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After months of speculation and mock drafts by experts, the Tennessee Titans will finally reveal their plans for the 2021 NFL draft when they are on the clock at No. 22 overall in the first round on Thursday night.
General manager Jon Robinson has a ton of draft capital to work with, as the Titans hold a grand total of nine picks in this year’s draft, including one in each round and a pair of selections in the third and sixth rounds.
And speaking of Robinson: he’s going to have a lot of pressure on him this year after a poor showing from the 2020 draft class that was a result of off-the-field antics (Isaiah Wilson) and injury.
While our guess is as good as any, we’re going out on a limb and making eight predictions for how things will go for the Titans throughout the course of the 2021 NFL draft, which spans three days from April 29 to May 1.
1. Titans will make multiple trades
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
The Titans can afford to be aggressive in this year's draft with the team having nine selections in total. That means we could see them move up at any time to grab a player they covet. However, we also can't rule out the Titans trading back if there isn't a player they like in any particular spot. After Tennessee made one draft-day deal in 2020, we see at least two trades going down in 2021. We wouldn't mind one of those trades being a deal with the Chicago Bears for wide receiver Anthony Miller that has the Titans sending a Day 3 pick to the Windy City.
2. Caleb Farley won't make it past Titans at No. 22
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
The Titans are no strangers to taking a chance on players with medical concerns after drafting Jeffery Simmons in 2019. Granted, Farley's concerns are a bit more worrisome due to the multiple back surgeries he's had, but he's as worth the risk as Simmons was two years ago because he'd be a top-10 pick if not for his injury history. Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson recently reported that he's hearing the New Orleans Saints want to trade up to grab Farley, and they feel they have to move ahead of the Titans in order to land him. https://twitter.com/joerexrode/status/1387046768416722945 If Farley is on the board at No. 22, we don't think he makes it past the Titans. Should Farley get taken earlier than Tennessee's first-round pick, we see them going in a different direction entirely.
3. Titans won't take a WR in Round 1
AP Photo/Andy Clayton- King
If the aforementioned scenario with Farley doesn't play out, we see the Titans skipping taking a cornerback on Day 1. Adding to that, we also don't believe Tennessee will take a wide receiver in Round 1, as the depth at those two positions is enough for the team to wait until Day 2. Instead, the Titans will go for a position with less depth, like at defensive line, where they could nab talented Alabama prospect Christian Barmore with the 22nd pick to fill the void left by the departure of DaQuan Jones. Barmore is my personal pick for the Titans at No. 22 overall. We also wouldn't rule out the team taking a linebacker or safety based on the latest buzz surrounding the team. Offensive tackle is a more realistic possibility than those two positions, though.
4. Titans will draft a slot receiver on Day 2
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With Josh Reynolds and A.J. Brown prepared to man the outside in 2021, the Titans don't really need a prototypical big-bodied outside receiver at the moment. Look for Tennessee to grab a smaller slot receiver who can also be a deep threat with one of their three Day 2 picks. If Ole Miss' Elijah Moore is still around when the Titans pick in Round 2, it's doubtful he gets past them.
5. Titans will wait on EDGE, TE, OT
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Going into the offseason, no position was more talked about for the Titans than EDGE, but thanks to the signing of Bud Dupree, Tennessee is going to wait on taking one. And we feel the same way about tight end and offensive tackle thanks to the Titans' lack of utilization of the position in the passing game the past few years and the Isaiah Wilson debacle, respectively. Look for Tennessee to wait until late Day 2 at the earliest to address these positions.
6. Titans will double-dip at CB and/or WR
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The two positions lacking the most depth for the Titans going into the 2021 NFL draft right now are at cornerback and wide receiver. With this being the case, look for the Titans to double-dip at one of these positions. If it's at wide receiver, we have the Titans taking a slot receiver on Day 2, and then looking for a pick of a bigger-bodied receiver on Day 3. If it's at corner, Tennessee will draft one who can play outside and another for the slot.
7. Titans will draft a kicker on Day 3
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We still don't have any clarity on Tennessee's kicker situation, as the team figures to be awaiting a decision from veteran Stephen Gostkowski. Even if he returns, Tennessee might be right back in this boat again in 2022. The Titans have the luxury of drafting a kicker this year thanks to the team having a ton of selections. Not to mention, with the even bigger crapshoot that is the later rounds, grabbing the draft's best kicker is a better bet to hit on a prospect than selecting players at most other positions. If the Titans do grab a kicker, that might signal Gostkowski isn't coming back. Some kickers to watch on Day 3 for Tennessee are Florida's Evan McPherson and Miami's Jose Borregales.
8. Titans will draft or sign a quarterback
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Whether it be with a late-round pick or a UDFA signing, the Titans are going to add a quarterback at some point. While Ryan Tannehill is locked-in as Tennessee's starter for the next few years at least, his backup, Logan Woodside, is anything but a sure bet if Tannehill goes down to injury. Adding a quarterback gives the Titans more options and a young signal-caller will have a chance to compete for the backup job in training camp with Woodside and DeShone Kizer. And, who knows, maybe the Titans find a diamond in the rough.
Check out our final mock drafts!
Here's a look at the final projections of our writers, some of which include trades.
Round 1, Pick 26 (via CLE): CB Greg Newsome II, Northwestern Round 2, Pick 53: EDGE Rashad Weaver, Pittsburgh Round 3, Pick 85: IOL Kendrick Green, Illinois Round 3, Pick 91 (via CLE): OT Brady Christensen, BYU Round 3, Pick 100: TE Brevin Jordan, Miami Round 4, Pick 126: WR Cornell Powell, Clemson Round 5, Pick 166: WR Shi Smith, South Carolina Round 6, Pick 205: DB Deommodore Lenoir, Oregon Round 6, Pick 215: IOL Sadarius Hutcherson, South Carolina Round 7, Pick 232: CB Shemar Jean-Charles, Appalachian State
Round 1, Pick 25 (via JAX): WR Elijah Moore, Ole Miss Round 2, Pick 53: CB Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State Round 3, Pick 65 (via JAX): EDGE Carlos Basham, Wake Forest Round 3, Pick 85: CB Benjamin St-Juste, Minnesota Round 3, Pick 100: OT Spencer Brown, Northern Iowa Round 4, Pick 126: TE Tommy Tremble, Notre Dame Round 5, Pick 166: EDGE Chris Rumph, Duke Round 6, Pick 205: OL D’Ante Smith, East Carolina Round 6, Pick 215: WR Cornell Powell, Clemson Round 7, Pick 232: K Jose Borregales, Miami
Round 1, Pick 22: DL Christian Barmore, Alabama Round 2, Pick 53: CB Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State Round 3, Pick 85: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC Round 3, Pick 100: TE Hunter Long, Boston College Round 4, Pick 126: OT D’Ante Smith, East Carolina Round 5, Pick 166: EDGE Shaka Toney, Penn State Round 6, Pick 205: WR Jaelon Darden, North Texas Round 6, Pick 215: IOL Drake Jackson, Kentucky Round 7, Pick 232: EDGE Malcolm Koonce, Buffalo [chalkline game="nfl-draft-2021">