Which Tennessee Titans player benefits most from Julio Jones addition?

Tennessee Titans Racey McMath (Mandatory Credit: Mark Humphrey/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports)
Tennessee Titans Racey McMath (Mandatory Credit: Mark Humphrey/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports) /

Since Tennessee Titans GM Jon Robinson traded for Julio Jones, people have been quick to point out which players will benefit the most from this signing.

A.J. Brown gets to play with his idol, Josh Reynolds becomes an elite third-option, Derrick Henry should see less congested boxes, and the offensive line should have much easier matchups.

By far the strongest common argument seems to be for Ryan Tannehill who has had an incredible career resurgence in Tennesse. Make no mistake, Ryan Tannehill has been a force multiplier for the Titans offense and he isn’t just a product of good coaching and supporting talent.

However, it would be crazy for anyone to say that Tannehill didn’t end up in a perfect situation in Tennessee. To start his career with the Titans he was allowed to sit on the bench and develop chemistry with A.J. Brown who spent plenty of time with the second-string in camp as he worked his way towards being the second wide receiver in the tight end heavy offense.

That gave him a safety blanket to work with as he got on the field by midseason, which just so happened to be the time that Jonnu Smith and Derrick Henry started to have breakout seasons.

Now just two seasons after Robinson traded for Tannehill, the quarterback is looking at an offense that arguably has the best wide receiver tandem in the NFL and the best running back in the NFL.

Focus on a different Tennessee Titans player

Despite a strong argument, Tannehill is not the player who benefited the most from the Julio Jones trade. Either way, he was going to be a top-12 quarterback (at worst) with A.J. Brown and Derrick Henry supporting him.

The player that benefited the most is rookie receiver Racey McMath from LSU.

One of the most overlooked picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, McMath is a very unique prospect. Look at the physical profiles of the two SEC receivers coming out of college:

Racey McMath: 6024 (scouting measurement), 211 pounds, 4.39 40-yard dash, 4.40 short shuttle

Julio Jones: 6026, 220 pounds, 4.39 40-yard dash, 4.25 short shuttle

While McMath’s testing results in his change of direction drills weren’t quite as freakish as Julio’s, their height, weight, and straight-line speed all make him a very interesting developmental prospect.

McMath was always going to make the Tennessee Titans roster as a special teams ace, but now he is going to be able to look up to someone with his build and see how he can start refining that raw potential into refined tools.

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Maybe McMath doesn’t get a single target as a rookie, but just a season working with a position coach like Rob Moore and a Hall of Fame receiver like Julio Jones could do wonders for his long-term growth. In fact, it might be the difference between a career as a special teams ace and a career as a potential starting wide receiver down the line.