Earlier in the offseason, I previewed what I think the Tennessee Titans should do in free agency. I specifically looked at the cornerback, linebacker and offensive guard positions in free agency.
With the NFL Combine behind us, it is time to focus on who Tennessee could select in the 2019 NFL Draft. Below you will find my first attempt at helping an already talented Titans roster heading into the new NFL season.
Round 1, Pick 19: Byron Murphy, CB Washington
I think the Titans could go a number of different ways here. Before the Rodger Saffold signing, I had the Titans taking Garrett Bradbury here. Now, I think the Titans take the best available defensive back. Murphy is long and rangy, and has great ball skills. I don’t see both Logan Ryan (free agent next year) or Malcolm Butler (due $11 million in 2020) being on the team in the near future. Murphy gives Mike Vrabel a physical corner he can center his defense around. Again, the Titans could draft a variety of different players. General manager Jon Robinson likes to go best player available, and does here with Murphy.
Round 2, Pick 51: Deebo Samuel, WR South Carolina
How many wide receivers have the Titans missed on in recent drafts? Tennessee added former Buccaneers WR Adam Humphries via free agency. I like this move, as it allows Taywan Taylor to play more outside. With this pick, the Titans take arguably the best route runner in the draft in Samuel. The South Carolina product is as polished as they come, and has sticky hands. He would fit perfectly as the number two receiver behind Corey Davis, and will be productive at the next level. Davis made strided in 2018, and will continue to improve with more help. The Titans have been known to draft duds at this position. That ends with Samuel.
Round 3, Pick 83: Dawson Knox, TE Ole Miss
Delanie Walker missed all of 2018 with a brutal leg injury. The Titans draft is eventual successor in Knox, who is a complete tight end. Knox can learn under Walker for a few seasons before taking over as TE1. First-year offensive coordinator Arthur Smith is renowned for his work with tight ends. The former tight end coach gets Knox, a prospect with an enormous ceiling, to mold into a star.
Round 4, Pick 122: Khalen Saunders, IDL Western Illinois
In terms of effort, Khalen Saunders may be my favorite draft prospect. At 6 feet, 318 pounds, Saunders is an immovable object in the running game. Current Titans defensive tackle Bennie Logan may not be brought back in 2019. But even if he is, the Titans could use Saunders immediately in their rotation. If Saunders had played at a power 5 school, he’d be in the second round range. Robinson and the Titans get a steal in the fourth round.
Round 5, Pick 158: Jalen Jelks, EDGE Oregon
The Titans made a smart move by signing Cameron Wake in free agency. The 37-year-old is a future Hall of Famer, and can serve as a player-coach for a few seasons. His first pupil could be Jalen Jelks. Jelks has incredible potential and value in the fifth round. His best trait is getting to the quarterback, but he can play the run well too. While Jelks might only be a two down player to start, he is exactly what Tennessee needs. He will have time to learn from one of the best pass rushers ever.
Round 7, Pick 235: Brett Rypien, QB Boise State
For contract purposes alone, Marcus Mariota will be the quarterback in 2019. After that, the Titans will need to reevaluate. Rypien has the talent and skill set to be in the NFL. This is a no risk, high reward pick at a potential need in the future. If Mariota fails to succeed this season with a better supporting cast, the Titans can either take a chance on Rypien or draft a QB next year. Or both.
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