Updated: Apr 21, 2020
The NFL draft is just 2 days away and it will be the first taste of sports since all major sports leagues were postponed indefinitely on March 11th. The draft is one of the most exciting events of the NFL season and it can have a huge impact on how teams perform in the future. The Titans are picking 29th in the first round and also have the 61st, 93rd, 174th, 224th, and 243rd picks. Some relatively recent 29th overall picks that made major impacts are WR Hakeem Nicks, C Nick Mangold, and S Harrison Smith.
In this draft, many people believe the class is very deep at both WR and OT. In past years, Titans’ GM Jon Robinson has balanced drafting for talent and drafting for need and this year will likely be similar. After not resigning Logan Ryan, trading Jurrell Casey, releasing Dion Lewis, and not resigning both Jack Conklin and Marcus Mariota, the Titans main positions of need are CB, DE, RB, and QB. Unless someone that Robinson has very high on his board falls to 29, I think the Titans will select one of those 4 positions.
Some of the biggest CB and DE names that could fall to 29 are Kristian Fulton, CB from LSU, Jeff Gladney, CB from TCU, Trevon Diggs, CB from Alabama, Marlon Davidson, DE from Aubrun, and Yetur Gross-Matos, DE from Penn. State.
Backup Running Back and Quarterback are very important positions that many people underrate. I think both of those positions will be filled later in the draft though I think the Titans drafting a RB is much more likely than drafting a QB. I would also not count out a WR because of the depth of this draft.
Many analysts argue that the Titans need a tackle after not resigning Jack Conklin, but this is not the case. In place of Conklin is Dennis Kelly who signed a a 3 year, $18m contract extension this offseason. I think Jon Robinson trusts Dennis Kelly and will not be taking a tackle early.
As the excitement for the draft grows, every analyst and network releases mock drafts, guessing which players teams will take. Nearly all of these Mock Drafts are far off and are just guesses. Last year, the 4 big draft analysts picked just 9 of the 32 first round picks correctly. Despite the unreliability of mock drafts, it is worth looking at who some of the top analysts project the Titans will take.
Some of the most common names are DE Yetur Gross-Matos from Penn. State, CB Jeff
Gladney from TCU, and OT’s like Austin Jackson from USC and Josh Jones from Houston. Gross-Matos is fast, agile, and can get to Quarterbacks quickly. He is 6”5, 266lbs and could be a replacement to Jurrell Casey. Jeff Gladney is 5”10 and recorded a 40 yard dash of 4.48 which ties the average of all cornerbacks. Gladney may have trouble with bigger Receivers but would be useful against someone like T.Y. Hilton or Will Fuller.
Some players I like that could fall to the Titans in later round include RB James Robinson from
Illionois State, RB Eno Benjamin from Arizona State and DE Bryce Sterk from Montana State. Robinson is 5”10 and he seeks contact when he has the ball. He recorded 1,899 yards and 18 TD on 364 carries in 2019. Benjamin is 5”9 and is very agile which would provide a major change of pace from Derrick Henry. Sterk is not talked about much though he recorded 15 sacks last season. Sterk is 6”5 and could be available in later rounds if the Titans pass on a DE earlier on. In addition to all these possibilities, GM Jon Robinson could trade out of the first round to acquire more picks.
This year, the Titans' draft could go in so many ways. There are many positions of need that were not addressed in free agency and the draft seems like the perfect place to fill these spots. I trust that Jon Robinson will make all the right decisions for the Titans organization.