The Tennessee Titans are just weeks away from an important draft. An offense that’s led by the talents of Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown has lost some important secondary pieces this offseason. The departures of Jonnu Smith, Corey Davis and Adam Humphries has left the team incredibly top-heavy on that side of the ball. The signing of Josh Reynolds helps some, but the Titans need more at the receiver position.
At tight end, Anthony Firkser and Geoff Swaim are currently the guys. They offer different skill-sets. Firkser is a glorified receiver that hasn’t done much blocking in Tennessee. On the other hand, Swaim is an excellent run blocker that offers little in the passing game. Both of these positions should be addressed during this month’s draft.
Titans fans don’t want to hear it, but offensive tackle could be viewed as a need as well. Isaiah Wilson obviously didn’t work out. He was chosen to be the heir apparent to Dennis Kelly. With Kelly also no longer in the picture, the Titans are down to free agent signing Kendall Lamm and the returning Ty Sambrailo at right tackle. If they go into camp with those two players at the position, it’ll be a true battle for the starting job. Both players have been career backups for the most part. For that reason alone, you would be silly to rule out a right tackle early.
General manager Jon Robinson has uprooted things on the other side of the ball. It’s tough to blame him after watching the defense perform in 2020. Kenny Vaccaro, Adoree Jackson and Malcolm Butler are gone. DaQuan Jones remains unsigned. Other players such as Desmond King, Nick Dzubnar, Joshua Kalu, Matt Dickerson, Chris Milton and Jack Crawford have either already departed or are expected to sign elsewhere. Bud Dupree, Janoris “Jackrabbit” Jenkins, Denico Autry and Kevin Johnson have been the big acqusitions here. As things stand, all four players are set to play big roles for the team in 2021.
The Titans have four picks in the Top 100, or the first three rounds. It’s imperative that the Titans find some immediate contributors with these picks. Some positions could use starters, whereas others need depth and rotational players.
It’s my professional opinion that the top five needs on the roster currently live in no particular order at WR, CB, OT, EDGE and TE. I’ll be a bit surprised if the their first four picks don’t address four of these five positions.
Without furder ado, here are the picks I made, using The Draft Network’s Mock Draft Machine.
Round 1 (No. 22 overall): Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Notable players I passed on: Azeez Ojulari, Travis Etienne, Najee Harris, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Zaven Collins.
Why I choose Paye: The Titans would be in a tough spot if the board fell this way. In the four picks before this one, the players selected were Greg Newsome, Elijah Moore, Rashod Bateman and Teven Jenkins. I would have selected any one of those players at 22nd overall, but things didn’t fall that way. Trading out would be ideal for the Titans if this is what the board looks like when they come on the clock. For the sake of keeping this mock a bit more realistic, I didn’t do that. Paye is a big-bodied EDGE rusher that would allow Dupree and Harold Landry to catch their breath once in a while. Paye is an athletic freak that can really get after the quarterback. He’s also a good run stopper that does a great job setting the edge. He should be able to get on an NFL field quickly, and would be the perfect compliment as the team’s No. 3 rusher.
Round 2 (No. 53 overall): Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
Notable players I passed on: Rondale Moore, Gregory Rousseau, Amari Rodgers, Joseph Ossai and Jalen Mayfield.
Why I choose Leatherwood: I can see a few of you shaking your head, but to reiterate, it would be silly to dismiss the need here just because Isaiah Wilson left a bad taste in your mouth. A player like Leatherwood would come in and compete for the starting job at right tackle immediately. Leatherwood is an aggressive blocker that would pair well with Nate Davis on the right side of the offensive line. Derrick Henry would enjoy running behind a road grader such as Leatherwood.
Round 3 (No. 85 overall): Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
Notable players I passed on: D’Wayne Eskridge, Chazz Surratt, Josh Myers, Quincy Roche and Kenneth Gainwell.
Why I choose St. Brown: If the Titans pass on selecting a wide receiver with their first two selections as I’ve done here, a good portion of the fan base is going to worry about the position. But if a player like St. Brown is there in the third round, the Titans should rush to the podium. St. Brown has the versatility to line up outside or in the slot in the Titans’ offense. He can also return kicks and punts. I love the fit here. St. Brown is a good route runner that does excellent work after the catch. He would be a terrific fit in this offense.
Round 3 (No. 100 overall): Trill Williams, CB, Syracuse
Notable players I passed on: Kellen Mond, Kyle Trask, Jay Tufele, Trey Sermon and Ben Cleveland.
Why I choose Williams: This is one of my favorite players in the entire draft class. I don’t believe Williams is getting the credit and hype he deserves. Syracuse moved Williams all over their defense. He played both outside cornerback positions, lined up in the slot and even saw some time at safety. Williams is tough, long, explosive, athletic and physical. He’s a versatile defensive back that can play at a variety of spots.
How did I do? Let me know in the comments.