The Curious Draft Of The Tennessee Titans
After the dust of the draft has settled in Nashville, there are some good and some head-scratching reasons why some needs were done, a team meme becomes reality and a couple of insurance policies were drafted as well. The Tennessee Titans are coming off of a year where excelling isn’t putting it lightly. After starting slow and a shift in quarterback from Marcus Mariota to Ryan Tannehill halfway through the season, that lit a shocking run in this team to the playoffs. Also, if we are talking running, we must mention Derrick Henry and how his running game became legendary in the playoffs. If it wasn’t for the performance of the Chiefs, we would be talking about a Super Bowl run we haven’t seen in a while and one that the fans have been craving for a couple of decades now. But the feeling around the team wasn’t of a battle-tested team that took down the best of the NFL in the playoffs but more of a team that isn’t there yet to compete with the best teams on a regular basis in its own division. Remember this is the same team that took out Tom Brady and the Patriots at Foxboro and made one of the most electric offenses in the Ravens, who were led by the league MVP, Lamar Jackson, and made them look mortal! But that is where they are! In the offseason, the deals for Tannehill and Henry were sealed and done and the mission in this draft became very clear. One, get a solid cornerback. Two, get a wide receiver or tight end that can help Tannehill and three, build up your guys on the offensive and defensive lines. For the Titans, they had a pick in rounds 1,2,3 and 5 then the heavy lifting would have to happen in Round 7 as they had three picks in that round alone. Note there was no fourth-round pick as that is the pick that was in the trade that led to Tannehill moving from Miami to Tennessee. First, the team needed to help their cornerback crew and they did that with second-round pick Kristian Fulton from LSU and seventh-rounder Chris Jackson from Marshall. The headliner here is the cornerback from LSU. Fulton has speed in bunches and is a solid addition in the cornerback side of the defense. They need it as that was the area where they got torched in the AFC Championship Game against the Chiefs. They are hoping that Fulton and Jackson are the men to help that issue. Second, they beefed up their pretty good offensive and defensive lines by picking up Isaiah Wilson from Georgia for the offensive line in the first round then Larrell Wilson for the defensive line in the fifth round. The big story here is Wilson. He is 6’7”, 350 pounds, and his job will be protecting Tannenhill‘s backside from getting dirty. Let’s be real here: with how much they are going to pay and where they picked him, the Titans are hoping Wilson can get the job done in this area. Finally that team meme. There was a joke that the Titans would pick another RB in the first round for Tannehill to hand it off to. They were wrong, it was in the third round with them drafting Darryton Evans from Appalachian State. If you are thinking of him as a runner to give Henry a breather, you would be right. He will be there to pound for those short-yardage situations and to allow Henry to be the powerful home run hitter. But also to note: the Titans didn't draft any tight end as well. That is because they drafted a backup for Tannehill with Cole McDonald from Hawaii. Now he won’t be starting but Tannehill has a habit to run hot and cold and the Titans need to have someone ready to go just in case Tannehill goes into a cold spell. Now it is clear that Tennessee did some things that they are hoping will pay off later here in another deep run this year. Was it a stellar draft? It was far from it as I feel that they could have picked a TE with that third-round pick instead of an RB. They could have addressed that need with a third seventh-round pick that the Titans had but instead, they traded it away. I know the Titans have adopted the game style of “Run the ball hard and often” but we have seen that if you stop the run and they have to depend on passing, it is a weak point for them. It has not been addressed at all in this draft or this offseason so far. But it has to be a need that must be addressed and fast. If they address it, we could at long last see that Super Bowl victory parade in the Music City!