With the most impactful stage of free agency over – and with few big names left on the board – each team’s needs in the upcoming NFL Draft have become more evident.
The Tennessee Titans made considerable efforts in free agency to shore up glaring, costly defensive deficiencies from last season. Specifically, they addressed their pass rush, which registered the third fewest sacks in the league in 2020, by signing linebacker Bud Dupree and defensive tackle Denico Autry.
Most mock drafts now suggest that the Titans, with the 22nd overall pick, will address their need for a wide receiver – or more than one – in the first round of the NFL Draft. Adam Humphries was cut earlier this month and Corey Davis left in free agency. Tennessee added fourth-year pass catcher Josh Reynolds last week, but still are in need of reliable depth outside of A.J. Brown, who has surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in each of his two NFL seasons thus far.
A few experts predict that Tennessee will bolster its defensive backfield in the first round. The team did sign veteran cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Kevin Johnson, but after parting ways with safety Kenny Vaccaro and cornerbacks Malcolm Butler and Adoree’ Jackson, there is a need for help there.
One other outlet believes that the Titans their first pick on an offensive lineman for the second straight year. It would make sense considering that tackle Isaiah Wilson, who the Titans drafted at No. 29 overall last spring, turned out to be a disaster and is no longer with the team.
Tennessee subsequently released veteran right tackle Dennis Kelly, who started all 16 games that position this past season.
A look at who some national media outlets believe the Titans will select on April 29, when the first round of the draft begins:
Sports Illustrated: Greg Newsome, cornerback, Northwestern
Newsome’s a very solid, smart, all-around football player who came into the process with concern about his overall athleticism. A 40-yard dash some scouts had in the high 4.4s took care of that, and this would address a pretty serious need for the Titans.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper: Kadarius Toney, wide receiver, Florida
With Corey Davis leaving in free agency, this is a really thin wide receiver depth chart behind A.J. Brown. Toney could have a few different suitors in this range, and Ryan Tannehill would love him. Toney could contribute as a dynamic receiver, runner and returner, and new offensive coordinator Todd Downing should get him the ball 10 times a game. Toney will do damage out of the slot: In his career, he averaged 15.6 yards per catch when lined up in of the slot, adding 10 scores.
NFL.com’s Cynthia Frelund: Rashod Bateman, wide receiver, Minnesota
The Titans added Josh Reynolds after losing Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith in free agency, but my model's pass-catching quotient drives adding this versatile wideout.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein: Greg Newsome, cornerback, Northwestern
Newsome's stock has been on the rise after an electric pro day. The Titans need a cornerback, and the highly competitive Northwestern product feels like a perfect fit.
CBS Sports: Kadarius Toney, wide receiver, Florida
They lost Corey Davis to free agency, so adding a speedy replacement would make sense, even if they did add Josh Reynolds in free agency. Toney is a dynamic playmaker who would give Ryan Tannehill another threat to go with A.J. Brown.
Pro Football Focus: Elijah Moore, wide receiver, Ole Miss
Losing Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith in the same offseason should put Tennessee in a prime position to target a wide receiver at No. 22 overall, and Elijah Moore would be a huge value for Ryan Tannehill and company. Moore was one of the most productive receivers in the country for Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss, finishing the 2020 season with the third-highest PFF receiving grade in the country (92.4).
USA Today: Jalen Mayfield, offensive tackle, Michigan
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