CORNERBACK LeShaun Sims (5th Round, 157th Overall)
Positives: LeShaun Sims of Southern Utah became the second player that general manager Jon Robinson traded up to select. A prototypical man coverage cornerback with ideal size and speed, Sims got his first NFL action as a special teamer, and later replaced Perrish Cox in the starting lineup after his release.
He wasn’t exactly a shutdown corner, but Sims showed during his rookie year that he is more than capable of being a productive starter in Dick LeBeau’s system, which favored man coverage over zone more and more as the 2016 season progressed. In a laughably bad group of defensive backs, Sims provided the occasional bright spot.
Sims’ most memorable play of his rookie season came in Week 15 against the Chiefs when he intercepted Alex Smith in the end zone. Playing man coverage in a Cover One technique, Sims blanketed receiver Jeremy Maclin on a post route and intercepted a pass that really should have never been thrown.
Negatives: It seemed that for every positive contribution Sims made to the Titans’ defense, he also made a negative one. For every good piece of coverage, he was also later torched down the field. For every pass breakup, he was also later badly beaten on a contested catch. For every special teams tackle, he later allowed a big play on defense after missing a tackle.
Sims has plenty of potential, but the Titans shouldn’t count on him being a consistently productive starter in 2017. His lack of ball skills and propensity for being beaten vertically could make him a potential liability. He needs a lot of work.