Young cornerbacks need to be a big part of a Tennessee Titans win

Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports /

While the Tennessee Titans have had success all year with the run defense and pass rush, the X-factors in Saturday’s game will be the defense’s budding young cornerbacks looking to earn their first playoff win.

Going into the biggest game of their professional lives (so far) Kristian Fulton and Elijah Molden need to continue to play exceptional football.

With the big-play capability of the Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver core, the young defensive backs will be facing an offense with weapons that they haven’t seen outside of matchups with the San Francisco 49ers, L.A. Rams, and Kansas City Chiefs.

Last year, the Titans’ defensive backs wouldn’t have stood a chance against these receivers, but thankfully GM Jon Robinson nailed the rebuild on defense this offseason.

Looking at the Tennessee Titans corners

Kristian Fulton is having an incredible season, and despite playing a flashy position on a great team, he hasn’t gotten the recognition he deserves. He is the team’s number one defensive back in passes defended with 14 on the year, tied for 11th in the league.

While the Tennessee Titans don’t usually shadow receivers, he is going to have his hands full when he is matched up with his former college and high school teammate, Ja’Marr Chase.

In the slot, Elijah Molden has been an emerging talent in the team’s secondary. After a slow start to the year, Molden has shown huge growth and his numbers tell the story of him becoming the best slot cornerback in the NFL among rookies.

He has been a reliable tackler on the edge who has not been afraid to bring the physicality, a welcome revelation for a rookie cornerback. In fact, people somehow forget that he has been involved in several key plays this year like the pick-six against Carson Wentz, the forced fumble to kick off the first Jacksonville Jaguars win of the season, and recovering the Tua Tagovailo fumble in the final home win of the regular season.

For the Titans, these two young corners are crucial pieces to a defensive squad that has gotten stronger all year long. While most of the praise for the defense has been given to the run defense and pass rush, the steady improvement of Fulton and Molden has added much-needed security to the secondary.

The Bengals offense which ranked 7th in the regular season for passing yards per game will be looking to expose the inexperience of Fulton and Molden in order to free up Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd for big plays.

If these two young cornerstones can take another leap and lock down the big-play threats that Cincinnati has, the top-seeded Titans will easily dispatch the Bengals.