In preparation for the 2021 NFL Draft, All Titans will take a position-by-position look at prospects who could be of interest to the Tennessee Titans (and available at pick No. 22 or later) and why.
Overview: The defensive backfield underwent significant retooling this offseason. Among other moves, Tennessee cut Kenny Vaccaro, their starting strong safety from each of the last three seasons, in a salary-cap move. A fourth-round selection in 2019, Amani Hooker took advantage of the time Vaccaro missed due to a concussion this past season, and figures to replace him in the starting lineup. The Titans are in good shape at free safety with Kevin Byard, a Pro Bowler and All Pro. They also have depth with 2018 draft choice Dane Cruikshank and free agent addition Matthias Farley.
Safety clearly is not the most dire need, so it’s not realistic to expect them to select one early. But Mike Vrabel and general manager Jon Robinson will have opportunities to add depth later on in the draft or to try and find the eventual replacement for free safety Kevin Byard, who is entering his sixth season and has a sizable salary cap number over the next four years.
Degree of need: Low
Titans Draft Board: Cornerbacks
Titans Draft Board: Wide receivers
Titans Draft Board: Tackles
DAY ONE OPTIONS
Trevon Moehrig, TCU (6-2, 220): Moehrig will likely be the only safety taken in the first round this year, and many mock drafts suggest he will be on the board when the Titans are on the clock at No. 22. He led all FBS safeties in pass breakups in each of the past two seasons and had seven career interceptions. The Titans’ defense lacked impact play making ability last season, and Moehrig could bring an infusion of that.
DAY TWO OPTIONS
Jevon Holland, Oregon (6-1, 201): Before Holland opted out of the 2020 college football season, many experts pegged him as one of the top defensive backs in his class. In two full seasons at Oregon, Holland intercepted nine passes and defended 18 passes. He finished second in the Pac-12 with five interceptions as a freshman. He played some special teams with the Ducks too as he averaged 15.3 yards per punter return in 2019.
Andre Cisco, Syracuse (6-0, 209): Cisco may have only played in 24 college games over three seasons but made sure that he made the most of those appearances. He constantly found the football and finished his career with 13 interceptions and 14 passes defended. Cisco suffered a lower-body injury that ended his junior season, but it’s hard to ignore the amount of production he had in the small number of games he played in.
Ar’Darius Washington, TCU (5-8, 178): Washington’s size and weight immediately stick out and undeniably will concern teams. However, his fast and aggressive style of play should appeal to Vrabel, who uses that description often when discussing traits he values. Washington had a breakout 2019 season in which he made 46 tackles, defended seven passes and had five interceptions in 2020. He added another 37 tackles and defended five passes this past season. Washington played slot corner on occasion at TCU as well.
DAY THREE OPTIONS
Tyree Gillespie, Missouri (6-0, 210): Gillespie has great size and uses it to his advantage on the field. He plays a downhill, hard-hitting style of football as he recorded nearly 100 tackles over his two seasons as a full-time starter. With his athletic ability, he could become a significant special teams contributor.
Richard LeCounte, Georgia (5-11, 190): LeCounte is another safety in this draft class who makes up for his size with high-impact play-making ability. In 2019, his last season at Georgia, he accounted for half of the team’s 14 forced turnovers (four interceptions, three fumble recoveries).
JaCoby Stevens, LSU (6-2, 230): JaCoby Stevens could be mistaken for a linebacker. He’s a massive, physical safety who can line up at multiple positions, including in the box on rushing downs. He would be a unique addition for the Titans, who don’t have a defensive back of his nature. Plus, he is a from nearby Murfreesboro, Tenn., so his selection would be a popular one with the fan base.