Here’s what all of that means if you’re a Tennessee Titans fan.
A defensive front-seven that features a rotation four of Dupree, Autry, Simmons, and Harold Landry looks great on paper. The Titans should consider this group an upgrade following season’s end.
The secondary also underwent a total refresh, with cornerbacks Malcolm Butler, Adoree Jackson, and safety Kenny Vaccaro all being released. Butler performed at a very high level last season, while Jackson struggled mightily upon his late-season return from a knee injury that caused him to miss the majority of the season. Vaccaro enjoyed a great run as a Titan but failed to make an impact in 2020.
Enter Janoris ‘Jackrabbit’ Jenkins and Kevin Johnson as cornerback reinforcements. Jenkins is a feisty veteran who will bring energy and experience to the secondary and is assumed to be filling Butler’s role. Johnson has experience playing for Mike Vrabel in Houston and is likely the nickel corner. Second-year player Kristian Fulton is the assumed starter next to Jenkins.
Even with these additional signings, however, the Titans are expected to target a cornerback early in Thursday’s draft. As the NFL continues to trend more and more toward a passing league, it is wise to invest in high-end talent at the corner position.
Overall, Jon Robinson made a concerted effort to improve the Titans roster via free agency, following the end of the 2020 season. Difficult decisions need to be made about what happens following the loss of key players like Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith.
They ended up signing deals that were deemed too expensive by Titans’ brass. Still, important acquisitions on defense like Dupree and Autry were made in response to 2020’s anemic pass rush. Should those moves pan out on defense, paired with some savvy selections in Thursday’s draft, the Titans will be a more well-rounded team in 2021.