The 2018 NFL Draft is now under two weeks away, which means that Draftmas is back. Draftmas will take a look at each NFL team heading into the NFL Draft, what their needs are and who they could be targeting. You will find it here. Draftmas will continue with the Tennessee Titans 2018 NFL Draft profile.
In 2017, the Tennessee Titans surprised many by sneaking into the playoffs with a 9-7 record. After a late three-game skid, a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars helped them reach the postseason. In the Wild Card round, the Titans pulled off one of the most exciting upsets of the year by defeating the Kansas City Chiefs.
Despite their relative success, it was not enough to save head coach Mike Mularkey’s job. Mularkey lost the trust of the Titans’ front office and was blamed for the regression of quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Titans hired former Houston Texans’ defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel to replace Mularkey.
The Titans’ offense was just average in 2017, ranking 19th in points and 23rd in yards. The decline in Mariota’s play was evident, as he only threw 13 touchdowns with 15 interceptions. Despite playing with talented running backs and a reliable offensive line, Mariota made several wrong decisions, putting his team in a bad position. The Titans’ offense relied heavily on the ground game, powered by DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. Henry got hot late in the season and showed great potential. New offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur will have plenty of talent to work with and should be able to improve after a disappointing season.
Along with their offense, Tennessee’s defense also ranked in the middle of the pack in 2017. Despite having the fourth-best rushing defense in the NFL, the Titans had one of the worst passing defenses in the league. The Titans gave up nearly 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns through the air this season, which is in the bottom 10 in both categories. The addition of free agent Malcolm Butler will help, but the Titans will still need to focus on helping their defense in this year’s draft.
Picks and Needs
The Tennessee Titans have six picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, the lowest amount they have had since 2014.
First round (1 pick): 25
Second round (1): 57
Third round (1): 89
Fourth round (1): 125
Fifth round (1): 162
Sixth round (1): 199
Seventh round (0):
Wide receiver – The Titans selected Corey Davis at the beginning of the 2017 NFL Draft, and he had a very rough rookie season. He suffered a hamstring injury early in the year and struggled to bounce back, tallying up only 375 yards. With Rishard Matthews and Taywan Taylor as the other main receiving targets, the Titans may look for an upgrade in the draft.
Guard – The Titans’ have two solid starting guards in Quinton Spain and Josh Kline, but they could be improved upon. Derrick Henry and the newly-signed Dion Lewis will make a strong one-two punch and will use all the help they can get. With tackles Jack Conklin and Taylor Lewan on the outside, adding a strong guard may push the team’s rushing attack over the top.
Nose tackle – DaQuan Jones and Jurrell Casey are excellent 3-4 defensive ends and help set the edge for Tennessee’s athletic pass rushers. However, they lack a strong inside presence on the defensive line. A talented nose tackle that takes up double-team blocks will make the Titans’ pass rush even better.
Inside linebacker – The loss of Avery Williamson in free agency hurts this team’s depth at the linebacker position. Williamson and Wesley Woodyard formed a dynamic duo, and the Titans now need to find his replacement.
Safety – Kevin Byard was one of the best safeties in the NFL last season, but he could use a running mate. Byard plays free safety, meaning the Titans’ will likely need a strong safety to play in the box. With how awful the Titans’ pass defense was in 2017, any additional depth on the back end would be helpful.
Pick No. 25: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Evans plays extremely fast and can play well against the run and pass. At Alabama, Evans displayed his ability to tackle ball carriers in the backfield as well as rush the passer. He will be able to fill the void left by Avery Williamson and should start right away. Evans needs some additional coaching, but that will not be an issue given that coach Mike Vrabel was a linebacker himself.
Pick No. 57: Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford
There have been varying opinions on his ability to play nose tackle in the NFL, but Phillips has elite strength and was very productive in college. His upper body strength and competitiveness helps him close inside running lanes. He is also very smart and understands blocking schemes. If he were to come to Tennessee, he could enter the defensive line rotation with Jurrell Casey and DaQuan Jones.
Pick No. 89: Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State
In a thin receiver class, Gallup may not fall to the Titans at pick 89. Gallup put up impressive numbers in his time with Colorado State, utilizing his impressive build and speed. He also has shown impressive ball skills and reliability. Gallup has room to grow as a route-runner, but has shown improvement during last season. Gallup could compete right away as the Titans’ second wide receiver behind Corey Davis.
The Tennessee Titans have a very complete roster and should be in the Wild Card hunt again next season. With a talented defense and running game, the fate of the Titans’ season sits solely on the shoulders of quarterback Marcus Mariota. If he can bounce back, there is no reason why the Titans will not be back in the playoffs in 2018.
Enjoy the days of Draftmas here at The Game Haus! Make sure to tune in tomorrow for the Atlanta Falcons 2018 NFL Draft profile.