The 2020 NFL Draft has come and gone, and the Tennessee Titans did their best to improve on their playoff team from a year ago. With the selections the team has made, the Titans look poised to get back to the playoffs in 2020 and make a run at the Lombardi Trophy. Out of their six draft selections, there were some apparent steals and a few surprises from this past weekend.
Starting with the 29th pick, the team opted to improve on the offensive side of the ball. After that, head coach Mike Vrabel and general manager Jon Robinson did a decent job filling needs and continue helping their offense improve under 2019 Comeback Player of the year, Ryan Tannehill. Let’s take a look at how the Titans 2020 Draft class grades out.
Who did the Tennessee Titans draft?
Round 1, Pick 29: Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
Round 2, Pick 61: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Round 3, Pick 93: Darrynton Evans, RB, Appalachian State
Round 5, Pick 174: Larrell Murchison, DL, North Carolina State
Round 7, Pick 224: Cole McDonald, QB, Hawaii
Round 7, Pick 243: Chris Jackson, S, Marshall
Best Player: Isaiah Wilson
Tennessee filled a significant need at right tackle by selecting the massive Georgia tackle, Isaiah Wilson. The team had a gaping hole at the position entering the draft, following the loss of Jack Conklin in free agency to the Cleveland Browns. The Titans did well at filling that position with one of the top prospects left at the position in round one.
Wilson is a mauler at right tackle who engulfs defenders and overpowers most linemen he faces. He also has functional agility for the position and saw his draft stock soar leading up to the NFL Combine. He was a two-year starter for the Bulldogs and should start right away for a Titans team looking to physically dominate teams with the run again in 2020.
Best Value: Kristian Fulton
The Titans’ selection of LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton may have been one of my favorite picks in the entire draft. I had Fulton pegged as a first-rounder for the entirety of the pre-draft process. Therefore, the value here in the second round was tremendous, especially considering their immediate need at the position. The Tigers have been a pipeline for defensive back talent and stars at the cornerback position such as Patrick Peterson, Donte Jackson, and Tre’ Davious White in recent years.
Logan Ryan is still a free agent, and the team needs a respectable starter opposite former first-rounder Adoree’ Jackson. Fulton will step in as a starter right away for the Titans and revamp this secondary. He has tons of starting experience and is a great technician. Had the Titans selected Fulton in the first and Wilson in the second, this draft would have looked better on the surface and may have even received a higher draft grade.
Biggest Reach: Isaiah Wilson
Even though Wilson filled a significant need for this team, that does not mean it was the right selection. In this case, the team would have been better off taking the best player available approach. Tennessee would have improved more as a team by adding an elite talent in the secondary such as safety Xavier McKinney from Alabama with the 29th pick.
In the second round, Josh Jones from Houston was available for the Titans and is a player I had rated even higher than Wilson coming into the draft. The combination of McKinney and Jones would have served the team better from a need and talent perspective. Without question, the Titans improved their offensive line, but the pick of Wilson in the first round was a reach talent-wise. That fact is reflected in my 2020 NFL Draft grade for the Titans.
Biggest Sleeper: Darrynton Evans
The considerable run on running backs on the draft’s second day culminated with the Titans’ selection of Evans in the third round. He was the ninth back taken on the draft’s second day and certainly one of the most intriguing. The team did well to replace Dion Lewis with Evans, who ran a 4.41 at the combine and recorded 2,064 all-purpose yards and 24 total touchdowns as a junior in 2019. Take a look below, as Evans gets the call from Tennessee on draft day.
— Chris Boyle (@ChrisBoyleDBNJ) April 25, 2020
Evans is a shifty runner with great acceleration and speed that should step into Lewis’ change of pace role right away and provide a tremendous complement to Derrick Henry. He is not a great inside runner, but he is extremely agile and also does a great job catching the football. I love the value here with Evans, and he will be another excellent weapon for Tannehill and this Titans’ offense.
Draft Grade: C+
The Titans addressed some of their most prominent needs heading into the 2020 NFL Draft, but that is not the only aspect reflected in my draft grade. My biggest concern was their inability to maximize the value on the board throughout much of the process. Wilson was a reach in the first, and while Evans is a good player, there were better prospects on the board at the time of his selection.
The good thing for Tennessee is that they are a team already built for a playoff run, assuming the good health of their quarterback, Tannehill. Each of their first three picks should contribute in year one, which bodes well for their immediate success. However, the long-term standing of this team is a question mark and that is due to the overall lack of talent added to the team this offseason.
Scott Gorman is a writer for PFN covering the 2021 NFL Draft. You can follow him at @sgormanPFN on Twitter.