Tennessee Titans 2021 NFL Draft grades: LB Monty Rice

Monty Rice (32) Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Monty Rice (32) Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports /

After losing linebackers Will Compton, Daren Bates, and Nick Dzubnar, the Tennessee Titans needed to add talent and depth to the linebacker position. They did that in the 92nd pick in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft by selecting linebacker Monty Rice from Georgia.

Right now, it is hard to know what to expect from Monty Rice because there is a black cloud above his head. That black cloud is largely due to the incredibly high bust rate for top picks coming out of Georgia recently.

Whether it is just massively underperforming like Andrew Thomas or the more obvious issues like the ones for DeAndre Baker and Isaiah Wilson, there just have not been many good picks that have come out of that school lately.

Setting aside the potential systemic issues there, the fit is interesting for the Titans.

Rice is every bit the interior thumper that he is billed to be, but there isn’t a use for that in a defense that is primarily in a 4-2-5 look. That suggests that the Tennessee Titans are likely interested in using him as a special teams player and as a sub-package defender when they need to be more physical.

What did the Tennessee Titans miss out on?

It will be a few seasons before we know whether or not he was worth the pick, but the Titans did miss on something here. To make this selection Tennessee traded down and collected a third-round pick for their trouble.

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While no player of interest was drafted between this pick and where the Titans would end the third round, the 85th pick that they traded away did end up becoming Amari Rodgers a slot receiver from Clemson.

This is a theme of Day 2 because every time it seems like the Tennessee Titans are poised to take a wide receiver and fill their biggest need, they juke everyone out and draft a different player.

The 2021 NFL Draft class is deep at wide receiver so there isn’t a reason to think that the Titans aren’t going to be able to add a pass catcher on Day 3, but this is only going to add more fuel to the rumors that the Tennessee Titans were one of the teams interested in trading for Julio Jones.

Regardless, the pick boils down to the Titans taking a sub-package linebacker who has some value on special teams as well, but who doesn’t project to being a 3-down linebacker and who was a slight reach in terms of value. The move earns the lowest grade of the draft through two days. Grade: C-