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 Tennessee Titans Draft Review


Team Needs: OT, DL, S


Selections:


Rd 1. 8 Jack Conklin OT Michigan State

Rd 2. 33 Kevin Dodd DE Clemson

Rd 2. 43 Austin Johnson DT Penn State

Rd 2. 55 Derek Henry RB Alabama

Rd 3. 64 Kevin Byard S Middle Tennessee State

Rd 5. 140 Tajae Sharpe WR Massachutsets

Rd 5. 157 LeShaun Sims CB Southern Utah

Rd 6. 193 Sebastian Tretola OG Arkansas

Rd 7. 222 Aaron Wallace OLB UCLA

Rd 7. 253 Kalan Reed CB Southern Miss



Recap:

Turning the number one pick into the draft into 2 first round picks, 2 second round picks, and a third round pick is enough to get any team a passing grade. The draft is really about adding talent to a roster, albeit inexpensive talent that can provide value for 4-5 years. Fans, pundits, and many teams tend to overvalue early round picks in classes where there is a drop off in talent somewhere in the top 3-5 selections. As good as any single player might have been for the Titans it is unlikely that a single player would prove to be more valuable to them overtime than the three likely starters they got in Dodd, Conklin, and Henry. They are also now in good shape for next year in the event that choose to target a specific player or take advantage of another deep class. Good front offices realize the value in multiple selections. The Titans, having a roster in need of talent and depth, set themselves up well for the future. Tennessee had a clear need for an offensive tackle, on either side, to pair with Taylor Lewan. Tunsil was the obvious pick, but even if the team hadn’t had reservations about his character (and they had enough reservations to preclude Tunsil from being a top ten choice) great offensive tackles don’t have to be taken in the top 5. Defensive line and safety were also concerns for the team heading into the draft. Given the number of early selections the Titans had it seemed likely that they could not only fill all their needs early but also add a few best player availables. Jack Conklin isn’t a top ten talent but he is the best right tackle prospect in this year’s class for a team such as the Titans. He really is the perfect fit for their offensive system so trading back into the top ten to take him, while a luxury, was a luxury the team could afford. (Thank you Rams!) Conklin should help both the run game and in pass protection. Kevin Dodd was a great value in the second round. He, along with Austin Johnson, gives the team two talented young defensive linemen to add to their rotation. Dodd should start early. Johnson should factor into the defensive tackle rotation. Derrick Henry might have been the “best player available” option for the team. Having filled two of their primary needs with their first three selections Henry is a very good value at 45. He’ll spell DeMarco Murray for a season or two but fits the physical downfield running style that the Titans covet. Kevin Byard was  surprise choice in round three. Byard is a physical “in the box” safety that doesn’t always take the best angle to the ball carrier and is slow to diagnose the action at times. Tajae Sharpe is a big bodied receiver that was very productive in college. LeShaun Sims is a tall cornerback that should see action immediately but needs to add some strength and weight before being counted on to start. Sebastian Tretola is a physical road grader that offers good depth on the interior offensive line.  Aaron Wallace is a pass rushing or run defending linebacker that struggles in coverage. He’ll need to find a home on special teams for a season or two. Karlan Reed has the ability to compete for the dime back position in a suddenly crowded Titans backfield.

Analysis:

  1. I don’t love the value of the Conklin pick but it’s hard to justify spending the capital on the guy best suited for your offensive system. There’s no point in having all of those picks if you don’t use some of them to fill positions of need when you can.

  2. The Titans defensive line is a lot better post-draft. Both Johnson and Dodd will be able to see action early on and both could develop into long term starters, although perhaps not Pro-Bowl level players.

  3. The Titans defensive backfield should be fun to watch during training camp. After choosing to fill their offensive line and defensive line needs with early picks the Titans added a safety in the third round and a couple of last day cornerbacks. Tennessee managed to add both top level talent and competition throughout the bottom of their roster.

Grade: B+


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