Tennessee Titans GM Jon Robinson did a great job adding talent on each day of the 2022 NFL Draft, but what about what he did after the draft?
The 33rd Team is a website whose contributors are comprised primarily of former NFL coaches and executives. They recently posted an article on their website naming an undrafted free agent (UDFA) most likely to make each team. For the Tennessee Titans, they chose former Texas A&M defensive tackle Jayden Peevey.
Here’s what they said about Peevey and why he was chosen:
"Tennessee TitansPlayer: Jayden Peevy, DT, Texas A&MWhile the Titans have some big names making a difference upfront, they are still relatively thin at the position. Peevy is a project player at this point but is an intriguing signing thanks to his upside and the low risk of the signing. Peevy stands at 6050 with 35-inch arms, which can be a nightmare for smaller IOL."
First, the idea that the Titans are thin on the defensive line is ludicrous. The Titans’ defensive front is one of the best and deepest in the NFL.
While Peevey has some interesting measurables, the world of the UDFA hinges primarily on one important variable, and it’s not talent: it’s opportunity.
Peevey may have a terrific rookie camp and training camp, do well in the preseason games, and still get cut because the Titans’ are so deep at the position.
Instead, an offensive lineman may have an easier time making the team, for the same reason: opportunity. (There’s that word again). But before we dive into the players, let’s look at why such an opportunity exists for a young offensive lineman.
Since Jack Conklin left for Cleveland following the 2019 season, the Titans have continued a disturbing trend of the previous season’s backup starting the next year at right tackle. Luckily David Quessenberry is gone after, inking a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills.
That leaves a hole at right tackle for the Tennessee Titans. Can Dillon Radunz perform like a starting-caliber NFL tackle? The Titans drafted Nicholas Petit-Frere out of Ohio State, but many experts feel he will take time to develop. One of these two will likely be the starter at right tackle.
This creates an opportunity for a prospect like Culver-Stockton’s Andrew Rupcich to make the team. While it’s unlikely he will be in the mix to start, he could provide valuable depth at a thin position if the team doesn’t add a veteran through some wheeling and dealing.
Hayden Howerton another UDFA who can perhaps take advantage of the thin offensive line situation out of SMU. He has played both guard and center and that diversity could serve him well in securing a roster spot.
The Titans love stockpiling those guys who can pull double-duty on the line. If Petit-Frere wins the starting tackle job, the Titans may try Radunz at left guard where there is already competition between Aaron Brewer, who gave an excellent accounting of himself in relief last season for Saffold, and Jamarco Jones brought in from Seattle. Jones is a bit worrisome since he has consistently earned Kendall-Lamm-like grades from PFF in both run and pass blocking (for what it is worth), but could also compete at right tackle as well.
The fact that there is still a question on how the offensive line will shake out bodes well for versatile UDFAs like Rupcich and Howerton. They could put themselves in the mix to hang around as depth with good showings, particularly with the offensive line’s low ceiling.
It’s all about the opportunities.