Free agency isn’t over for the Tennessee Titans, but most of the top 100 free agents have already agreed to deals.
At this point, any free agent who is available will probably need to compete with a rookie for a roster spot after the 2023 NFL Draft. That means that it is fair to start evaluating where the Tennessee Titans really need to focus their efforts when the draft rolls around.
The good news is, the defense should be nearly locked in at this point. The bad news is that this team is addicted to getting injured, so who knows how long this will last? Still, on paper this is a good group with some real upside:
[An asterisk* denotes a free agent]
EDGE: Harold Landry (Rashad Weaver)
3T: Jeffery Simmons
1T: Teair Tart
EDGE: Denico Autry (Arden Key)*
LB: Azeez Al-Shaair*
LB: Monty Rice
CB: Kristian Fulton
CB: Roger McCreary
SCB: Elijah Molden/Sean Murphy-Bunting*
S: Kevin Byard
S: Amani Hooker
Now let’s get to the real question mark, the offense.
Where are the Tennessee Titans’ holes on offense?
Assuming that Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry aren’t traded and assuming that the base offense is 12 personnel (2 WRs, 2 TEs, 1 RB):
[An asterisk* denotes a free agent]
QB: Ryan Tannehill
RB: Derrick Henry
WR1: Treylon Burks
TE1: Chig Okonkwo
LT: Andre Dillard*
LG: ? (Possibly Dillon Radunz or Jamarco Jones, but this will be a position battle)
C: Aaron Brewer
RG: Daniel Brunskill*
RT: Nicholas Petit-Frere
On defense, nearly every position group has a Pro Bowl-caliber player. Jeffery Simmons, Harold Landry, Denico Autry, Kristian Fulton, and Kevin Byard all qualify as guys that I believe are some of the best at their jobs.
However, the offense is going to depend almost solely on how good this coaching staff is.
Athletically, Andre Dillard is a perfect fit for the ZBS offense that the Tennessee Titans have run during Mike Vrabel’s time in Nashville. While he hasn’t done a lot of that in the NFL, there is something to be said for a guy who has managed to find the playing field despite playing in a system that he doesn’t perfectly fit in AND doing so with All-Pro caliber talent in front of him.
Daniel Brunskill is a guy who will probably never wow fans, but he has the versatility to play every position and he just finds ways to win. His two “best” positions in the NFL have been center and right guard, and after retaining Aaron Brewer it makes sense to pencil him in at right guard.
As it stands right now, it looks like the Tennessee Titans’ most significant holes are at wide receiver, tight end, and left guard.
Instead of doing a more in-depth mock draft, I just wanted to show how the Tennessee Titans could fix the obvious holes without making any major free agent moves or trades.
Round 1, pick 11: Paris Johnson OT, Ohio State
-Johnson is the perfect player for the Tennessee Titans to draft because he should be a left tackle in the NFL as a rookie, but if he needs time to develop his body and his technique then he can play inside at guard with Andre Dillard manning the left tackle spot.
If he is ready to play left tackle, then you can go ahead and start him since both he and Dillard have experience at tackle and guard. Drafting Johnson is an incredibly simple low-risk, high-reward situation so you really shouldn’t be able to go wrong.
Round 2, pick 41: Cedric Tillman WR, Tennessee
-Tillman isn’t going to be for everyone, but if he runs at the Tennessee Pro Day, he should run in the low 4.5s or high 4.4s which would mean that he fits perfectly into the type of wide receiver that Ran Carthon and Mike Vrabel have liked in the past. He is very physical and he worked his way up from a recruit that no one knew into a receiver that dominated the SEC before hurting his ankle early last season.
Round 3, pick 72: Tucker Kraft TE, South Dakota State
-In this year’s class, the top-15 seems to be the sweet spot for offensive tackles, the second round seems to be the sweet spot for receivers, and the tight end position seems to have quality in every round. Kraft played at South Dakota State, but Dane Brugler has said that Kraft had offers to go to blue-chip schools (including Alabama). He decided to stay with the coaches and his team as SDST and he projects to be a top-100 pick that thrives as an inline blocker and a receiver.