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Following the first month-plus of free agency, the Tennessee Titans will now embark on the 2022 NFL draft, which begins on April 28 and takes place in Las Vegas.
While Tennessee has been fairly quiet in free agency, the team has addressed some of its needs so far this offseason.
The signing of Austin Hooper and trade for Robert Woods provided upgrades at the tight end and wide receiver positions, respectively, and Tennessee has made additions to depth and special teams spots.
However, there are still some major glaring holes the team needs to take care of, and there are others that don’t necessarily need an immediate solution but could use some “TLC.”
So, which positions exactly should the Titans be targeting first and foremost going into the draft?
Here’s a look at the team’s biggest needs, ranked, as well as some honorable mentions the Titans could address during the three-day event.
1. Left guard
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack
The Titans currently have two (and maybe three) options for the starting left guard spot, which was vacated following the release of Rodger Saffold.
Jamarco Jones and Aaron Brewer are the most obvious choices, but Dillon Radunz could also factor in after seeing snaps in practice at guard and tackle last season. It is important to note, however, that Radunz’s only start came at tackle, so that’s where we have him penciled in for now.
What do all three of those players have in common? They have little to no starting experience and there’s no telling how they’ll do in a full-time role.
Adding to that, right guard Nate Davis will be a free agent next offseason and there’s a chance he might not be back. The Titans must address the position now or else they could be facing needs at both guard spots in 2023.
2. Wide receiver
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The addition of Woods no doubt helped, but the Titans have more work to do here, especially considering Bobby Trees could be a one-year solution. Sure, Dez Fitzpatrick could also help shore up the position, but there’s no telling what Tennessee will get out of him in Year 2.
Not only could Tennessee use a player who can contribute as a No. 3 option in 2022 to give Ryan Tannehill more much-needed help, but also one who can be a long-term option to build around, along with A.J. Brown.
Thanks to Woods, who can line up pretty much anywhere, receivers who can work either outside or in the slot are on the table for the Titans.
3. Right tackle
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You would assume 2021 second-round pick Dillon Radunz would be ready to step into a starting role in his second season, and if that’s the case (we don’t know yet), this isn’t as big of a need.
But Radunz was a major disappointment in Year 1 and there is rightly some skepticism about his future after he couldn’t earn a starting job and had very little opportunities in live game action during his rookie campaign. Also, there is some thought that his future could be at guard, not tackle.
All that said, even if Radunz is the solution on the right side, Taylor Lewan is 31 and will either play out the final year of his deal or be a cap casualty in 2023, so it wouldn’t hurt to start thinking about the future there.
4. Tight end
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As was the case with Woods at wide receiver, the addition of Hooper helps the Titans’ need at tight end, but for how long? Hooper is only on a one-year deal, so it’s possible Tennessee is back to square one in 2023.
Adding a tight end in this draft would allow the Titans to bring the rookie along slowly thanks to Hooper and Geoff Swaim set to man the top two spots on the depth chart.
Ideally, the Titans land a two-way tight end who can both block and be a plus in the passing game.
As important as blocking tight ends are in Tennessee’s offense, the team’s lack of use of the position in the passing game in recent years makes this need less important than the first three.
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Even if the Titans draft a quarterback, Ryan Tannehill will be the starter in 2022, so this need pails in comparison to the other four as far as immediate need goes.
That said, it doesn’t hurt to have a plan for the future at the most important position, especially with Tannehill’s recent struggles, and with the fact that he will be in the final year of his deal in 2023 and could become a cap casualty.
Even with all that being true, it would be surprising to see the Titans go after a signal-caller earlier than the middle rounds with more immediate needs to address.
AP Photo/John Amis
Cornerback: When it comes to insurance policies for Caleb Farley, the more the merrier. Adding to that, Kristian Fulton has had issues staying healthy during his first two seasons, which is about the only concern for the LSU product right now.
Safety: With Amani Hooker set to hit free agency in 2023, and with Dane Cruikshank now in Chicago, the Titans could use a depth piece who has starter upside down the road.
Outside linebacker: Bud Dupree could be a cap casualty in 2023 if he struggles, but even if he does get cut the Titans could already have an in-house solution in Rashad Weaver, who the jury is still out on.
Running back: Until we see Derrick Henry’s decline, this isn’t a position we worry about. Tennessee could use an explosive, pass-catching back who can handle himself in pass protection, but spending a pick on one isn’t a must.
Punter: Brett Kern is entering the final year of his contract and didn’t look like himself last season. It wouldn’t be crazy to start planning for the future here.