The Tennessee Titans came away from the 2021 NFL Draft with a solid talent haul, according to most experts. But apparently, not as good as other teams around the league.
That much was evident in another set of opinions released frequently by national media outlets: power rankings. The Titans were a borderline top-10 team the last time pundits released their power rankings. In wake of the draft, they fell outside of the top 10 in almost every outlet surveyed, with their lowest ranking being No. 21, and their highest at No. 7.
The Titans fell in the power rankings in part to their offense.
During free agency and especially the draft, general manager Jon Robinson bolstered a defense that struggled in numerous areas in 2020. By comparison, the offense was neglected. Wide
receiver Corey Davis and tight end Jonnu Smith left in free agency. Robinson waited until day three of the draft to address offensive skill positions. He traded up in the fourth round for Louisville’s Dez Fitzpatrick, and later took LSU’s Racey McMath (sixth round).
A look at where national media outlets ranked the Titans in post-draft power rankings and what they had to say about the team:
Sports Illustrated: 13th (last ranking: 9th)
“The Titans took a swing on Caleb Farley in the first round, which will pay huge dividends if his back is healthy and he’s the player he’s been before. OC Arthur Smith is gone, but Todd Downing has likely received the top-secret game plan that reads: “Give the ball to Derrick Henry.”
NFL.com: 12th (last ranking: 11th)
“ Should there be concern with the Titans on offense? Tennessee has been a juggernaut on that side of the ball in recent years, but that was before offensive coordinator Arthur Smith left for a big chair in Atlanta and No. 2 wideout Corey Davis got the bag from the Jets. Any offense that has Ryan Tannehill , Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown will enjoy dynamic days, but it's fair to wonder if the unit will take a step back considering the loss of personnel. General manager Jon Robinson didn't seem too concerned during the draft: He didn't use a pick on an offensive skill player until he snagged Louisville wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick in the fourth round.”
CBS Sports: 21st (last ranking: 11th)
“Every year we pick them in this area, then they somehow find their way into the playoffs. They will again be a tough, feisty team. Have they done enough to improve the defense?”
Bleacher Report: 7th (last ranking: 9th)
“In 2019, the Tennessee Titans rolled the dice on a talented player coming off a serious injury in Round 1. That gamble paid off, as Jeffery Simmons has already become one of the league's better young defensive tackles. They went back to that well in 2021.
It isn't hard to see what spurred the Titans to draft Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley with the No. 22 overall pick. If he recovers fully from back surgery, Farley has the talent to be the No. 1 corner in this draft class. And after losing Malcolm Butler and Adoree' Jackson in free agency, Tennessee had a glaring need in the defensive backfield.
That wasn't the only area of need that the Titans hit this offseason. The loss of Corey Davis was (hopefully) offset by the Day 3 selection of Louisville's Dez Fitzpatrick and LSU's Racey McMath. Tennessee also bolstered its pass rush by signing Bud Dupree in free agency.
The Titans have advanced to the playoffs each of the past two seasons, and they should be right in the AFC South mix again in 2021.”
USA Today: 9th (last ranking: 8th)
“Second-rounder Dillon Radunz should solve their right tackle problem while rookie CBs Caleb Farley (Round 1) and Elijah Molden (Round 3) should enable this defense to get off the field on third down more effectively. The only unresolved issue is finding a receiver to make defenses pay for double covering WR A.J. Brown.”
Sporting News: 15th (last ranking: 13th)
“The Titans lost some key offensive pieces and had to make some defensive changes on every level. For now, Mike Vrabel's team falls into more wild-card level again behind the Colts.”
TheScore.com: 12th (last ranking: 12th)
“The Titans are regularly one of the NFL's biggest draft risk-takers, so it wasn't a surprise to see them select cornerback Caleb Farley. If Farley and second-round offensive tackle Dillon Radun can fill Tennessee's most pressing needs from Day 1, the team's spot in the AFC's second tier is solidified.”
ProFootballNetwork.com: 17th (last ranking: 18th)
Will Tennessee lead the NFL in turnover differential again next year? Most likely not. They’ve also lost some key pieces on offense, including Arthur Smith. But Tennessee’s pass defense does look to be very much improved.