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 four players that could help each team. All in all you will get picks 1 and 2, a mid round gem and a late round sleeper.
The Titans improved on 2019 by securing the AFC South crown. However, it didn’t help their playoff fortunes as they came unstuck in the wildcard round against the Ravens. They will hope to add enough talent to keep their noses ahead of the up and coming Colts in 2021.
Round 1 - Pick 22 - Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
Jadeveon Clowney signed a one year deal in Tennessee last year but failed to log a sack. It’s yet to be seen if the Titans will try to bring him back in 2021. Outside of that, there is only Harold Landry providing a pass rush off the edge. Georgia’s Azeez Ojulari is a good fit for the 3-4 system and would add a different dimension.
The former Bulldog is likely to divide opinion in draft circles. He is undersized at 6’3 and 240lbs and it shows up in the tape. Ojulari isn’t overly powerful and can be handily dealt with by bigger offensive lineman. Where he does excel is with his hands, Ojulari has a violent release from his blockers. He projects as an outside linebacker who will flash big play ability, whether he can be a constant threat is yet to be seen.
Round 2 - Pick 53 - Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
Penn State’s Pat Freiermuth has been saddled with the ‘Baby Gronk’ comparison throughout his college career. While he may not be the dominant tight end that Gronkowski has been in his NFL career, the similarities are there. Freiermuth won’t be a game changer at the next level but he is physical at the catch point and in the blocking game. He would offer Ryan Tannehill a reliable target in the middle of the field.
The Titans may need help at tight end as they are set to lose Jonnu Smith to free agency. Smith had his most productive year for the Titans in 2020 and contributed 8 touchdowns on the year. While Freiermuth might not be as athletically gifted as Smith he should offer similar ability to win in the red zone.
Mid Round Gem - Pick 126 - Shakur Brown, CB, Michigan State
The Titans could use additional help at the cornerback position. The jury remains out on Adoree Jackson and Desmond King looks set to leave in free agency. While the trio of Jackson, second-year Kristian Fulton and Malcolm Butler should start, adding depth to push the group is important.
In this mock they plump for Michigan State cornerback Shakur Brown. The highlight of Brown’s college career was his ability as a playmaker. Brown hit a rich vein of form midseason bagging a pair of picks in back-to-back games vs Northwestern and Indiana. Brown has an eye for the ball but his aggressiveness can lead to him conceding big plays. It’s unlikely to be a smooth ride if you draft Brown but he can contribute game-changing moments.
Late Round Sleeper - Pick 216 - JaCoby Stevens, S/LB, LSU
Rashaan Evans is one of my favourite NFL players. He combines speed and physicality that NFL linebackers need to thrive in the modern game. Jayon Brown has paired nicely with Evans in the linebacker corps and it would be a knock should they lose him to free agency. LSU’s Jacoby Stevens is a linebacker/safety hybrid who could offer a long-term solution.
Stevens may drop in the draft because he is a tweener. It’s difficult to trust him as a safety in man coverage due to his lack of top end athletic traits. As a linebacker, he finds it difficult to disengage from blocks. His tackling, versatility and special teams value should get him drafted, how he is used from there will be interesting.
Draft In Full:
22. Azeez Ojulari, Georgia (Edge)
53. Pat Freiermuth, Penn State (TE)
85. Alim McNeill, NC State (DT)
100. Seth Williams, Auburn (WR)
126. Shakur Brown, Michigan State (CB)
167. Sadarius Hutcherson, South Carolina (iOL)
187. Riley Cole, South Alabama (LB)
216. JaCoby Stevens, LSU (S/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.