Written by: Joseph Yun
With free agency creeping ever so closer day by day, it’s time to look at what the Titans could potentially do in the draft in Sin City. The Titans are one of the teams that are largely in control of what can happen when free agency opens next week.
The Titans were last seen in the AFC championship giving eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City a run for its money. What can they do to build upon that performance and take it to the top of the mountain in 2020?
The franchise tag deadline looming next week after the CBA is voted on by the player’s association, the Titans have a seat at the NFL free agency version of the UN Security Council. They have multiple options on the table and none of them good for the rest of the league potentially.
With all that said, what could the draft look like for them should they make a play for one Thomas Brady and other key free agents?
1.29 Lucas Niang OT TCU
- The Titans need a right tackle if and when Jack Conklin leaves via free agency for riches elsewhere. Niang would slot right in as his replacement perfectly as the team can’t afford to keep all of their free agents. When healthy, Niang is one of the best tackles in all of college football in a pretty deep class nonetheless. He wasn’t healthy in 2019, dealing with a hip issue that knocked him out after several games of playing through the pain.
2.61 Jalen Hurts QB Oklahoma
- Regardless of what happens for the Titans at the quarterback position, whether it be resigning Ryan Tannehill or landing Tom Brady, an heir apparent is needed. Hurts isn’t the most polished passer yet but with a veteran ahead of him, he can sit and learn the pro game. He had a really good Combine and Senior Bowl performance beyond expectations. He’s a consummate pro’s pro and won’t make any waves either.
TRADE (Titans trade 3.93 and 7.220 to the Giants for 4.100, 2021 conditional 5th (turns into a 4th based on record), and 7.215)
- The Giants sensing a run on cornerbacks, decide to trade up to get one for themselves with the selection of Amik Robertson. The Titans, seeing that they don’t have a fourth-round selection due to the Tannehill trade, trade down slightly and pick up a conditional fifth-round selection that could turn into a fourth based on record for the 2021 draft.
4.100 Alex Highsmith EDGE Charlotte
- With the trade, the Titans further fortify their EDGE group with the selection of Charlotte standout Alex Highsmith. He had a good effort at the Shrine Game and had a really good Combine. The team provides some EDGE depth next to Harold Landry. Highsmith would get to learn from one of the best to ever do it in Cameron Wake. He’s a riser up the boards and the fourth round might be too low for him.
TRADE (Titans trade 5.156 + 7.215 to the Bills for 5.149)
- The Titans are a team that’s in the middle of win now and retooling their roster a bit around the edges. They make a trade up and make use of some lower round picks to get their guy.
5.149 Ke’Shawn Vaughn RB Vanderbilt
- With the likelihood that Derrick Henry returns, a capable backup is needed as Dion Lewis failed to impress in his limited touches and could be cut as a result. Vaughn struggled a bit in 2019 as did the Commodores as a whole. He did some good things in Mobile to recover some stock. Still, he’s a capable backup that could start in year two if Henry is tagged and doesn’t return in 2021 long term.
6.188 Dane Jackson CB Pittsburgh
- The Titans pick up an important depth piece here as veteran Logan Ryan stands to leave in free agency. Jackson had an outstanding Senior Bowl, shutting down nearly everyone. Jackson can immediately slot in as the nickel or fourth corner due to the depth at the position for the Titans behind starters Adoree Jackson (no relation) and Malcolm Butler.
7.213 Lynn Bowden WR Kentucky
- I decided to draft Bowden here as the Titans could stand to upgrade the athleticism of the receiver corps behind rookie sensation A.J. Brown and Corey Davis. Bowden famously played quarterback for Kentucky last season due to injuries. He was nigh unstoppable at times even when the entire stadium knew what was coming. He would compete for reps as a slot receiver and can take the top off of any defense. As he proved in 2019, he’s magic with the ball in his hands and OC Arthur Smith loves screen passes like a big guy loves cake.
1. Logan Wilson LB Wyoming
2. Tyre Phillips IOL Mississippi State
3. Noah Togiai TE Oregon State
4. Colton McKivitz OT West Virginia
5. James Smith-Williams EDGE Louisville
6. Carlos Davis IDL Nebraska
- The line of thinking with the UDFA selections is that these players can come in and compete for backup positions. Particularly Wilson as longtime stalwart Wesley Woodyard is starting to show his age and the depth isn’t really developed yet. In McKivitz’s case, he can compete for Dennis Kelly’s swing tackle job (also a free agent). As a whole, I thought about filling the holes on the roster with capable backups and the Titans have a history of unearthing undrafted gems.