Tennessee Titans draft study: PFF ranks position groups that deserve 1st round picks

Tennessee Titans (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Tennessee Titans (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

Defensive line

Jurrell Casey spent most of his career as one of the more underrated DTs in the NFL. A few years ago people really started catching on to what a difference maker he was and the damage he was doing to opposing offensive lines even when he wasn’t getting sacks.

That description has now been gifted to Jeffery Simmons who looks like an absolute stud regardless of what the Tennessee Titans ask him to do.

With Daquan Jones having the best year of his career and with Isaiah Mack showing up as a rookie, this team looks like they have four defensive tackles that can be rolled in and out of the lineup without having a massive drop off.

However, the Titans still lack something at the position and I’m not sure that either Austin Johnson or Matt Dickerson have done anything close to deserving another contract from Tennessee.

So, if the Titans need a role player what does the data say about DTs in the draft?

Findings in my own words: They better be able to get to the QB, and even still…eh.

We will talk about linebacker in a little bit, but like linebacker defensive tackles are all relatively equal in value unless they can do one thing: affect the passing game.

That ability has been the biggest difference in drafting guys like Jeffery Simmons vs drafting guys like Austin Johnson. If you can’t get into the backfield and be disruptive then it is very likely that you aren’t worth a top-100 selection.

For the Titans, that is discouraging because they could really use some interior pressure and I don’t know that Tennessee can do that without blitzing inside or making Jeffery Simmons a fixture at DT on third downs.

Still, the good news is that the Titans do have a lot of talent at that position if they can’t find someone they really like in that niche role.