Last year the Titans were one game away from making the playoffs. The offense was second rate, at best, and the defense lost some talent but the bones are still there. Can they add enough pieces in the draft to vault into the playoffs?
The Titans have a franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota. Although he has been underwhelming at times, he still has all the tools to be a good quarterback. With that being said, he needs more weapons to work with. Derrick Henry was one of the best running backs in the league the second half of 2018. He looks to take the lead role for good and move Dion Lewis officially to the change of pace role.
Corey Davis is a good receiver but has been wildly inconsistent. I think that he has the ability to become an every game impact player. Adam Humphries was a nice addition for the slot role but outside of him the receivers on the squad are quite pedestrian. Delanie Walker is looking to come back to play his age 34 season. His backup, Jonnu, Smith has potential but needs to learn all the nuances of the game. The offensive line was middle of the pack last year ranking 17th in the league in both run and pass protection.
The Titans run a 3-4 base defensive scheme. They have one of the better nose tackles in the league in Jurrell Casey but the guys playing next to him could use an upgrade. The defensive line was in the bottom third of the league in both run stuff rate and rushing the passer. Both Derek Morgan and Brian Orakpo are free agents but they were aging anyway. So what did they do, they signed 37-year-old Cameron Wake. Although he had a solid season in 2018 they put themselves in the same position.
Harold Landry is somebody they should try to use more this year at outside linebacker, not just in pass rush situations, as he has the talent to be a stud. On the other side they employ Kammalei Correa, at the moment, who has shown solid potential in spurts, but nobody i want to put my money on. The Titans look good at the linebacker position with three talented linebackers. Wesley Woodyard is aging but still playing at a high level and they already drafted his replacement in last year’s draft with Rashaan Evans. Jayon Brown broke out last year and should take the reins as the top linebacker on the team this year.
As for the secondarym, the outside cornerbacks were wildly inconsistent. Malcolm Butler played horrific to start the season after landing a massive contract but showed out in the second half. Hopefully that level of play sticks for him. Logan Ryan was hit or miss every other game and miss more often than we would like.
The slot corner Adoree Jackson is somebody I really like. He played very well in coverage and is one of the better return men in the game. If I were the Titans I would give a little thought to putting him out on offense at receiver if their wideout options do not improve. At safety the Titans are set putting out Kevin Byard at free safety and Kenny Vaccaro at strong safety. So where do we go from here?
Round 1, Pick #19 Dre’Mont Jones, Defensive Line- Ohio St.
Dre’Mont Jones came on as a Freshman and had a great rookie season racking up 50 tackles with four for a loss in 12 games. During his Sophomore year his production cut nearly in half and was far less impressive. Then came his Junior year where we saw that Freshman potential blossom. During his Junior year he posted 43 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks, two passes defended, one interception, one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries and two touchdowns.
Jones has very quick hands and can slap box with the best of them swatting offensive lineman out the way to shed a block. He also has great lateral quickness to find and shoot the gaps. His footwork matches his hand ability and uses fakes and agility to juke lineman. Putting Jones next to Jurrell Casey makes two out of the three-man front great passer rushers and the two should be able to work in harmony together.
Round 2, Pick # Zach Allen, Edge- Boston College
Zach Allen was incredibly productive during his time at Boston College. He was a starter for three years in college and two of those years he played across from soon to be teammate Harold Landry. In those three seasons he put up totals of 197 tackles, 40.5 tackles for a loss, 16.5 sacks, 14 passes defended, two interceptions, one forced fumble and four fumble recoveries. During his Junior season, Allen at defensive end combined for an amazing 100 total tackles, unheard of for the position.
The knock on Allen is his lack of athleticism and bend for the NFL level. Knowing this I think he is the perfect fit or a 3-4 defensive end. He has good size for the position at 6’4 and 281 Lbs. and a motor that does not quit. He normally wins plays with his football IQ and play diagnosis. Allen could fill out the three-man front and make this crew a force to fear.
Round 3, Pick #83 Jakobi Meyers, Wide Receiver- N.C. State
Jakobi Meyers is the forgotten wide receiver out of N.C. State with Kelvin Harmon getting most of the hype. Don’t let that fool you though because this former quarterback can play. Meyers only has two seasons as a starting wideout under his belt as he was recruited as a quarterback but the team already had Ryan Finley. In his two seasons as a starter he had 155 receptions for 1,774 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Was stick’em outlawed in football? You would never know if you watched some of Meyers game tape. There may not be a single receiver in this draft that shows better ability at catching away from his body. When watching tape he makes full extension grabs look routinely easy. With good size at 6’2 and 203 Lbs. Meyers also is not the easiest man to bring down and does well with yards after the catch. He would be a welcome addition to the Titans receiving corps.
Round 4, Pick #121 Sean Bunting, Cornerback- Central Michigan
Sean Bunting is a great cover corner having allowed less than a 39% completion rate when targeted in 2018. He is 6’1 and 195 Lbs which is solid size for a corner and ran a 4.42 second 40 yard dash at the combine. With long arms and fluid hips to mix with that speed, he has a lot of the tools needed to be a successful NFL cornerback.
During his career at Central Michigan he had a total of nine interceptions, five during his Sophomore season. Most of the time you see him running routes better than his opposition. He shows a great understanding of the offensive side of the ball. Bunting could be a nice replacement for Logan Ryan, if not right away it could easily happen mid way through the season.
Round 5, Pick #158 Nate Herbig, Offensive Guard- Stanford
Nate Herbig is exactly what the last half of his last name says…big. He is 6’3 and 335 Lbs. and has great anchor when blocking. For a man his size he actually blocks well at the second level as well and a power zone scheme is something he could play very well in.
Herbig was a First Team All Pac12 selection in 2017 having started games at both guard positions. Injuries hampered his 2018 season but he still managed Second Team All-Conference. He can join this group on the offensive line and be a productive member. Hopefully with a little coaching he can get rid of his deficiencies and be a full-time productive starter.
With only five selections in the 2019 draft the Titans make the most of it. They shore up the defensive line by adding a couple of studs in the first and second round in Dre’Mont Jones and Zach Allen. Those two should pair very nicely with Jurrell Casey to make a three-man front that can attack the quarterback from every angle. In the third round they add a receiver with great hands to give Marcus Mariota another able pass catcher.
In the fourth round they add a great corner, one who I feel can win a starting job from day one in Sean Bunting who is one of the better coverage corners in the draft. With their final pick they grab offensive guard Nate Herbig from Stanford. Hopefully he can help shore up the line, keep Mariota from getting hit, and open up some lanes for Derrick Henry. There were some solid additions here in the draft but the Titans still have some work to do.
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