Of all the Tennessee Titans’ 2021 draft picks to play in the preseason, slot cornerback Elijah Molden shined the most thanks to what he did both pre- and post-snap.
In preseason Week 2, Molden tallied an impressive sack by going under a pair of Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive linemen, while also adding a tackle on a screen pass that displayed his ability to make lightning-quick reads.
In preseason Week 3, Molden showed his football IQ and ability to learn the defense quickly after he was spotted giving pre-snap instructions and signals, and was sending cornerbacks in motion with Chicago Bears receivers.
When you add it all up, it’s clear that the game is already slowing down for Molden, and his knowledge of the defense is far ahead of schedule.
“In practice we really push the tempo, and usually when we get out there, whenever we play it, everything happens a lot slower, so you’re able to see everything pre-snap and kind of make adjustments as you go,” Molden said after practice on Monday. “But I think that just comes with more reps and getting comfortable, confident.”
Molden says that his time in college at Washington has also helped his transition to the NFL.
“At Washington, the defense runs through the nickel, so I was comfortable communicating,” he explained. “And it’s similar here, but like I said I think that just comes with confidence; making a couple of plays and the next thing you know you’re able to see the bigger picture of the defense,” he explained.
Should he win the slot corner job — we project he will — Molden will be called to blitz, something we saw him do in preseason Week 2. The rookie looked good already, but still wants to improve that part of his game.
“It’s something that I’m definitely looking to improve on and we do a good job coaching it up here,” Molden said of blitzing. “I think it’s just a different way to disrupt the offense, which I’m all about.”
Molden has already begun drawing comparisons to former Titans defensive back Cortland Finnegan. The third-round pick sees that as a compliment, but believes it partly stems from them looking similar to one another.
“I remember him, scrappy nickel from back in the day — not too long ago — but it doesn’t help that we look alike, too,” Molden joked. “He’s one of the best DBs to come through here in recent years.”
After what we’ve seen of Molden in the last two exhibition contests, there is plenty to be excited about. He should play a significant role for Tennessee right out of the gate when the 2021 campaign begins.
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