The Tennessee Titans selected Dez Fitzpatrick in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft and many expected him to hear his name called much later in the draft. As a result, he was the Titans’ most surprising draft pick, per Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports who ranked every team’s draft class.
The pick of Fitzpatrick in the fourth round might be why Tennessee is No. 17 on Wilson’s list of draft classes. He offered this analysis as to why the Louisville speedster was his choice for the Titans’ most surprising draft pick:
"Louisville’s Dez Fitzpatrick went a nearly a full round and a half before we expected in part because the wide receiver didn’t always separate from defensive backs and he wasn’t a top-end yards-after-catch guy. That said, his speed (he blazed a 4.43 40 at his pro day) and 6-foot-2 frame indicate that he can get better in both areas of concern."
This has been the argument toward this pick all week long. Fitzpatrick had a fifth-round grade on The Draft Network and, judging by Wilson’s comments, had roughly a sixth-round grade on CBS Sports. Draft analysts seemed to be under the impression that Fitzpatrick would have been available later on for Tennessee to nab. It was also surprising that the Titans waited until round four to draft a wide receiver.
The Titans obviously liked the speed that Fitzpatrick can provide them with though and that’s why they selected him when they did. Considering they lost both Corey Davis and Adam Humphries in free agency (as well as tight end Jonnu Smith), spending a draft pick on a wide receiver was a must and Fitzpatrick was the one they went with on Day 3.
The Tennessee Titans needed a wide receiver and Dez Fitzpatrick fits the bill.
It was pretty stunning that the Titans waited until the third day of the draft to address what appeared to be a major need. As Brady Akins of Titan Sized discussed, however, this shows that general manager Jon Robinson believes in A.J. Brown and what he can do for this offense.
Some of the top receiver names left on the board when the Titans selected Fitzpatrick were Amon-Ra St. Brown, Tylan Wallace, and Cornell Powell. As unfair as it is, Fitzpatrick will be compared to players like these throughout his career and if any of the receivers taken after him go on to put up monster numbers, the Titans will certainly get crucified for it.
Wilson’s post is obviously just for fun. We don’t know anything about this draft class yet and what kind of NFL players these guys are going to be. Fitzpatrick might have had a late-round grade by several different sites but the Titans saw something in him and they couldn’t pass up on the chance to take him when they did.