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With the 2021 NFL draft just days away on April 29, we here are Titans Wire are giving this mock draft thing one more shot before the Tennessee Titans are officially on the clock on Thursday night at No. 22 overall.
It has been a long, exhausting march up until this point. We’ve seen literally a bajillion (give or take) mock drafts and expert opinions to make one’s head spin — but we promise, this is the last one, at least from us.
We’ve done a grand total of three dueling mock drafts thus far and in each of them Shaun Calderon has emerged victorious over John Lowell and Mike Moraitis.
However, today is a new day and each of our competitors has a new slate of picks they hope will win you over. Here’s a look at multiple final projections for the Titans’ 2021 NFL draft, and then you can vote in our Twitter poll below to tell us who did the best.
John Lowell's mock draft
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
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 (from 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
At this point, I've lost count as to how many times Shaun Calderon has defeated me in the dueling mock draft challenge. Mama didn't raise a quitter. In the first round, I decided to trade back. Sitting at No. 22 overall, I had options, and I was comfortable drafting any of them. Yes, wide receiver Elijah Moore was there, as was wideout Terrace Marshall Jr. and EDGE Azeez Ojulari. I was willing to bet that I could make a trade with the Cleveland Browns, who own No. 26 overall and still get my guy. Mission accomplished. Former Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome II is the perfect fit for what the Titans want to do on defense, and cornerback is a considerable need heading into Thursday night. While free-agent addition Bud Dupree will make his mark come September, the Titans need another menace in the trenches. EDGE Rashad Weaver, who plays with his hand in the dirt, could slot in immediately as a 5-tech or 7-tech in multiple alignments along the Titans' defensive front. A defensive line featuring Weaver, Denico Autry, and Jeffery Simmons would be unstoppable. The former Pittsburgh Panther had ten sacks in nine games in 2020. OK, on to Round 3. For those of you sweating bullets for a wide receiver, have no fear, but you'll have to wait for one more round. Interior offensive lineman Kendrick Green could be the future at either center or guard for the Titans, and the value is too good to pass up here. He's as good of a fit as anyone in the draft for the two-tone blue. Green earned an elite 92.3 run-blocking grade on outside zone. Part of the trade with the Browns was the addition of pick No. 91 at the end of the third. Enter offensive tackle Brady Christensen, who by now, I'm sure, has become familiar. He's a stud that could slot in at right tackle or transition to guard down the line. He also excelled in a zone-heavy scheme. At pick No. 100, I decided to repeat history. The last time the Titans picked here, they selected former tight end Jonnu Smith. Let's run it back with Miami tight end Brevin Jordan, an elite athlete with superior separation skills for a tight end. Linebackers won't stand a chance against one of the fastest players at his position in the nation. For rounds four and five, let's double-dip at receiver. Super-hero lookalike, wide receiver Cornell Powell, has an extremely high ceiling but wouldn't necessarily be thrust into a WR2 role early, for which he can thank Josh Reynolds. In the fifth round, I grabbed one of the best route-runners in the class, Shi Smith. He would offer an immediate impact in the slot at a hell of a value. Defensive back Deommodore Lenoir makes a ton of sense in the latter rounds but will probably need to transition to safety. He plays a physical style of football that mirrors the Titans' core. Interior offensive lineman, Sadarius Hutcherson, is one of the better guards in the class on the move and is as explosive as they come. Cornerback Shemar Jean-Charles would offer depth and competition in the DB room. Jean-Charles tied for first in the nation with 17 forced incompletions in 2020.
Shaun Calderon's mock draft
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
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
Trying to get as many top-100 picks was one of my main goals with this draft and finishing up with five satisfied that goal. After moving down three spots in Round 1 and picking up an early third-round pick, I went with the home-run-hitting slot receiver out of Ole Miss, Elijah Moore. Moore would thrive in a situation where he consistently sees one-on-ones due to all the attention that Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown require. Asante Samuel Jr. is the dream second-round pick for many, myself included. Many have their doubts as to whether he would be there, but no one had Brown or Kristian Fulton dropping as far as they did he last two years, so anything is possible. Samuel would give the Titans a viable option in the slot with eventual CB1 potential. Finishing off the compensation from Jacksonville, ‘Boogie’ Basham is an extremely versatile defender who could play inside or along the edge for Tennessee. His ability to disrupt the play from any spot along the front line should intrigue someone like Mike Vrabel. Benjamin St-Juste would give the Titans a lengthy corner who also possesses rare athleticism to combine with his size. A combination of Samuel and St-Juste would immediately make that cornerback room much more exciting than what they started the weekend with. Spencer Brown is one of the most athletic offensive linemen in this class and would be able to instantly compete for the starting right tackle spot in a zone-blocking scheme like Tennessee’s. At the start of Day 3, the Titans take arguably the best blocking tight end to help lead the way for Henry while snatching one of the most natural benders in Round 5 to help chase the quarterback. In Round 6 I have Tennessee taking a versatile offensive lineman who can play guard and tackle, along with a big-bodied receiver to complement their first-rounder. Finally, after not having any real commitment from Stephen Gostkowski, the Titans then finish off their draft weekend by taking the unanimous All-American kicker out of Miami.
Mike Moraitis' mock draft
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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
Barmore in the first round might not be a popular pick with Titans fans, but it's one that is necessary after the team lost DaQuan Jones, and with there being a lack of depth at the position overall, I went for it early. Also making it easier was the fact that there was no wide receiver available who was worthy of the No. 22 overall pick in this spot, like Rashod Bateman, or even a cornerback, like Greg Newsome or Caleb Farley. Barmore, who totaled eight sacks and nine tackles for loss in 2020, will bring more nasty to Tennessee's defensive line, and his ability to penetrate when rushing the pass or playing against the run will be an upgrade. I finally land a much-needed corner for Tennessee in Round 2 with Asante Samuel Jr., a player who already has an NFL pedigree and can play both inside and out. He also excels in man coverage. In Round 3, the Titans get a serious boost to their group of pass-catchers with Amon-Ra St. Brown and Hunter Long. At 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, St. Brown has the size to work on the outside and eventually fill the role of Corey Davis, but can also operate from the slot. He can be a possession receiver, deep threat, and everything in between. Long isn't the athletic freak Jonnu Smith was, but he's a polished route-runner with good hands and has shown flashes of being a plus blocker, something that is as important as catching passes in the Titans' offense. Round 4 seemed like a good time to finally address right tackle with D'Ante Smith sitting there. Granted, Smith will need some work, but he's at his best in a zone-blocking scheme like Tennessee's. With the Titans' final four picks, we landed a pair of edge rushers in Shaka Toney and Malcolm Koonce, as well as a burner in Jaelon Darden and an interior offensive lineman in Drake Jackson. Toney and Koonce are two developmental players, but both are also impressive athletes who figure to be at least pass-rush specialists at the next level, with the possibility that they develop into every-down players. Darden is an explosive playmaker who should operate out of the slot and have touches manufactured for him, and he can contribute as a returner. Jackson provides some depth on the inside in 2021 while having an outside chance to develop into a starting center or guard down the road.
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Check out our previous dueling mock drafts!