Everyone can agree that the 2022 NFL Draft did not go as people were expecting for the Tennessee Titans.
It all started with the news fans were fearing but never actually expecting: AJ Brown being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles.
It was news that blindsided Titans players, fans, and everyone in the building. But, the draft stops for no one and the picks were infinitely more important than when the team had A.J. Brown. Luckily, when you think about the actual picks they made, it is hard to complain about the work they did.
People will debate whether or not it was a job well done by GM Jon Robinson and reigning Coach of the Year Mike Vrabel, but we cannot deny that the Titans have a very tall order ahead of them with the roster they have constructed. In particular, the offense, like last year, might have a problem scoring points.
Tennessee Titans offense will look much different
Before we go much further, let’s state that we knew that the changes made at the beginning of free agency were going to happen. It made sense to cut Rodger Saffold, whose body was obviously breaking down on himself during 2021, and David Quessenberry simply was not going to cut it at right tackle.
But remember when Robinson kept emphasizing that the Titans needed to be better around Ryan Tannehill, particularly at the skill positions? Well, this is not to say that they definitely will not be, but they have a lot of work cut out for them if they want to be.
When you look at the Tennessee Titans’ receivers, the one who has played the most amount of snaps for them is Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, but it is looking like he probably won’t be a starter.
Consider this, if Kyle Philips comes out of training camp as the starting slot receiver the Tennessee Titans will be starting the year with nobody who has caught a pass for the team (assuming that Treylon Burks and Robert Woods start on the outside).
The only reason why Nick Westbrook-Ikhine might start is that Robert Woods is coming off of a serious injury and the Tennessee Titans may rest him as long as possible to ensure he’s healthy.
It also does not help matters that Burks had to be removed from Friday’s first minicamp practice early. We have four months before the season starts, but it looks like coming in and immediately replacing Brown is going to be an uphill battle. Though the Titans do like to rotate their wide receivers quite a bit even when they are healthy.
In terms of familiarity and change, the tight end position will see a lot of turnover as well with Geoff Swaim being the only one who has played any snaps for the Titans. The best-case scenario is that he sees minimal snaps with Austin Hooper as the clear TE1 and with the hope that rookie Chig Okonkwo breaks out as the TE2.
Most people would look at this and think that they might be doomed for another year of disappointing offense, but remember that their defense went through a similar thing the last offseason.
None of the cornerbacks who were starting at the end of the year had played any meaningful snaps for the team, and there were some critical additions on the defensive line who made a huge difference.
That unit turned out to be one of the best in the NFL, so the Titans have been down this road before and know the recipe for success. But it took the 2021 defense several games to fully be in sync, suggesting that you should not expect this year’s offense to be at its peak until at least a few games into the season.
And the players that needed to be replaced on that defense were those who were underperforming or getting up there in age. This time around, one of the players they have to replace is the headlining 24-year-old receiver who was one of the best young receivers in franchise history. This is also on a team with a quarterback who has significant questions about being able to take them where they need to be.
The Titans tend to get good performances out of those who are motivated, doubted, or under pressure of some sort, but you have to believe that replacing so many moving parts from season to season is going to be one of their more difficult challenges. We will see.