The Tennessee Titans finished last season with an 11-5 record. It was the first season the franchise finished with double-digit wins since 2008. However, the postseason was cut short after a tough loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the first round. Now, Tennessee prepares for the 2021 NFL draft, as the front office aims to improve the roster for next year.
Last season was quite the experience for Titans fans. The offense finished as the best in franchise history, while the defense played as the worst. Mike Vrabel and the front office have made a plethora of moves during free agency in an attempt to improve the defense.
Bud Dupree and Denico Autry should be able to be enough to make the pass rush better. The Titans front seven is looking sharp as the draft approaches. Jeffery Simmons is the anchor this team needs on the defensive line to be competitive. Additionally, the return of Jayon Brown to the inside linebacker position gives the Titans plenty of depth to work with.
As for the offense, the team should play relatively the same. Even with Arthur Smith leaving to become the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, the front office promoted Todd Downing to offensive coordinator. He’ll run the same scheme that has generated success in Tennessee. We should be seeing plenty of Derrick Henry, AJ Brown, and Ryan Tannehill all year. With the offensive line sturdy for the most part, the Titans offense should be able to maintain the high level of play we’ve witnessed the last two years.
The Titans will be in the running for the crown of the AFC South, as the division is top-heavy between them and the Indianapolis Colts. For Tennessee to win their division though, the front office has to ensure they make the right selections during the last week of April. With that said, here are the top three needs for the Titans heading into the 2021 NFL draft.
2021 NFL Draft: Top 3 Needs for Tennessee
With Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith finding new homes this offseason, the Titans’ passing attack has dwindled to AJ Brown. Although he’s a superstar wide receiver in the making, Brown can’t do everything by himself. Anthony Firkser aims to have an increased role, but he’s more of a possession receiver than an exciting playmaker.
So far, the front office has brought in Josh Reynolds. He’s a big-bodied receiver that has played for the Los Angeles Rams the past four years. He hasn’t had a chance to prove his worth yet in the NFL. He signed a one-year prove-it deal and the team hopes he can fill in to Corey Davis’ role smoothly.
At the end of the day, Reynolds is the only new name brought into the receiving core. Adam Humphries was released, and the only other receivers on the depth chart right now have been off and on from the practice squad. It’s nearly a guarantee the front office selects a wide receiver in the draft this year, but the question remains, which one?
With the 22nd pick, it’s possible Tennessee lands one of the top prospects in the draft. It would be hard to imagine the Titans passing up on Rashod Bateman if he were to fall to them. However, considering this is another deep class for receivers, Tennessee could wait and draft a guy later. Elijah Moore is another popular name circulating the Titans’ rumor mill, as he already has a bond with AJ Brown. Either way, drafting a wide receiver is a must for this franchise if they plan to make another playoff appearance next year.
The Titans made some aggressive moves at the start of free agency. They signed some exciting talent to the defense but also released some prominent names. With Malcolm Butler, Kenny Vaccaro, and Adoree’ Jackson all receiving the ax this offseason, the Titans should be searching for another cornerback to boost the secondary.
The coaching staff seems to love Kristian Fulton, as when he was healthy, he was as advertised. Additionally, Tennessee signed Janoris Jenkins, who was a prolific cornerback for the New Orleans Saints last year. However, Jenkins is on the older side, and Fulton has minimal experience in the NFL.
The depth of the cornerback position isn’t terrible, but having another solid player in that group would only help. Jaycee Horn seems to be the fan-favorite, however, it’s plausible the front office elects Caleb Farley. The latter is likely to drop in the 2021 NFL draft, as he’s been dealing with a neck injury that some teams might be afraid of. This is a similar situation that allowed the Titans to select Jeffery Simmons at 18th overall in the 2019 draft.
If it works out, then Tennessee steals a top 10 talent late in the first or second round. Some other names to keep an eye on are Asante Samuel Jr., Ifeatu Melifonwu, and Elijah Molden. Each of them fit Tennessee’s scheme and could provide immediate production in the Titans secondary.
It’s a harsh reality that the right tackle position is still considered a need after the team chose one in the first round a year ago. But here we are. Isaiah Wilson might go down in history as the biggest bust in all of sports. The Titans dished him away to the Miami Dolphins, where Wilson was almost immediately cut after passing his physical.
After a mediocre season, the front office decided to cut ties with Dennis Kelly. They did bring in Kendall Lamm, but he’s not guaranteed a starting spot. With the rest of the offensive line solid, right tackle should not be considered a desperate need. However, this franchise needs to find a long-term answer sooner, rather than later.
The front office is bound to select a right tackle in the 2021 NFL draft, but it’s unsure as to when. One name that has been swimming around the Titans front office is Tevin Jenkins out of Oklahoma State. He seems to have a similar mentality as Taylor Lewan, which could be great for the future of this offense. Having two high-motored tackles on both sides could be exactly what the Titans need to remain competitive. It’s unclear when Jenkins will be drafted, as he’s been projected to be taken anywhere within the first three rounds.
Thanks for reading my article on the Tennessee Titans needs heading into the 2021 NFL draft. For more great content follow me on Twitter @TalksVitale, also, follow @OT_Heroics and @OTH_Fotball for all of your NFL needs.
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