes Locker is the right quarterback for its future. Being prepared to cut ties with Locker after his upcoming fourth NFL season could be indicative of the team's willingness to bring in some competition for Locker this fall.

But that doesn't necessarily mean a first-round willingness.

After all, there is far less certainty about which quarterback prospects might be available to Tennessee with the No. 11 pick than there is for the quarterback-hungry clubs picking in the top five. And one could certainly argue that the club's need for a top-shelf cornerback in the first round, a position NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks projects the Titans to address, is the greater need.

Either way, the 2014 season will be a crossroads for Locker.

And if he goes in the wrong direction, the Titans might well have a youngster around to blaze a new trail.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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