The Tennessee Titans trade up!
With the 66th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans select Payton Turner, an edge rusher out of Houston. They give up picks 100 and 126 in the process.
The Trend: This pick combines two trends that the Titans have been incredibly consistent with, the first being that they just don’t draft players in the fourth round. In five years, Robinson has traded his fourth-round pick five times (twice in 2016, once in 2017, once in 2018, and once in 2019).
The other trend is that the Titans like to use the third round to get guys from non-Power Five schools. Nate Davis, Taywan Taylor, Kevin Byard, and Jonnu Smith were all from Conference USA and Darrynton Evans was from the Sun Belt.
Payton Turner would be the first player taken from the AAC, but since the Titans have already had a visit with him, you can imagine that they might be targetting their first player from the American Athletic Conference.
Analysis: Like Denico Autry, Turner is a six-foot-five, 270-plus-pound defender that you could line up inside or outside in every situation. Also like Autry, Turner is an aggressive player in the trenches whose effort and length make life miserable for opposing quarterbacks.
Turner ended his career with 25 TFLs and ten sacks over 27 starts, but the trend to watch is his improvement every season. By the time he earned the captain’s C on his chest in his final season, he had just started to hit his stride:
2018: 0.4 TFLs per game, 0 sacks per game
2019: 0.67 TFLs per game, 0.3 sacks per game
2020: 2.1 TFLs per game, 1 sack per game
Take an ascending player like that and put him with someone similar who has figured it all out at the NFL level (Autry) and now you have a pipeline in place for producing exceptional defensive linemen.