This offseason has been a busy one for the front office of the Tennessee Titans. The same franchise that came just one game short of reaching the Super Bowl two seasons ago has seen a whole lot of players come and go throughout the free agency period. With the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft looming, the Titans now must look to balance out their signings with rookie talent. The following looks at the team’s biggest needs and checklist to ensure a successful draft.
Titans NFL Draft Needs and Strategy | Offense
The Titans lost former No. 5 overall draft pick Corey Davis to the New York Jets in free agency. The team went out and signed Josh Reynolds to help lessen the blow, but there remains a clear and obvious need at the position. The Titans will likely look to draft multiple wideouts over the course of the draft. They will undoubtedly use one of the four picks over the first three rounds on the position. There’s a real possibility that the team drafts a wideout in Round 1. The Titans will undoubtedly use one of their first two picks on the position.
The Titans were left scrambling at offensive tackle last season as Taylor Lewan missed more games than he played. While he will presumably protect Ryan Tannehill’s blindside this season when healthy, Tennessee could certainly afford to have a backup plan in place. Tennessee missed badly on Isaiah Wilson in last year’s NFL Draft and cannot afford a similar mistake this time around. Although tackle isn’t likely to be the team’s first round priority, the Titans could look to draft at the position as early as Round 2.
The offense suffered a major loss when Jonnu Smith signed with the New England Patriots in free agency. That leaves Anthony Firkser and free-agent signee, Geoff Swain, as the top tight ends on the Tennessee depth chart. The Titans would be wise to draft a tight end with starting potential out of the gates in the NFL Draft. It won’t be a first round pick, but the Titans will likely pull the trigger in the middle rounds.
Titans NFL Draft Needs and Strategy | Defense
The Titans were atrocious at defending the pass last season. While some of that blame certainly falls on a horrendous pass rush (see below), Tennessee’s corners failed to live up to expectations as well. One can certainly make the argument that replacing Malcolm Butler with Janoris Jenkins in free agency was a net gain. However, they also lost Adoree’ Jackson. The Titans also have 2020 second-round pick, Kristian Fulton, on the roster. While he will likely take on a bigger role in his sophomore pro season, things get very dicey at the position after that. The Titans need to prioritize a cornerback in the early rounds. Don’t be surprised to see their Night 1 selection come at the position.
Jadeveon Clowney was a massive disappointment in his lone season as a Titan. Tennessee made no real effort to bring him back, instead opting to go out and sign former Pittsburgh Steelers star Bud Dupree. Paired alongside Harold Landry, the Titans once again appear to have a formidable pass-rushing duo. Lineman Denico Autry figures to boost the unit’s ability to generate pressure as well. That being said, last year’s nonexistent pass rush will likely compel Mike Vrabel and Jon Robinson to add further depth in the NFL Draft. Given that Dupree is coming off a torn ACL, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to bolster the position.
Although this is certainly a Day 3 priority, the Titans would certainly prefer to add some depth at linebacker. With Jayon Brown said to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season, Tennessee would be wise to at least try and have an alternative option lined up. Any rookie they do draft will have a talented trio of veterans to learn under in Brown, Rashaan Evans and David Long.