The Tennessee Titans were able to fill some key holes on their roster in free agency. However, there are still some places that the team needs to improve on through the draft. After losing Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan, the team brought in Cameron Wake to rush the passer, but they need more at the position. Last year’s second round pick Harold Landry needs a running mate at outside linebacker. The team could also use another weapon for quarterback Marcus Mariota, despite adding slot receiver Adam Humphries in free agency. The team could also elect to add someone up front to pair with star Jurrell Casey. There are a lot of ways the team could go, here is who the FPC Titans staff thinks will be a Titan in late April.
TE T.J. Hockensen, Iowa
With the 19th pick in this years draft, the Tennessee Titans should select TJ Hockensen, the tight end from Iowa. This move makes perfect sense for the young Titans.
Last season, the Titans lost Delanie Walker late in the first game of the season to a gruesome leg injury. That left a real hole in the offense that was hard to fill. The team often struggled moving the chains on third and medium distances. Walker has been as reliable of a go-to option as any tight end in the league. While age, attrition, and injuries will likely limit Walker’s statistical impact his importance goes without stating. Which leads me to the drafting of Hockensen. Why Hockensen and not one of the other tight ends like Noah Fant? Simple. Both Fant and Hockensen are athletic freaks, but Hockensen has a distinct advantage over Fant in the blocking game. This will likely lead to him seeing the field early and often for the Titans.
Experience and mentorship go a long way in a young tight end’s development. There aren’t many better tight end mentors than Walker. Hockensen will immediately help with pass protection for Marcus Mariota. Mariota can also utilize Hockensen’s elite athleticism and play making ability in play action and when he has to improvise in the pocket. Ultimately, Hockensen makes a ton of sense for the Titans because he is an every down tight end that can make an immediate impact this season. Hockensen would make a great heir apparent as Walker’s playing career is nearing an end.
WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
EDGE Brian Burns, Florida State
Although getting Marcus Mariota another weapon should be near the top of the Titans’ list of priorities, pass-rusher is the most pressing need. Burns may not make it to the 19th pick, but if he does, Tennessee should jump on it. Obviously, General Manager Jon Robinson should be taking the best player available, but if one of the elite EDGE prospects is there, he needs to take him. Burns would be the perfect addition to the Titans’ defense. The secondary and linebacking corps are loaded, but the Titans main problem has been getting pressure on opposing passers. With Andrew Luck, Deshaun Watson, and now Nick Foles in the AFC South, Tennessee needs to prioritize rushing the passer.
Burns would be a great complement to Landry at outside linebacker. Replacing aging Orakpo and Morgan with Landry and Burns, with Wake coming in as a situational pass-rusher would be a major upgrade for Tennessee. Wide receiver is a deep position in this draft and the Titans could find one in the second round. Pass rusher is a thin position for the Titans and must be the top priority in the draft. Burns is the prospect I am hoping will fall to 19 for Tennessee.