Peter King’s 2020 NFL mock draft was one of the most accurate media member mock drafts last year, so his final projection before the 2021 NFL Draft was a must-read. What Tennessee Titans fans didn’t know was that they were going to get a mock draft and a rumor that connected them to a potential Hall of Fame wide receiver.
On Monday morning, Peter King’s Football Morning in America article was littered with nuggets from the upcoming selection meeting. While the Titans are usually an enigmatic team, this was a nice surprise for fans.
The titular mock draft saw the Titans take a wide receiver, but you could hardly blame fans if they didn’t make it to Tennessee’s pick.
Almost right out of the gate King drops this quote about a potential trade involving Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones. Here’s a quote:
"Surprises? Keep an eye on Atlanta. I can’t predict any bombshells. But a few things would not surprise me. Most notably, the Falcons putting the framework of a trade together for star wideout Julio Jones, and making the trade effective June 2. That way, Atlanta could split Jones’ cap charge between 2021 and 2022 instead of getting bashed with it all this year. So if such a trade happens, I expect it could involve a future pick or picks, nothing this year. (A future second-round pick as compensation seems fair to me.) Because such a trade wouldn’t be official till June, no picks in this draft could be involved. As for the interested team or teams, I would guess Las Vegas; Jon Gruden couldn’t resist Antonio Brown, and I doubt he could resist Julio Jones. New England too, and a couple of teams with clear receiver needs—Tennessee and Baltimore."
There has been speculation in the past that Julio Jones would be available for the right price, but with no takers, the Atlanta Falcons are going to be forced to eat some of the cap that they wanted to free themselves from.
Is that too much for the Tennessee Titans to give up?
As far as draft compensation goes, generally, the idea is that a future second-round pick is equivalent to a third-round pick in the current draft. The wait for general managers combined with the unknown of where a team will be picking decreases the value of future picks.
The cap implications are important for both sides, but with a new TV deal and with the cap expected to rise drastically in the future, this may be a deal that makes sense for everyone involved.
Tennessee Titans GM has executed several effective trades as a GM, but he hasn’t made the splashy move yet. Could this be the year that he adds a huge name via the trade market?
And one final note, in case you think that Julio Jones might not be worth a top-100 draft pick at his age, remember that even in his “down years” over the last two seasons he has averaged 90.2 yards per game.
Over that same time, the Titans’ young duo of A.J. Brown and Corey Davis only averaged 70.8 and 54.7 yards respectively. Even when you adjust his production for volume, Jones has averaged 9.6 yards per target which holds up well versus what Corey Davis did (9.8 yards per target) and what A.J. Brown was able to produce (11.2 yards per target), who were two of the most efficient receivers in the NFL.