How Titans can have the perfect 2020 NFL Draft, starting with their future lockdown cornerback

The Tennessee Titans were one of the biggest surprises of the 2019 season. After missing the postseason in 2018, they made it all the way to the AFC Championship game thanks to the league’s leading rusher and the AP Comeback Player of the year. General manager Jon Robinson made the executive decision to keep both of the players that helped the Titans reach a new level of success — re-signing Ryan Tannehill to a long-term deal and placing the franchise tag on Derrick Henry — but there are still some holes the Titans have left to fill. Former starting right tackle Jack Conklin is now a member of the Cleveland Browns, five-time Pro Bowler and defensive lineman Jurrell Casey was traded to the Denver Broncos and the Titans have an issue at cornerback.

Tennessee has six draft picks to utilize later this month, and if they use them right, the Titans could find themselves right back in the AFC Championship game. Let’s take a look at what a perfect draft would look like for Tennessee later this month. 

Step 1: Take a cornerback with first pick

If you have been paying attention to recent mock drafts, many have the Titans taking either a cornerback, pass rusher or offensive tackle with the No. 29 overall pick. If it was my call, I would take a cornerback, as I believe this is Tennessee’s biggest need.

Malcolm Butler and Adoree’ Jackson are decent starters, but those two are really the only cornerbacks with extensive NFL experience. We don’t know where Logan Ryan is going to be playing in 2019, and the Titans need someone who could come in and start right away. A.J. Terrell out of Clemson would be a great pick, or they could go with Jeff Gladney out of TCU. The Titans could also hope someone like Trevon Diggs out of Alabama falls to them.

For those of you that are convinced the Titans need to take an edge rusher or an offensive tackle with their first-round pick, it wouldn’t be a bad move, but I’ll explain why the other two positions shouldn’t be first priority — starting with offensive tackle. 

Step 2: Draft an offensive tackle with starting potential

There’s no doubt that the Titans need to draft an offensive tackle in the 2020 NFL Draft. The loss of stalwart right tackle Jack Conklin is a pretty big one, but the Titans did re-sign swing tackle Dennis Kelly and appear ready to give him an opportunity to start opposite of Taylor Lewan.

Still, the Titans need another young, capable offensive tackle on roster for depth or if Kelly can’t maintain his spot in the starting lineup. I have my eye on Isaiah Wilson out of Georgia, who CBS NFL Draft writer Chris Trapasso says has the potential to be a road-grader on the right side.

Step 3: Depth at EDGE rusher

I believe the Titans have their two starting pass rushers entering next season. Harold Landry put up a career-high nine sacks and appears like an up-and-coming star, plus the Titans signed former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley. In 2016, Beasley recorded 39 combined tackles and a league-leading 15.5 sacks. He was named a First Team All-Pro and was selected to his only Pro Bowl. While he hasn’t matched that level of production since, I believe a change of scenery could do wonders for him. 

The Titans also re-signed reserve pass rusher Kamalei Correa, but having another player who could potentially come in and start would be great as well. You can never have too many pass rushers. 

Step 4: Scout the deep wide receiver class and decide on one

This is one of the deepest wide receiver classes in recent memory, and the Titans should take advantage of it. While they struck gold with A.J. Brown in the second round last year, Corey Davis hasn’t yet proven he’s an elite receiver and the Titans also lost Tajae Sharpe to the Minnesota Vikings — who was second on the team in receiving touchdowns with four. 

There are plenty of receivers who will be available in day two or three that are intriguing options. Who knows how far Bryan Edwards out of South Carolina will fall with his foot issue, plus there are other potential dynamic playmakers the Titans can consider like Lynn Bowden Jr. out of Kentucky or Jauan Jennings out of Tennessee. Do the Titans have to take a receiver with one of their later picks? Not necessarily. If they are all-in on a third-round prospect, then go get him. 

Step 5: Draft a running back 

Some analysts such as my colleague Will Brinson believe the Titans should use their first-round pick to select the top running back in the draft, but I think that’s pretty ambitious. I like where his head is at, though. Since Henry received the franchise tag after doing all he could to secure a long-term extension, could he hold out? Could this be the last year Henry will be in Tennessee? The Titans also released Dion Lewis, so a versatile rookie running back could step into that role as more of a pass-catching back. 

A couple of other position groups I would consider are the defensive line and the quarterback. The Titans need a new starter at defensive end with Casey gone, and a new rookie backup quarterback would be interesting. But if the Titans accomplish all five of my steps, I believe this would be an “A+” draft. 

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