With the 2022 NFL Draft just a week away, draft analysts appear to have honed in on two specific areas of need (minus a few outliers) for the Tennessee Titans: receiver and offensive line.
Both are perhaps the two deepest positions in this year’s draft class, but it could be argued that Tennessee’s holes at left guard and right tackle both outweigh the need for a third receiver.
Jamarco Jones and Dillon Radunz — Tennessee’s projected starters at left guard and right tackle, respectively — played a combined 287 snaps last season with three combined starts.
If the Titans aren’t sold on either, they have several first-round caliber options that could still be available at pick No. 26, including Tulsa’s Tyler Smith, Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning, Central Michigan’s Luke Goedeke, Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum, Boston College’s Zion Johnson, Texas A&M’s Kenyon Green or Memphis’ Dylan Parham.
If Tennessee really is committed to surrounding quarterback Ryan Tannehill with more weapons, there are up to nine receivers with a first-round grade they could choose from. Arkansas’ Treylon Burks, Penn State’s Jahan Dotson, and Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore are among others could be in play.
Listed below is a roundup of who draft experts project the Titans to take:
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College
“This is a pick for a clear need position. Johnson dominated at left guard for Boston College last season, but he could move to center if needed. The Titans have to get road graders to pave the way for Derrick Henry.”
Peter Schrager, NFL.com: Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M
“Green has interviewed well with teams the past few weeks and has an edge to him that will jell with that Titans offensive line.”
Austin Gayle, Pro Football Focus: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
“Linderbaum finished the 2021 season as PFF’s highest-graded interior offensive lineman, and the top-ranked interior offensive lineman expected to enter the 2022 NFL Draft. He’ll likely slip in the first round due to positional value, but I doubt he gets past Tennessee at Pick No. 26.”
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa
“Smith can play right tackle or slide inside to guard. His nasty play style would fit right into the Titans' physical culture.”
Todd McShay, ESPN: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
“Yes, this is a bit of a reach, but Tennessee probably wasn't planning on six wideouts being off the board already. The Titans' deal for Robert Woods was one step toward getting quarterback Ryan Tannehill more pass-catchers beyond A.J. Brown; but they shouldn't stop there, especially since Woods is returning from a torn ACL and the team cut Julio Jones. Watson is a big target who brings a vertical element to the table.”
Cynthia Frelund, NFL.com: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
“The more the Titans convince opposing teams that they can pass the ball, the better for the offense as a whole. Dotson would help Tennessee do just that as a nice complement to A.J. Brown and Robert Woods.”
Ben Linsey, Pro Football Focus: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
“It doesn’t take long when watching his tape to realize that his combination of size, speed and physicality creates problems for defenses before and after the catch. Burks made defenses pay when he did get those outside opportunities against press with 7.0 yards per route run on 49 routes over his Arkansas career.”
Anthony Threash, Pro Football Focus: Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
“The highest-graded wide receiver of the 2021 college football season wasn’t any of the Power Five top prospects — it was Western Michigan's Skyy Moore. The 5-foot-10, 195-pound receiver's 26 broken tackles after the catch tied for the most among wide receivers in 2021, and he ranked in the 95th percentile in separation percentage.”
Mike Tannenbaum, ESPN: Burks
“The Titans released Julio Jones. They traded for Robert Woods, but he is returning from a knee injury. A.J. Brown is entering a contract year. You get the point. The team has a lot of questions at the receiver position. Burks is 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, and he plays a physical style. Ryan Tannehill would love to have someone like him in the red zone, and I think he's a perfect fit for the Titans.”
Chad Reuter, NFL.com: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
“Forget the comparisons to Baker Mayfield and Mitch Trubisky — they're not representative of Howell's ability. Tennessee could be the next team to select a quarterback with a veteran already in place as Ryan Tannehill's up-and-down 2021 performance might very well still be weighing on their minds.”
Charles Davis, NFL.com: George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue
“The Titans really rebounded on defense in 2021 by getting their pass rush, led by Harold Landry, pumped up. They keep it going with Karlaftis, whose edge-pressure numbers in college were tremendous. I project him to improve his sack numbers along the way, similar to the way Landry has progressed.”
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
“Lloyd could be targeted well before this, but if he's still on the board, he's a better option than what the Titans have currently. He's a Mike Vrabel-level tough guy.”
Mike Kaye, Pro Football Network: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
“The Titans need to replace a pair of linebackers who signed elsewhere this offseason. Nakobe Dean is an instinctual playmaker who can fill the void in the middle. The Titans’ defense is constantly morphing and improving, and Dean would be the latest in a long line of smart defensive draft picks for GM Jon Robinson.”
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_