What are the Tennessee Titans true offseason needs

STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 27: T.J. Hockenson #38 of the Iowa Hawkeyes fumbles against Amani Oruwariye #21 and Nick Scott #4 of the Penn State Nittany Lions on October 27, 2018 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 27: T.J. Hockenson #38 of the Iowa Hawkeyes fumbles against Amani Oruwariye #21 and Nick Scott #4 of the Penn State Nittany Lions on October 27, 2018 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Let’s talk about what the Tennessee Titans actually need to acquire this offseason.

There are two misconceptions going around involving the Tennessee Titans and their plan for the 2019 NFL Draft.

The first is easy enough to clear up. Since becoming the Tennessee Titans GM Jon Robinson has always drafted a player in the 1st round that could be considered a need player.

What I mean by that is that when he drafted a player, they were expected to come in and win a starting job immediately and see 100% of the snaps or very close to it. Let’s go year by year:

2016: Jack Conklin RT

The Tennessee Titans scouted and drafted Jack Conklin with the intent on playing him at right tackle. They didn’t try to get the “best player” in a vacuum which many (incorrectly) considered to be Laremy Tunsil.

Jon Robinson looked at the need he had in front of him opposite Taylor Lewan at left tackle and he found a player that he believed could play that position at a high level in the offense that was currently being run in Tennessee.

2017: Corey Davis WR

The Tennessee Titans spent the 2016 season parting ways with Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter and Dorial Green-Beckham, three players that the previous regime had spent top-50 picks on in recent drafts.

There was a vacuum of talent that needed to be filled and there was an opportunity for a high draft pick to come in and immediately play. The most NFL ready and talented player they had on the board at WR was Corey Davis so they pulled the trigger.

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2017: Adoree Jackson CB

While Logan Ryan was a new addition, the Tennessee Titans were recovering from a 2016 season where the starting CBs were Jason McCourty, Perrish Cox, Brice McCain, and Antwon Blake.

It was going to take more than one cornerback to fix that position so the Titans went out and added the best fitting CB in free agency to give them a boost.

With WR and CB in nearly in the same shape, the Titans decided that the CB class was deeper and pulled the trigger on Corey Davis at five feeling confident that there would be options late in the first and there were.

2018: Rashaan Evans LB

Say what you want about Avery Williamson, but the man played a LOT of football for the Tennessee Titans at linebacker. When the Titans let him walk in free agency, the starters were slated to be Wesley Woodyard and Jayon Brown.

Now, knowing what we know now about Jayon Brown you could argue that this wasn’t a need but try to think about it from the perspective of a DC. The Titans thought that they lacked a player with the durability and physicality to play in the middle of a defense as an every down linebacker.

Seeking to fill the Avery Williamson role with a more athletic and versatile player, Rashaan Evans was the last of the linebackers that they felt comfortable taking over that responsibility. When they found out Pittsburgh was going to trade up for him, they made a better offer and landed the last ILB they had a first round grade on.

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What does that mean for 2019 and what are the Titans needs?

This lays out a very clear pattern. Sure, Robinson would love to be in the position to sit back and take a tight end who could be great in a few years, or an offensive tackle that would only appreciate in value. However, his draft strategy is very clear and this team isn’t in a position where they can afford to do that.

I feel very confident in saying that the Tennessee Titans are going to draft to fill a need with their first round pick, the only questions are which need and are they going to pick at 19 or move up or down?

As I see it, there are only three players that will need replacing on this roster.

1. Brian Orakpo/Derrick Morgan’s EDGE position

-Harold Landry is going to take over one of those positions in 2019, in fact he actually out snapped both of them with 592 snaps. Despite that, the Titans still have over 1,000 snaps to fill at EDGE and that screams need to me.

2. Quinton Spain’s left guard position

-As it stands now, Spain is set to be a free agent. Last year he played 856 snaps at LG and while the Titans could elevate Corey Levin to the starting line up and/or move Ben Jones around the truth is that both guard spots will probably be replaced.

Either way, history shows us that in situations like this Jon Robinson either seeks out a fit in free agency or spends a 1st round pick at a position like this.

3. Kenny Vaccaro’s safety spot

-I think we can all agree that there isn’t a big chance that the Titans spend a 1st round pick on a safety. The only reason I am bringing it up is because he did play nearly 750 snaps last year and he is the only big free agent the Titans have left.

Robinson is going to try to bring back Vaccaro and if not it has to be because he feels confident that Johnathan Cyprien can become the safety he was brought in to be. So while this is the last free agent that fits the criteria I feel confident saying this isn’t where they will go.

The exception and a quick summary

Ultimately, the history shows us that free agency is going to be very important to this debate. If the Titans go out and sign Jadeveon Clowney then they probably won’t spend a 1st on an EDGE, likewise if they go out and sign Rodger Saffold they probably won’t draft an IOL (unless they cut Josh Kline as well as letting Spain walk).

I will say the one exception to this rule could be at wide receiver where the Tennessee Titans “lost” Rishard Matthews who was likely tabbed to play a huge chunk of snaps. That could factor into the Titans decision and create an exception since the inciting incident was so random and weird.

So, while it would be nice to get an upgrade at DT or a potential home run pick at TE (looking at you T.J. Hockenson), history has shown us that unless there is a path to earning 500+ snaps as a rookie, then Robinson isn’t going to draft you in the 1st round.