The Tennessee Titans are coming off of a season in which they won the AFC South for the first time since 2008, but there is still some work to do on the roster. Tennessee made a splash in free agency by inking pass-rusher Bud Dupree to a lucrative multiyear deal, but the Titans also lost Jonnu Smith, Corey Davis and three out of their four starters in the secondary this offseason. Tennessee has made a couple of solid additions in free agency, but the real opportunity to add talent is coming up later this month.
The 2021 NFL Draft is quickly approaching, and this is where true contenders are built. Instead of just repeating as division champs, the Titans could potentially get back to the conference championship game if they dominate the draft. The Titans will of course look to fill needs and find value in all seven rounds of the draft, but there are certain issues that are more important than others. Below, we will map out three objectives the Titans must accomplish if they want to pull off the perfect 2021 NFL Draft.
Here's where you can purchase an officially licensed Titans NFL Draft hat and other Titans merchandise, some at 65% off.
Make cornerback a priority
The Titans have needs at wide receiver, offensive tackle and tight end, but cornerback is the most important to me. Tennessee released Malcolm Butler and Adoree' Jackson this offseason, which means second-year corner Kristian Fulton is slated to be the new No. 1. I like the addition of the veteran Janoris Jenkins, but that doesn't exactly solve the problems in the secondary. Tennessee's pass defense took a noticeable dip in 2020. The Titans ranked fourth-worst in passing yards allowed per game and also had the worst third-down defense in the league. In my hypothetical Titans seven-round mock draft, I selected former Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome II with the No. 22 overall pick. He or Caleb Farley -- if he falls that far -- would be a solid pick in my opinion. Taking a cornerback early in the 2021 NFL Draft is not a cure-all for the secondary, but it puts the Titans on the right track for the future and could pay dividends early on.
Draft multiple wide receivers
I like the signing of Josh Reynolds, but the Titans could clearly upgrade the wide receiving corps. Thankfully, this class of incoming wide receivers is talented and deep. In my mock, I took former Ole Miss wideout Elijah Moore in the second round -- who A.J. Brown campaigned for on Twitter. He caught 86 passes for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns last season for the Rebels in just eight games. I then took Anthony Schwartz out of Auburn in the fifth round, who ran a 10.09 100-meter dash as a freshman -- which was the best in the world at that time. Even if that second wide receiver is taken later in the draft, that's completely fine. In my colleague Josh Edward's seven-round mock draft, there's intriguing talent expected to be available in the sixth and seventh rounds such as Josh Palmer out of Tennessee or Illinois' Josh Imatorbhebhe.
The Titans offense clearly runs through Derrick Henry, but we can't expect him to rush for 2,000 yards again in 2021. Ryan Tannehill lost his No. 2 wideout and his versatile tight end. This wide receiving corps needs to be revamped.
Take a tight end with starting potential
The Titans should address the offensive line and take a linebacker in the 2021 NFL Draft, but I want Tennessee to look into this tight end class. The teams that have played in the Super Bowl recently have had legitimate star tight ends, and the Titans don't even have a real starter at this point. Unfortunately, this incoming class of tight ends is not seen as incredibly elite, and CBS Sports NFL Draft writer Chris Trapasso actually ranked it as the worst position group in the draft. We know Florida's Kyle Pitts is a star, but maybe there are some other players who could surprise people at the next level. In my hypothetical Titans mock draft, I selected Tony Poljan out of Virginia. He was a quarterback at Central Michigan, but transitioned to tight end and then transferred to Virginia for a year. What's intriguing about Poljan is that he is 6-foot-7, athletic and an incredible red-zone target. He's someone who can hopefully replace Smith at tight end. In 10 games for the Cavaliers, he caught 38 passes for 411 yards and six touchdowns.
Here's the prospects CBS NFL Draft writer Josh Edwards has the Titans taking in his mock draft:
|Round (overall pick)||Prospect (position)||College|
Jamin Davis (LB)
Hunter Long (TE)
Ar'Darius Washington (S)
James Hudson III (OT)
Benjamin St-Juste (CB)
Tamorrion Terry (WR)
D'Ante Smith (OT)
Patrick Johnson (EDGE)
Ben Skowronek (WR)