Tennessee has the twenty-ninth pick and made it to the AFC final before losing to Kansas City. They were led, offensively, by Derrick Henry’s 1,500 yards rushing and Ryan Tannehill became the quarterback. Their challenge is to take it to the next level.
The Titans have six picks in the draft: a first, second, thirds, no fourth, a fifth, no sixth, and two sevenths.
I list the needs below, including major, for depth, and areas they are unlikely to look at. I may add categories for a particular situation.
Major Needs (No Particular Order):
Wide Receiver: This is a decent group, but don’t have that one star receiver. AJ Brown, a second-round pick last year, had a big year with 52 receptions and a 20.2 average. Corey Davis was a big hope when they drafted him, but he’s been good and not great. Adam Humphries is the slot receiver. Kalif Raymond provides speed and there are others on the roster. Tajae Sharpe left in free agency for Minnesota. It may not be the biggest need, but picking somebody for depth and possibly challenging for s starting role is not the worst thing they could do.
Offensive Line: This was a good line last year, but Jack Conklin’s free agent defection to Cleveland leaves a question mark at right tackle. In addition, right guard was their weak link last year. Taylor Lewan and Rodger Saffold made up a strong left side at tackle and guard, respectively. Ben Jones graded out to be the third best center in football, according to Pro Football Focus. At right guard, Nate Davis had a typical rookie year and hopes to improve this year. Dennis Kelly is currently starting at right tackle after being the swing reserve. Reserves include David Quessenberry, Daniel Munyer, and Jamil Douglas, while Ty Sambrialo was signed from Atlanta in free agency. Kevin Pamphile is unsigned. A pick for depth and to upgrade the right side of the line is very realistic.
Defensive Line: The trading of Jurrell Casey to Denver leaves a hole. DaQuan Jones had a good year at nose tackle and last year’s #1 draft pick, Jeffrey Simmons, has the chance to play a full season. In the mix to fill Casey’s role are Isaiah Mack and St. Augustine alum Jack Crawford, a free agent signing from Atlanta. Also in reserve is Matt Dickerson. Depth has been affected when Austin Johnson left for the Giants in free agency. There is a need for a lineman for depth and potential starting purposes.
Edge Rusher: There is nothing spectacular here – it’s not bad, just adequate. Vic Beasley came over from Atlanta in free agency, where he has not matched the year he had in 2016. Harold Landry had 9 sacks in his second season. Kamalei Correa was re-signed and D’Andre Walker was a fifth-round pick last year. Cameron Wake was released. This would be a position of interest for the Titans.
Cornerback: They have experience with Malcolm Butler and Adoree Jackson, but little depth. The reserves on the roster are Chris Milton, Kenneth Durden, and Kareem Orr. Leshaun Sims is on to Cincinnati in free agency, while Eastern alum Logan Ryan, Tramaine Brock, and Tye Smith are unsigned. A pick should be used here.
Quarterback: Ryan Tannehill became the quarterback last year, replacing Marcus Mariota, who has since been traded to Las Vegas. Logan Woodside is the only backup on the roster and another will be needed, either a veteran free agent or a rookie. That is why I expect them to pick a quarterback somewhere in the draft.
Running Back: The Big horse is Derrick Henry, who rushed for 1,500 yards last season. The backups are Dalyn Hawkins and Shaun Wilson, while Khari Blasingame plays fullback. The Titans released Dion Lewis, who signed with the Giants. A pick for depth may be used.
Tight End: Jonnu Smith is the main tight end, following the release of Delanie Walker. MyCole Pruitt and Manalapan alum Anthony Firkser get their share of playing time. Other reserves are Parker Hesse and Cole Herdman. This position has depth and a “best available player” might make them select here.
Inside Linebacker: This is a solid pair with Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans, their #1 pick in 2018. In reserve, David Long will be a second-year man stepping into a bigger role in reserve. Nick Dzunbar signed in free agency and is also a good special teams player. Nigel Harris is also on the roster. Wesley Woodyard and Daren Bates are unsigned. They may pick for depth.
Safety: Things start with a very good pair in Kenny Vaccaro and Kevin Byard. The depth is OK with Dane Cruikshank and Amani Hooker. Also on the roster is Joshua Kalu. Another area where they could draft for depth.
*Information from various sources, including Pro-Football Reference, Sportac, and ESPN.