WIDE RECEIVER Tajaé Sharpe (5th Round, 140th Overall)
Positives: The Titans sent their fourth round pick to the Browns in the Jack Conklin deal, so their first pick on day three of the draft came in round five when they selected receiver Tajaé Sharpe of Massachusetts. Sharpe joined a crowded receiver depth chart that included Kendall Wright, Dorial Green-Beckham, Rishard Matthews, and Andre Johnson, but quickly separated himself from the pack and made an immediate impact.
Fifth round picks are usually envisioned as either depth players or upside players who need a lot of work. Sharpe avoided both of those stereotypes, being named a starter before he had even played his first preseason game. In the preseason, Sharpe ran crisp routes and consistently made impressive contested catches. He also showed a lot of chemistry with Marcus Mariota, something that will certainly serve him well during his career with the Titans.
After getting over a bit of a “rookie wall” to start the season, Sharpe improved and consequently saw more targets every single week. If the Titans select another wide receiver early in the 2017 NFL Draft, which many analysts predict they will do, Sharpe will likely move to a permanent role in the slot, where he should see even greater success.
Negatives: Sharpe has the ability to be a productive receiver in the NFL for a very long time, but his lack of raw athleticism will keep him from ever being a true #1 option. That lack of athleticism, particularly in the speed department, manifested itself throughout last season, as Sharpe struggled mightily at times to gain separation from defenders on all kinds of routes.
Additionally, if you religiously adhere to Pro Football Focus’ grading system, you will be highly disappointed with Sharpe’s putrid 54.7 receiving grade. They aren’t the end-all-be-all, but they typically do an okay job of evaluating players’ effectiveness.