(Mandatory Photo Credit: Jerry Lai / USA Today Sports)
Written by: Joseph Yun
It’s time of year again where I pontificate/exhort/predict what the Tennessee Titans could / would do in the draft! I put on my Jon Robinson hat and be the Titans GM for a day or several. What could the local team from Nashville do in the 2022 NFL Draft? Who will join the reigning AFC South, title holders?
TRADE: Titans trade 1.26, 7.204, and a 2023 fifth-round pick swap plus a 2023 seventh-round selection to the Detroit Lions for 1.32, 3.66
FWIW, the Lions selected Michigan EDGE Aiden Hutchinson with the second overall selection and Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam at 26. They also selected Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder with the 34th selection.
1.32 Kenny Pickett 6’3 217 QB Pitt
- Yes, the Titans still have Ryan Tannehill as the well-established incumbent with the massive salary cap hit (an eye-watering $38 million). The way he ended the 2021 season was less than ideal and left an extremely bitter taste in everyone’s mouths, Jon Robinson included. He can be moved onto different pastures for a cost-effective $9.6 million dead cap while saving $27 million if designated a post 6/1 release. Pickett was the most explosive quarterback in the class (production-wise) with a senior season for the ages. He enters Nashville with a chance to redshirt behind Tannehill and take over in 2023 with a still contending team like Trey Lance did in 2021. The hand size is an issue, however, but not that big of a deal given Nashville’s climate. He’s underrated as a runner and had a rule named after him. While he isn’t Lamar Jackson, he can run a little bit and has an above-average arm that can make nearly every throw.
2021 Stats: 334 / 497 (67%), 4,319 yards, 42 touchdowns, seven interceptions. 97 attempts for 241 yards and five touchdowns
JY Big Board: Second
Round Projection: First to Second
3.66 Dylan Parham 6’2 311 iOL Memphis
- Parham would allow for current projected left guard Dillon Radunz to slide out to tackle where he is most natural. The former Memphis Tiger lineman can also play tackle in a pinch. He’s undersized so a future as a center Ben Jones heir after playing guard could be in the offing. Realistically, he could provide competition at guard for Radunz (if the staff is insistent on that he plays guard for whatever inane reason and/or Aaron Brewer after the expected departure of Rodger Saffold. He’s a smooth athlete at all levels of the field. Trai Turner is his player comparison.
JY Big Board: Fourth iOL
Round Grade: Third to Fourth
3.90 Khalil Shakir 5’11 196 WR Boise State
- Tennessee needs depth in the receiver room after star wideout A.J. Brown and Robert Woods (who is coming off of a torn ACL) and Shakir is that. He’s a really good athlete that led the Broncos offense almost solo at times. The former Boise State receiver had a solid offseason where he answered a lot of questions surrounding his athleticism by testing well. While he probably won’t be a WR1, he can be a solid WR2 or 3 in time with some development.
2021 Statistics: 77 receptions for 1,117 yards and seven touchdowns
JY Big Board: 16th
Round Grade: Fourth
4.131 Terrel Bernard 6’0 224 LB Baylor
- Bernard was a tackle monster for the Bears and made most of the defensive calls for Dave Aranda’s defense. He’s a vivacious athlete who can chase receivers and running backs out of the backfield. The size is a concern but he does make an effort to get around blockers. Versatile linebacker who was a chess piece all over the field. He compares physically to Kwon Alexander. He would depth to a linebacker room that includes highly enriched duo Bud Dupree, Harold Landry, and emerging stars like David Long along with Zach Cunningham.
2021 Statistics: 103 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, four passes defensed
JY Big Board: 12th
Round Grade: Fifth
5.143 Zachary Carter 6’4 282 DL Florida
- Carter is a versatile inside-out player who can be the backup version of Denico Autry. He adds value to the defensive line group where depth is needed. He prospered during his senior season. The versatility will help the Titans shore up a defensive line that’s full of stars but is somewhat unproven behind them. He can be the part-time swing guy who floats between edge and tackle.
2021 Statistics: 31 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks
JY Big Board: 8th IDL
Round Grade: Fourth
5.169 Daniel Bellinger 6’4 253 TE San Diego State
- Bellinger was underused as a receiver for the Aztecs but he does have the physical traits to be a TE2. A domineering run blocker with an attitude (which Mike Vrabel will love). He’s an athletic tight end who tested very well. Not the most proficient route runner out there but is serviceable at it. He would be an upgrade over backup tight end Geoff Swain who somehow finagled $3.5 million from the Titans this offseason.
2021 Statistics: 31 receptions for 357 yards and two touchdowns
JY Big Board: N/A
Round Grade: Fifth to Sixth
6.204 Ty Chandler 5’11 204 RB North Carolina
- The former Tennessee Volunteers running back returns home after a prosperous sojourn into the Tar Heel State. He was monstrous at the Combine, showing well during the testing and on-field drills. Chandler was productive, going for over 1,300 total yards from scrimmage behind an average at best North Carolina offensive line. The Titans running back room isn’t in the best of shape behind all-world nightmare Derrick Henry so he would provide a solid receiving back option for a team that needs one.
2021 Statistics: 182 attempts for 1,092 yards and 13 touchdowns; 15 receptions for 216 yards and one touchdown.
JY Big Board: 14th
Round Grade: Fifth to Sixth