The AFC South is up for the taking, and the Titans helped their chances of winning the division with this draft class. Tennessee filled their two glaring needs in the NFL Draft with their first two selections; wide receiver and cornerback. Instead of adding depth to their poor secondary, they gave Marcus Mariota a plethora of receiving options.
First round, fifth overall: Corey Davis, wide receiver, Western Michigan
First round, 18th overall: Adoree’ Jackson, cornerback, USC
Third round, 72nd overall: Taywan Taylor, wide receiver, Western Kentucky
Third round, 100th overall: Jonnu Smith, tight end, Florida International
Fifth round, 155th overall: Jayon Brown, linebacker, UCLA
Sixth round, 217th overall: Corey Levin, offensive lineman, Chattanooga
Seventh round, 227th overall: Josh Carraway, linebacker, TCU
Seventh round, 236th overall: Brad Seaton, offensive tackle, Villanova
Seventh round, 241st overall: Khalfani Muhammad, running back, California
Titans Overall Draft Grade: 8.5/10
Tennessee Titans 2017 NFL Draft Review
The Best Player: Corey Davis
Taking Davis with the fifth pick was originally thought of as a reach. But, after the three first-round caliber wideouts went in the first 10 picks, it was the right move. If the Titans were to end day one of the draft without one of Corey Davis, Mike Williams or John Ross, the draft grade would have been under five. Davis has a rare combination of size and speed that will be utilized well in the Titans offense. Not to mention, he’s the best blocking receiver in the class, to the excitement of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry.
The Head-Scratcher: Khalfani Muhammad
With the two-headed monster of the Murray and Henry in the Titans’ backfield, this pick needed a ‘double-take.’ But then again, being able to add depth in the seventh round is hard to pass up on. The ‘Head-scratching’ aspect to this draft was the Titans only used one of their nine selections on improving their secondary that was simply terrible last year. The one thing that Muhammad brings is his 4.38 40 speed that will be a nice change of pace in the running game. His speed alone sets him apart from third-string guy David Fluellen. He can also make an impact on special teams.
The Surprise: Jonnu Smith
Taking a tight end in the third round came as a surprise to many with the Titans already in good shape at the position with Pro Bowler Delaine Walker. Smith is an undersized tight end and wasn’t touted as a top-ranked player at the position (fourth-fifth round). Knowing how much the Titans love their two tight end sets and Smith’s similarities to Walker, this pick may turn into more of a steal rather than a surprise.
Most Likely To Turn Heads in Camp: Adoree’ Jackson
There are two knocks against Jackson. He is an undersized corner who also happens to get burned on the perimeter. Luckily for the Titans, his athleticism makes up for his unconventional technique and occasional blunder. The athletic side of Jackson offers him upside as a handy swiss army knife that can be used in the return game and even on the offensive side of the ball. With those traits, he will surely be an exciting rookie at camp.
The Rest: Jayon Brown, Corey Levin, Josh Carraway, Brad Seaton
The Titans were burned a lot against other teams tight ends last season. Jayon Brown is more of a coverage linebacker and could take over Wesley Woodyard‘s spot beside Avery Williamson. Levin and Seaton will act as great depth on the offensive line at both tackle and guard. Carraway needs to be better against the run, but his speed off the edge will help the Titans. Behind Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo, Tennessee doesn’t have much to offer on the edge. Kevin Dodd is still dealing with his foot injury and Aaron Wallace is fighting for a roster spot. These four players will all have a chance to earn a spot on the roster, or worst case, be added to the practice squad.
The Titans put a lot of stock in their offense by adding more options for Mariota. They ignored their glaring need in secondary by only drafting one defensive back. Outside of Ryan and Jackson, the Titans are thin. They clearly are confident in Brice McCain at the slot and are okay with LeShaun Sims and Kalan Reed as depth guys. But in the case of an injury, the Titans may be in the same situation as they were in 2016. Despite the lack of defensive backs in their selections, the Titans’ offense has no excuses now. Mariota has been given the pieces he needs to have a breakout season. If Mariota can do so, and the Titans defense improves, Tennessee has a serious chance of making the playoffs for the first time since 2008.