Don’t do this in your Titans mock draft.
Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network posted his first 2021 NFL Mock Draft yesterday, and he made a mistake that a lot of people are going to make.
Let’s start with the pick. With the 22nd pick, Daniel Jeremiah selected Jaycee Horn CB, South Carolina and he gave this analysis:
"The Titans need better cover guys on the back end. Horn has the ability to play at a high level in press or off coverage."
I want to say that I think Horn is a very good player and he is going to be a good cornerback at the next level. The problem with this pick is that Jeremiah is trying to say that the coverage issues were because the Titans lacked cornerback talent last year.
Generally, the Titans allowed 3rd down conversions and long passes because the scheme made them play 5+ yards off of the receiver whether it was 3rd and 1 or 3rd and 15. The Titans basically just conceded yards and first downs because Shane Bowen’s scheme was built around not allowing chunk play (a strategy that didn’t work).
The truth is, under Dean Pees in 2019 Adoree Jackson and Malcolm Butler both looked very good when healthy and even though Jackson missed a huge chunk of time this year, Butler looked really good. Behind them, the Titans have Kristian Fulton locked up until 2023 on a cheap deal and they have Desmond King in house if they want to re-sign him.
Cornerback talent isn’t the issue, it is coaching and injuries that made this pass defense so bad.
What should he have done?
Christian Barmore wasn’t a first round pick to Daniel Jeremiah, and I think he has a pretty strong case to be the Titans first round choice given his production, conference, size, and position. But, if we are excluding him Zaven Collins and Azeez Ojulari were both selected after Horn.
I think you can make a strong case that the need list for the Titans should look a lot like this:
1. EDGE (full time/versatile)
4. EDGE (DPR)
Collins has a lot of upside and he seems like a boom or bust pick that the Titans might take a swing on as someone who fits the 4th and 5th need on that list (I compared him to Rashaan Evans at first glance).
Ojulari would fit the top need in this draft class, but I can understand why a lot of Titans fans would be scared to grab another player from Georgia considering their terrible track record of talent over the last couple of years.
So one of those three players would be at the top of my list and I’m not sure I would even consider Horn just because it means you are basically either wasting a 1st round pick or you are benching a player that you are going to pay $10+ million in 2021 (when you need every dollar you can get). That seems like a very bad decision.
The moral of this story is don’t look at the Titans’ pass defense and just think “Well those guys need a cornerback!”, now if a trade or a cut is made we can revisit this, but as of right now it just is a bad use of resources.