PFF had a really solid write up of the Tennessee Titans rookie options.
The Tennessee Titans took Isaiah Wilson with their first round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but that doesn’t mean that he is the rookie most likely to start.
That superlative belongs to 2nd round rookie draft pick Kristian Fulton, the cornerback from LSU.
This comes from PFF who recently broke down the starting offenses and defenses for all 32 teams and provided some commentary on their decisions.
For the Titans, Dennis Kelly was the starter at right tackle while Kristian Fulton took the CB3 spot in Tennessee’s 4-2-5 defense.
Interestingly, they did give an in-depth opinion on why they like Dennis Kelly over the rookie from Georgia:
Generally, when you take a tackle in the first round, that player is going to start as a rookie. I think it makes sense for the Titans to give Wilson time to develop, though, because he isn’t ready to go up against NFL edge defenders week in and week out. We had listed him as a potential guard convert — a position where his power could shine — given his sluggish feet and problems with speed off the edge. Kelly would give more security to a team that is looking to contend once again in 2020. He is coming off two consecutive seasons with 70-plus overall grades on 300 or more snaps as the Titans’ swing tackle.
I agree with every single word of that analysis including the fact that he could make a lot of sense at guard in the future.
Why is Kristian Fulton special?
While PFF discusses Amani Hooker‘s potential in the slot based on his college film, the Tennessee Titans rarely used him in a slot role in 2019. Based on all that we have seen from the Titans usage of Hooker, the plan is probably for him to compete for the third safety in those looks and as a replacement for Kenny Vaccaro when they move Vaccaro down inside the box.
Kristian Fulton, on the other hand, played inside and outside in college and matched up with a variety of receivers. Since the Titans have also toyed with the idea of putting Adoree Jackson inside on nickel downs, it makes sense that having two players versatile players on the field in nickel package given how OCs are using motion and formations to try to put DBs at a disadvantage presnap.
Darrynton Evans and Chris Jackson are players that could also see a lot of time this year, and fans are infatuated with the idea of Larrell Murchison as the next Jurrell Casey or even Karl Klug. However, if we are just talking about starters and not just rotational players, I think Isaiah Wilson and Kristian Fulton are your best odds to get the most starts barring an injury.
Wilson isn’t where he needs to be technically and is going to get an abbreviated offseason program so there is no telling what shape he will be in mentally (as far as understanding the playbook) or physically (especially with his previous weight concerns).
So, Dennis Kelly gets the nod and even if it is a conservative projection to only have one rookie, how much turnover do you need on a roster that went to the AFC Championship game last year?