Ranking the Tennessee Titans needs: #3 Cornerback

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 26: Cornerback Morris Claiborne
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 26: Cornerback Morris Claiborne /

The Tennessee Titans need another CB, despite the growth at that position.

While the Tennessee Titans added two really quality starters at cornerback last year, it takes three corners to really be a great defense in this era of pass happy offenses.

At some point growing up we all became familiar with the concept of a base defense being some combination of four defensive linemen and three linebackers, two cornerbacks and two safeties.

However, now more than ever modern teams (so most people except for Mularkey and Robiskie) like to have three talented wide receivers on the field at any given time. The great passing attacks usually find a way to get a great mismatch in at tight end or running aback too.

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So it makes sense that now you need an extra DB on the field to help combat those three WRs right?

Well, with Adoree Jackson showing a lot as a boundary corner as a rookie, and with Logan Ryan looking like a versatile player that can play inside or outside depending on the situation, the Titans are 2/3 of the way there.

Now they need their third musketeer.

Current status of the position

Outside of the top two CBs, this is a  list of other DBs that would be on the field in nickel situations:

-LeShaun Sims

-Tye Smith

-Kalan Reed

-Demontre Hurst

Out of that group, I think that Sims and Reed have the greatest chance of taking the next step in becoming a true CB3.

Based on what the Titans have currently and what they have done in the past, Sims makes the most sense because his size would pair really well with what the Titans need in a 3rd corner. AKA someone who can play on the boundary and match up with bigger WRs.

Cap situation

If you are going to get a cornerback you are going to have to spend with a capital $. A good CB is probably going to cost north of $13 million per year and that is if you aren’t desperate and if you are willing to not try to blow someone away.

As much as I like the potential of Trumaine Johnson, he is just going to be thrown money because of what he has done the last few years and because of his size and athleticism.

Now, there are some CBs who make sense. A guy like Kyle Fuller could be great on this team and if he can be the guy he was this year (which is who he was in college) then you could get a star on your roster.

Another guy you could take a chance on is Morris Claiborne. While he has struggled to stay healthy, a reduced role in the Titans offense could make a ton of sense to both parties.

Claiborne gets to play a full season and the Titans get a top CB who can be really good for 60% snaps per game.

Draft options

This is where Jon Robinson likes to solve his problems. With cheap, young draft picks that he gets to hand pick instead of taking what is left.

Drafttek lists these as the top 11 CBs.

1. Josh Jackson, Iowa

2. Denzel Ward, Ohio State

3. Isaiah Oliver, Colorado

4. Holton Hill, Texas

5. Jaire Alexander, Louisville

6. Kameron Kelly, SDST

7. Carlton Davis, Auburn

8. M.J. Stewart, North Carolina

9. Quenton Meeks, Stanford

10. Tarvarus McFadden, FSU

11. Mike Hughes, UCF

I picked 11 because that is about where you have to get down to when you are looking at guys in the 3rd round. Based on the past five drafts, this is the top CB drafted in the 3rd round by positional ranking:

2017: 11th

2016: 11th

2015: 10th

2014: 7th

2013: 10th

Now, there are still a bunch of quality CBs after that. Guys like Donte Jackson, Duke Dawson, Anthony Averett, etc.

But that means if you are waiting until the 3rd round to take a CB you better be willing to live without one of those CBs.

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What should they do?

Outside of free agency and the draft there is another option. Aqib Talib is being shopped around according to rumors. Now, just how badly do the Broncos want to trade Talib? Are they willing to take a 4th round pick?

If not, I don’t see a deal making sense based of what Robinson has done in the past.

It is tough to figure out the “right” option here. Clearly it is a need based off what teams did to the Titans last year, however the price for a quality guy is just astronomical.

However, there is no guarantee that you are even going to get a super productive CB even if you spend those resources based off recent history.

I am going to say that I would probably try my best to get a guy like Claiborne or Fuller at around $8 million per year and if I couldn’t do that I would have to stomach taking a CB in the 3rd round or later.

There are just too many needs else where to spend a 1st or 2nd round pick at CB unless it is a BPA situation (which almost never happens at EDGE/CB/QB no matter what people say).

This is a position that the Titans are going to have to lean heavily on coaches to mask or improve throughout the offseason and preseason if this team is going to take that next step.