Tennessee Titans fans patiently (or, really, impatiently) waited on the team to add a wide receiver during the 2021 NFL draft, and after nothing for the first two days, general manager Jon Robinson landed his guy in the fourth round by selecting Louisville wideout, Dez Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick wasn’t really on anyone’s radar for the Titans, and especially not in front of some other options that were available, like Oklahoma State’s Tylan Wallace and USC’s Amon-Ra St. Brown.
However, clearly the Titans think highly of Fitzpatrick, as they dealt three picks in order to acquire No. 109 from the Carolina Panthers to take the Louisville product.
While Fitzpatrick’s athleticism doesn’t jump off the screen at you, he was an effective vertical threat in college, sports a reliable set of hands, is a polished route-runner, and can make the contested catch with his impressive 6-foot-2, 202-pound frame, making him a viable red-zone option.
Versatility is also in the 22-year-old’s repertoire. During his days with the Cardinals, Fitzpatrick worked from both the slot and on the outside, which is something he says intrigued the Titans, especially given his size.
Dez Fitzpatrick says the #Titans liked how he played slot and outside at Louisville. Feels he’s a complete WR. Not just a vertical threat. Likes to run underneath routes and intermediate ones. Said he loved Larry Fitzgerald, Dez Bryant. Feels his game is similar to Davante Adams.
— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) May 1, 2021
It’s always hard to project just how a fourth-round rookie receiver will fit in during his first season, but Fitzpatrick figures to have a great chance to soak up some targets as the No. 3 option at receiver thanks to the lack of depth behind A.J. Brown and Josh Reynolds.
Of course, should the Titans add a more experienced, proven receiver (Julio Jones, please) in the days and weeks to come through free agency or trade, Fitzpatrick will get knocked down the depth chart. That could also happen if Fitzpatrick doesn’t develop and show enough during training camp.
However, there is a great opportunity for Fitzpatrick to emerge as one of the top targets behind Brown in 2022 and beyond, as Reynolds is on a one-year deal, and no other receiver currently on the roster figures to have much of a future in Nashville, and certainly not one that includes being a No. 2 target.
In this instance, patience could pay off. Fitzpatrick will have to learn the ropes and earn his stripes in 2021, but he could be the No. 2 option, whether that be out of the slot, on the outside, or both, as soon as 2022.