The Tennessee Titans are taking a cornerback in the first round of Todd McShay’s mock draft.
One of the needs the Tennessee Titans could look to address in the 2020 NFL Draft is at cornerback, and it’s a need ESPN’s Todd McShay believes the team will address in the first round.
In 25 total games the past two seasons, the 5-foot-11, 200-pound corner compiled 92 tackles (67 solo, 2.5 for loss), one interception and 18 passes defended.
McShay points to the Titans’ pass defense finishing as the No. 24 unit and the possible departure of cornerback Logan Ryan in free agency as his reasoning for making this pick, although the former point is a little misleading when taking everything into account.
Tennessee dealt with a slew of injuries to the secondary this season, and namely to corners Malcolm Butler (he was placed on IR after Week 9) and Adoree’ Jackson (he missed four games near the end of the season and five in total).
Now, that’s not to say the Titans shouldn’t be looking for a corner, because they should be. I’m just giving some context to that pass defense ranking.
As far as the Ryan point is concerned, if he leaves in free agency I think the Titans are already prepared. Tennessee’s 2019 fourth-round pick, Amani Hooker, was a sensational slot corner in college and could be the guy who ultimately replaces Ryan in 2020.
The Titans’ need for a cornerback will hinge more on what this team sees for Butler’s future. With three years left on his deal, Butler is set to make over $41 million in that span and could be a candidate to be cut as soon as this year, as he’s probably not worth $13 million or so despite picking up his play since a rough first half of 2018.
While his 2020 dead cap number isn’t too friendly ($6 million) this year, it would still be a savings of over $7 million. In 2021 and 2022, Butler’s dead cap number is $4 million and $2 million, respectively.
It’s probably more likely the Titans keep him this season so as not to completely disrupt their secondary with Ryan potentially on his way out of Nashville, but I could certainly see Butler being a cap casualty after that.
In the meantime, general manager Jon Robinson should think about asking Butler to restructure his monster deal.
Adding to that, Jackson will be entering the fourth year of his rookie deal and will almost certainly have his fifth-year option picked up this offseason. As it stands now, Jackson looks like a keeper, but you never know how things can turn out down the road.
Bottom line: the Titans should be targeting a cornerback at some point during this draft, as the situation in the secondary could change drastically in the next few years.