The Tennessee Titans are always going to be a team more focused on running than passing, but they still need to address the receiver position.
One of the biggest storylines so far this offseason has been the uncertainty surrounding veteran wide receiver Deandre Hopkins’ tenure in Arizona. Although still very productive when on the field, Hopkins is coming off a year where he missed 6 games due to a PED suspension.
With the Arizona Cardinals trying to quickly rebuild, it looks like he’ll be finding a new home in the not-so-far future.
Naturally, Tennessee Titans’ fans have linked the 3-time All-Pro wideout with a potential reunion with Mike Vrabel and Tim Kelly. However, the move feels reminiscent of the past two offseasons when the Titans acquired veteran receivers Julio Jones and Robert Woods, who both completely failed to be even remotely productive.
Other potential options for the Tennessee Titans that have been getting some buzz so far this offseason are Brandin Cooks, Juju Smith-Schuster, and Tee Higgins, but it seems like Higgins is likely going to stay with Cincinnati at this point.
All three of these players are great in their own right, but it’s important to understand how they would fit in the Tennessee Titans’ current roster and cap situation.
With an appropriately big contract for Jeffery Simmons looming and a roster with just 4 confirmed starters on offense, now may be the time to invest in young talent at receiver rather than making a flashy offseason splash.
Tennessee Titans’ best chance for a receiver is in the draft
It’s also hard to ignore the success of wide receivers straight out of the draft in the past few years, and not just coming from the first round.
Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson have obviously dominated the league in their 2nd and 3rd years, respectively, and you could rattle off a dozen receivers in their second contracts who are also quickly establishing themselves as some of the best in the business.
Not to mention, the incredible rookie class from 2022 was absolutely lined with receiver talent, including Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Drake London, Treylon Burks, Jahan Dotson, and the human highlight-reel, George Pickens.
Clearly, Jon Robinson thought drafting receiver was the best move considering the infamous A.J. Brown trade. Admittedly, Treylon Burks actually looked promising in 2022 despite the roster falling apart around him mid-season, but he still has a long way to go in order to replace A.J. Brown’s production.
And if GM Ran Carthon was considering taking a franchise receiver, 2023 would be another great year to do so, with big names like Quentin Johnston, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Zay Flowers, and Tennessee fan-favorite Jaylin Hyatt expected to go off the board sometime in the first 40 picks.
During the NFL Combine, the Tennessee Titans have already shown interest in SMU standout Rashee Rice, according to Turron Davenport, specifically because of his blocking ability. Jonathan Mingo, like Rice, serves as another high-upside pick that Ran Carthon could make if they wanted to address other positions early on. Plus, the Ole Miss product even has some striking similarities to A.J. Brown, so maybe he could be a good fit.
Overall, it seems like drafting a receiver gives the Tennessee Titans a better chance to improve the position than going after one in free agency. However, no one really knows what Ran Carthon will do since it will be his first time calling the shots, so it is going to be interesting to see which direction he goes.