Tennessee Titans: Elijah Molden makes 2021 NFL Preseason All-Rookie Team

Elijah Molden, Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: Imagn Images photo pool)
Elijah Molden, Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: Imagn Images photo pool) /

Tennessee Titans cornerback Elijah Molden has a bright future with the team if the preseason is any indication. To many, preseason may actually be the worst possible indication of players’ performances, and all preseason articles or rankings belong in the temporary file cabinet labeled ‘irrelevant by the start of the season’.

But just like you would celebrate your child winning a participation trophy, wouldn’t you want to see one of your rookies gain some early recognition?

Molden is that rookie for the Titans, and he got a recent nod on PFF’s 2021 NFL Preseason All-Rookie Team. In assembling this team, writer Michael Renner gave deference “to those who ran with the first string and those who played more snaps.”

It’s no surprise Renner lists Patriots starting quarterback Mac Jones first, but he eventually makes his way down the list to award Molden for his standout preseason.

Tennessee’s division rivals, the Indianapolis Colts, saw two of their rookies make the PFF team (Michael Strachan and Kwity Paye), but that doesn’t take anything away from Molden’s success.

Renner writes:

"Molden looks tailor-made for the do-it-all role around the line of scrimmage. He can move seamlessly between the slot and the box while still making plays. The third-rounder was targeted nine times and only allowed seven catches for 30 yards — only 3.3 yards per attempt."

He then boldly states that Molden is Tennessee’s starting slot corner, which isn’t too farfetched of a claim. Currently, the only locked-in starter of Tennessee’s startling young secondary is veteran Janoris Jenkins. The two remaining corner spots will be fought for by Molden, 2021 first-rounder Caleb Farley, and 2020 second-rounder Kristian Fulton.

Tennessee Titans: Elijah Molden gets recognized as one of the league’s best rookies in preseason

In Week 2 of the preseason, Molden showed his precocious pass coverage instincts that allowed him to blow up a screen pass and notch a sack against Tampa Bay. In Week 3, Molden continued to impress with his cerebral ability to diagnose plays, and he finished with four solo tackles against the Bears.

He’s been a starlet all throughout camp blanketing Tennessee receivers, and if the team decides he’s too raw to start, he can still make an impact as an extra coverage guy.

PFF clearly thinks very highly of him. In addition to making the All-Preseason Rookie Team, Molden also ranked as PFF’s fourth highest-graded defender in the preseason who wasn’t a first-round pick.

Molden’s five-foot-ten, 190-pound frame weighs on the lighter side for a defensive back, but Molden has proven he’s already ahead of the learning curve and has plenty of time to develop alongside veteran and youthful talent.

The Tennessee Titans’ secondary, as a whole, ranks mostly average going into the 2021 season, but with “mini-badger” Molden raring to start in the slot, the Titans won’t have to worry about this rookie’s production. He’s got them covered.

Next. 3 young prospects this team must make room for. dark

Right now, Molden is learning by example, but in just a few years, he could be setting the example for the next generation of Tennessee corners.