Perfect Picks: Tennessee Titans
With the NFL Draft approaching we will be looking at each team and evaluating where they need to improve. In this particular series we will run a seven round mock using the Draft Network Mock machine and find the ‘Perfect Picks’ for each franchise.
We will highlight five players that could help each team. This will include a ‘flex’ pick where we give you two ways a potential pick could go depending on how the board falls. All in all you will get picks 1 and 2, a mid round gem and a late round sleeper.
The Titans were responsible for taking two of the biggest scalps in the AFC during the 2019 playoffs. By beating the Patriots and Ravens it was an unlikely story. Ryan Tannehill, who started the year as a backup, combined with the forceful running back Derrick Henry to propel the Titans to unexpected success. Despite coming up short, re-signing that duo and building in the draft gives Tennessee hope. Especially under the leadership of head coach Mike Vrabel.
Round 1 - Pick 29 - Austin Jackson, OT, USC
The biggest departure the Titans suffered during the free agency period was losing Jack Conklin to the Browns. Despite not becoming an elite tackle, the Titans have had a degree of stability with Conklin and opposite number Taylor Lewan. Picking at 29 means they should have the choice of the second tier of tackles available.
At 6’6 and 310lbs USC’s Austin Jackson is a nice blend of size and athleticism. There are certainly worries regarding his consistency on film. However, the 2019 season didn’t get off to the best start for Jackson. He donated bone marrow to save his sister, throwing his early season off kilter. Certainly not the finished product, but his upside could get him into the first round.
Round 2 - Pick 61 - Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
The Titans cornerback tandem last year was a Patriots reboot in the form of Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler. With Ryan departing, Adoree Jackson should assume a more prominent role but there is a lack of depth to the group.
Love the vision and initial burst here from Miami RB Travis Homer but check out this effort from Virginia CB Bryce Hall. Dude chases him down playing boundary corner on the opposite side of the field. Hall has been one of the most competitive football players I've seen this year. pic.twitter.com/AIwD3kcAfs— Joe Marino (@TheJoeMarino) October 14, 2018
Bryce Hall was a candidate to be a day one selection, but a number of injuries have derailed that. Hall needed his senior season to demonstrate his ability but that was shortened by a broken ankle. Hall will need medical rechecks to allay teams reservations but if they go well then he could see his name called on day two. Hall isn’t an explosive athlete but is savvy in coverage and should fit well in the NFL.
Flex Pick - Pick 61 - Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
The Titans defense is forming into an extremely talented group. Jeffrey Simmons lived up to his billing after returning from injury. Rashaan Evans is a dynamic force at linebacker. One area you can never have too much talent at is edge rusher. Harold Landry and new addition Vic Beasley should give the Titans speed off the edge but they may look to solidify that group.
If you are going purely off production then Curtis Weaver is difficult to beat. The Boise State Bronco amassed 34 sacks in his three year college career. Despite not being body beautiful, Weaver certainly has the knack for locating the signal caller. Don’t expect his sack numbers to spill over into the NFL but he could be a useful piece in a pass rush rotation.
Mid Round Gem - Pick 174 - Jake Hanson, IOL, Oregon
Adding further depth to the offensive line will be important for the Titans in this year’s draft. The interior of the line is a solid group but there is little to be found in reserve. By day 3, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them shopping for the position.
Oregon had one of the best offensive line groups in the nation last year and Jake Hanson was an important part of it. Playing at center for the Ducks Hanson was a physical presence. He graded out as the best pass blocking center in the Pac-12 in 2018 according to PFF. Hanson should have the versatility to play at his college position or at guard at the next level.
Late Round Sleeper - Pick 243 - Khaleke Hudson, LB, Michigan
As alluded to earlier, Rashaan Evans has been extremely successful in the heart of the Titans defense. Paired with Jayon Brown, their linebacker tandem is as solid as any in the league. Behind them Kenny Vaccaro adds the heavy hits at safety while Kevin Byard fills the role as deep lying ball hawk. Michigan’s Khaleke Hudson would be an interesting addition to that group.
Hudson never fully realised his potential as a Wolverine. That’s something that could be said for many of Jim Harbaugh’s team last year. Playing the Viper role, he was a dynamic chess piece. He can pass rush as well as being a physical tackler in the open field. While strong safety could be a stretch for him he certainly offers plenty of versatility and projects as a day one starter on special teams.
Draft in full
29. Austin Jackson (OT)
61. Bryce Hall (CB)
93. Jonathan Greenard (EDGE)
174. Jake Hanson (IOL)
224. Tyler Huntley (QB)
243. Khaleke Hudson (LB)
formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at stripehype.com