The Tennessee Titans put together a nice draft class this past weekend, but it is one that comes with a bit of risk. Tennessee's first-round selection of Caleb Farley is what will define this class, as he enters the league with injury concerns, but could end up being the top cornerback of this group. The Titans also seemed to score a solid addition in pass-rusher Rashad Weaver in the fourth round, but he's already dealing with some off-field issues that have put his future in jeopardy. All that to say, this class could end up being really good, or not so good.
Tennessee did a solid job addressing needs, as it drafted two cornerbacks with huge potential in Farley and Elijah Molden, selected a legit offensive tackle in Dillon Radunz and also drafted an inside linebacker in Monty Rice who loves to tackle and can provide some depth behind Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans. CBS Sports' Pete Prisco wasn't too high on the Titans' draft, as he gave it a "C+" grade. Whether you agree with his mark or not, everyone could probably agree there are a couple of things the Titans could have done in the draft that would have made it better.
Below, we are going to discuss one thing the Titans didn't do in the 2021 NFL Draft, and also break down one thing they definitely got right.
Mishandled WR additions
My plan for the perfect Titans draft included selecting multiple wide receivers, but I'm not thrilled with how the draft played out. Tennessee waited until its fifth pick to take a wide receiver in Dez Fitzpatrick out of Louisville, and also took Racey McMath from LSU in the sixth round with their second-to-last pick. Fitzpatrick has good size, the ability to make adjustments when the ball is in the air and averaged 19.4 yards per catch in his senior season, but analysts were divided when it came to his draft position and his potential at the next level. As for McMath, he's pretty raw and didn't catch more than 17 passes in a single season at LSU. Tennessee's coaching staff is confident it can turn him into a legitimate player, but there were other prospects available who had more experience in college. I had my eye on Dazz Newsome out of North Carolina, for example.
The first issue I had with the Titans' game plan at the receiver position was the trade down from No. 85 overall. In return for moving down seven spots, the Green Bay Packers gave Tennessee a fourth-round pick. With that No. 85 overall pick, the Packers selected Clemson wide receiver Amari Rodgers. The Titans could have used an All-ACC player who put up 1,020 receiving yards and seven touchdowns last year, but instead took the linebacker Rice seven picks later and Weaver in the fourth round -- whose future is already in jeopardy.
I'm happy to have Fitzpatrick on roster, but is it possible the Titans reached? Additionally, did the Titans have to give up a fifth-round pick and a seventh-round pick to move up to select him? CBS Sports NFL Draft Writer Ryan Wilson had the Titans selecting Fitzpatrick in his seven-round mock draft, except he had them taking the Louisville product nearly 100 picks later in the sixth round. The Titans could have done better with how they utilized their trades. They also could have taken their first receiver higher than they did. It wouldn't be fun to see Rodgers turn into a star in Green Bay.
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Titans filled holes on defense
If the Titans want to make a Super Bowl run, the defense has to improve and I think they did a solid job of addressing that in the draft. The cornerback position was a huge need for this team, as the Titans released Malcolm Butler and Adoree' Jackson this offseason. The Titans ranked fourth-worst in passing yards allowed per game and also had the worst third-down defense in the league last year. Farley will be an immediate starter and Molden is an aggressive slot player who seems to always be around the ball. I even liked the flier on Brady Breeze out of Oregon with Tennessee's last pick. I think the Titans scored on most of these defensive selections, and it's something that is going to help this team as a whole improve in 2021.