Tennessee receiver Justin Hunter runs a drill at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 24. (AP Photo)
NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Titans moved up six spots in the second round to make sure Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter wouldn’t move far at all to begin his pro career.
The Titans traded the 40th overall pick, a seventh-round pick and a 2014 third-round selection to the San Francisco 49ers on Friday to get the former Volunteers star with the 34th overall pick in the draft.
“He was on a different level grade-wise than the rest of the players on the board,” Titans general manager Ruston Webster said. “It was not even really close for us. With him sitting there, we just thought it was a great opportunity to take a talented young receiver with a lot of upside.”
Hunter tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in September 2011, but he bounced back last fall and caught 73 passes for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns. Hunter said the knee no longer is an issue.
“All of my problems are gone,” Hunter said. “I’m 100 percent now and ready to work.”
This marks the second straight year the Titans drafted a receiver early. They used their first-round pick last year on Baylor’s Kendall Wright, who caught 64 passes for 626 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie.
The Titans’ receiving corps also features former first-round draft pick Kenny Britt and Nate Washington. Britt, entering the final year of his contract, has shown flashes of stardom but has struggled with injuries and off-field issues.
Washington had a career year in 2011 with 74 receptions for 1,023 yards and seven touchdowns. He had 46 catches for 746 yards and four touchdowns last year.
“It wasn’t to send a message to anybody, but I think it should get everyone’s attention that we’re bringing in players to help us win football games,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “That’s what the players want us to do.”
The Titans now have used their first two draft picks on offense after giving up 471 points last season, the most in franchise history. Tennessee allowed a league-high 29.4 points per game.
Tennessee did make plenty of additions to defense in the free-agent market, adding safeties George Wilson and Bernard Pollard plus tackle Sammie Lee Hill. Webster said Hunter was so far ahead of everyone else on the Titans’ draft board that they couldn’t pass him up just for the sake of landing a defensive player.
“Had it been close, we might have gone defense,” Webster said. “But it wasn’t close.”
Earlier in the day, the Titans formally introduced first-round pick Chance Warmack in a news conference. The offensive guard from Alabama said he looked forward to learning “all the tricks” from Munchak and offensive line coach Bruce Matthews, both Hall of Fame guards.
“I can grow as a player learning from some of the best guards to play the position, and I’m not saying that because (Munchak) is right next to me,” Warmack said. “It’s a dream for a guy like me to learn under guys who played my position and know what’s hard and what’s going to be easy, and can just speak from a guard’s perspective.”
Warmack, a three-year starter at left guard, said he liked the Titans’ plans to play him at right guard. The Titans signed free agent Andy Levitre to a six-year, $46.8 million contract and have penciled him in at left guard.
“I think naturally it would be better for me to play right guard because that was what I was playing coming out of high school and going into college, so going back into that situation would actually be better for me,” Warmack said.