The 2018 Draft was not exactly a smashing success for the Titans. They traded up to nab LB RASHAAN EVANS and ended up with only 4 Picks overall. They then used their 6th Round Pick on QB LUKE FALK, who is gone from Nashville already. They absolutely needed to do better in 2019. They had 6 Picks this time around, and did not reach for a back-up QB again, although they did trade earlier for RYAN TANNEHILL to back-up, and perhaps push, MARIOTA a bit.
Round 1, Pick 19
JEFFERY SIMMONS DT MISSISSIPPI STATE 6’4/301 4.98/40 PP#22
Let there be no mistake, SIMMONS is a Top 10 talent with a couple of blemishes on his personal resume’. The biggest short term issue is the reality that he is currently rehabbing a left knee ACL tear, suffered in February at his Performance Camp. The expectation is that he may miss the start of the 2019 season, and spend some PUP List time to rehab the knee. When healthy, he has shown the talent to fall somewhere between 2 former Bulldogs DL, in FLETCHER COX and CHRIS JONES, who currently display Pro Bowl level talent in the NFL. He has excellent lateral quickness and shoots gaps to create penetration. He is very quick to read and react to the ball. His strength/quickness combo is outstanding. In 2018, he recorded 63 T, 17 TFL, 2 S, 4 PBU, and 7 QBH. He has 34 1/2″ arm length, with 10 1/4″ hands. He should be worth the wait, and hopefully his rehab will allow him to hit the field by November. He could be just what their DL needs to excel as a group.
Round 2, Pick 51
A.J. BROWN WR OLE MISS 6’1/226 4.52/40 PP#26
BROWN reminds me a lot of STERLING SHARPE coming out of SOUTH CAROLINA to the pro game. He’s built like a RB, and shows good run skills after the catch. He has dependable hands, with 9 3/4″ size. He uses those hands well to snatch balls away from his body. He blocks like a TE downfield for teammates after the catch. He also shows natural ball tracking skills. As a junior in 2018, BROWN caught 85 balls for 1,320 yards and 6 TD’s. Improving his red zone receiving production will be a big project for the coaching staff in his Rookie season. I think this was a potential steal in Round 2.
Round 3, Pick 82
NATE DAVIS OT/G CHARLOTTE 6’3/316 5.19/40 PP#156
Quite a discrepancy here between my projection for him, and where the TITANS took him. My concern is that DAVIS does not have the athleticism or size to play outside at OT in the NFL. Every thing about him indicates that he will be a much better fit inside at OG. If he can’t win a starting job right away, he might be able to hold up outside in short duty, making him a very valuable multiple position back-up on game days. He showed well all week in Mobile for the Senior Bowl. To some degree, he will be a coaching challenge, but with patience and good teaching, I think we can project him as a starting OG in a season or two.
Round 4, Pick 116
AMANI HOOKER S IOWA 5’11/210 4.51/40. PP#90
The value of this Pick kind of balances out the choice of DAVIS in Round 3. 2018 was HOOKER’s first year as a full-time starter. He had some very nice numbers in 2018, with 65 T’s, 3.5 TFL, 7 PBU’s and, 4 INT’s. He could really stand to improve his tackling technique however. He too often aims high, and fails to bring down his target. He has the speed to stay with TE’s/RB’s deep, but can be a tad slow reacting to the ball. He has the athleticism to play at the next level, but needs to refine his game some. He will help immediately on Special Teams for them.
Round 5 , Pick 168
DEANDRE WALKER ER/OB GEORGIA 6’2/251 4.70/40 PP#66
I think the TITANS got quite a value with this guy, at this slot. WALKER reminds me a lot of the player he replaced at UGA, LORENZO CARTER, who was a 3rd Round Pick by the GIANTS last year. He is a high effort guy, who shows some very natural edge rush moves. I’m not sure that he’s going to replace ORAKPO, from a skill set standpoint, but could be a time-share position player on passing downs. He gets to the ball and makes things happen. His 2018 season stats; 45 T’s, 11 TFL, 7.5 S’s, 3 PBU’s, 10 QBH’s, and 4 FF’s. You can see his versatility from that stage line. He should also excel on Special Teams, especially on kick-off coverage, where he showed well in school. He has long range starter potential, IMO.
Round 6, Pick 188
DAVID LONG LB WEST VIRGINIA 5’11/227 4.65/40 PP# 196
Once you get past his 5’11 stature and just watch game film on him, you can see him playing in the NFL. He’ll have multiple roles on Special Teams units. He has nice big 10″ hands, which he uses well to deflect blockers away from his body. He also shows natural knee bend. He can run in any direction, and shows enough athleticism to play against the run and the pass. His best value may come in hybrid roles on passing downs. He will also likely serve well as a short term fill-in in the LB crew. Good value here.
I like this Draft much more than last year’s effort. Having a couple more Picks helps, but so does better value at most every selection spot. Combine these players with veteran acquisitions of guys named WAKE, SAFFOLD, TANNEHILL, HUMPHRIES, etc. and it all adds up to a net gain in roster composition. The biggest part of the 2019 season success puzzle will once again lie on the health of Marcus Mariota.