Titans land in bottom half of PFF’s 2022 roster rankings

The Tennessee Titans have very different situations on each side of the ball ahead of the 2022 season.

On defense, Tennessee is mostly set, returning all but one of their starters from a 2021 season in which they saw a revival and had one of the better units in the NFL.

The biggest question mark on what figures to be an elite unit is at cornerback, where Caleb Farley is set to take over for Jackrabbit Jenkins.

Farley is coming off a shaky first season in the NFL. Not only did he tear his ACL, adding to existing injury concerns, but he wasn’t very effective even when he was on the field.

Things are far less certain on offense. Ryan Tannehill is coming off a down year and is on the hot seat, and Tennessee traded wide receiver A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Titans will look to replace Brown and WR Julio Jones, who was released this spring, with rookie Treylon Burks and veteran Robert Woods. Burks has had issues staying on the practice field, and there’s no telling what Woods will provide in his first year back from a torn ACL.

Also, the Titans will have two new starters along the offensive line. Dillon Radunz figures to take the right tackle job, and left guard will see a competition between Jamarco Jones and Aaron Brewer. All three players vying for starting roles have little to no experience as a starter, though.

As a result of at least some of these question marks, Pro Football Focus’ Ben Linsey placed the Titans at No. 20 on his list ranking the rosters of all 32 teams. Here’s his take on Tennessee’s roster:

Biggest strength: The Titans have some uncertainty at the cornerback position, but they have one of the best playmaking safeties in the league to help clean things up in the secondary. Since 2017, Kevin Byard ranks first among safeties in interceptions (23) and is tied for second in pass breakups (29), behind only Adrian Amos. He is joined by Amani Hooker, who had an extremely impressive 2021 season (85.9 PFF grade) in his own right.

Biggest weakness: The Titans replaced A.J. Brown and Julio Jones at wide receiver with Robert Woods and Treylon Burks this offseason. There are certainly worse ways to go about replacing that talent at wide receiver, but Tennessee will now be heavily reliant on a 30-year-old coming off a midseason torn ACL and a rookie who spent most of his time in the slot against off coverage at the college level. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (509 career receiving yards) is Tennessee’s top option behind those two.

X factor for 2022: Caleb Farley, Tennessee’s 2021 first-round pick, wasn’t able to escape an injury history that was his biggest concern coming out of Virginia Tech in his first season with the Titans. Farley appeared in just three games before a torn ACL cut his rookie season short. He has the size, speed and ball skills to develop into a true No. 1 cornerback, but he has to remain on the field to do so.

While the Titans’ secondary has plenty of talent, we disagree with Linsey that the team’s biggest strength is in that area. Instead, it’s the pass rush.

Tennessee finished tied with the ninth-most sacks in the NFL last season, and there’s room for improvement in that area after Bud Dupree struggled in his first season back from a torn ACL. Dupree did round into form later in the season, though, so there’s hope better things are ahead.

Linsey hits the nail on the head in calling the Titans’ biggest weakness the wide receiver position. We already mentioned the concerns about Burks and Woods, and there is a lack of experience throughout the group.

We fully expect Tennessee to make a move here and add a veteran body before or during training camp.

Farley is a decent pick for the team’s X-factor, but we’d go with Burks instead considering Tennessee’s dire need for someone to step up at the position.

Despite their issues, the Titans have a playoff-caliber roster. The only question is whether this same playoff-caliber team has what it takes to go all the way.


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