Tennessee Titans draft capsule
TEAM DRAFT NEEDS
Yetur Gross-Matos (Penn State) is widely projected to be picked in the 20s. The Titans’ first pick at No. 29 might present better options to trade back with teams coveting a specific need, but Gross-Matos has size, athleticism and the ability to play defensive end or tackle.
Jack Conklin left for a big payday with the Browns and the Titans are not shy about spending early picks on offensive tackles. If the season started now, Dennis Kelly would get the call at right tackle.
Jonnu Smith climbed to the No. 1 role with Delanie Walker gone. The Titans use a two-tight-end set frequently and it’s a position often featured in Arthur Smith’s offense. Jared Pinkney played up the road at Vanderbilt and could be worth a second- or third-round gamble.
The surprising trade of Jurrell Casey saved money and netted the Titans assets to make a move up in the draft if they so desire. If Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown should somehow slide after a lackluster combine showing, the Titans would love to be at the front of that line.
Franchise-tagging Derrick Henry could lead to a contract stalemate. Going all in for D’Andre Swift (Georgia) might be too rich, but a second-round investment in the next-best option (Zack Moss of Utah would fit) could pay off.
Harold Landry, 23, could be a free agent as early as March 2022, and Vic Beasley’s conversion to right outside linebacker is an in-progress experiment.
–FIVE-YEAR DRAFT HISTORY
With Marcus Mariota benched in his fifth season, the 2015 draft is completely wiped out, which would normally set a team back. But 2016 brought stars in running back Derrick Henry (second round) and safety Kevin Byard (third), plus right tackle Jack Conklin, who left in free agency. Both 2017 first-rounders appear to be figuring it out, although Adoree’ Jackson is a bit further along than Corey Davis. It helps to have mid-rounders Jonnu Smith and Jayon Brown filling big roles. Tennessee was ultra-aggressive in 2018 and 2019, with several trade-ups leaving only 10 total selections, but there look like several hits in the group. The question is whether Harold Landry or Jeffery Simmons can really blossom as a pass rusher.
Best pick: S Kevin Byard, R3 2016 — Terrific from Day 1, Byard is now the league’s best all-around safety, with excellent physicality and a nose for the ball (17 interceptions).
Worst pick: DE Kevin Dodd, R2 2016 — A productive defensive end at Clemson, Dodd never fit at outside linebacker and battled injuries. He lasted just 18 games.
TOTAL OFFENSE: 362.8 (12th)
RUSHING: 138.9 (3rd)
PASSING: 223.9 (21st)
TOTAL DEFENSE: 359.5 (21st)
RUSHING: 104.5 (12th)
PASSING: 255.0 (24th)