Look for the Titans to focus on defense early in the NFL Draft
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Considering how bad the Titans offense looked for most of the year, it was a shock that they snuck into the playoffs in 2017. Marcus Mariota looked lost at times during the year as evident by his touchdown to interception ratio of 13:15. The offense was one of the more bland units in the league with a minimal amount of downfield passing. With the change at Head Coach to Mike Vrabel, odds are that there will be even more of an emphasis on the ground game in 2018. In Fantasy drafts, Mariota has the appeal of a bounce-back candidate this year, but with the limited potential he has in the passing game it’s hard to really see that happening. He’ll be drafted as a mid-tier QB2, and it’s very likely that is where he will finish the 2018 season.
With the departure of DeMarco Murray, the sky was the apparent limit for the perceived value of Derrick Henry. That lasted all of a week with the team bringing in Dion Lewis to form yet another running back time share. Henry will have the higher ceiling of the two, as he will garner most of the early-down work, scoring opportunities, and sprinkle in some catches as well. But Lewis is not too shabby of a runner in his own right. Lewis is a dual-threat back that can shoulder the load if anything happens with Henry. He was one of the leading scorers at the position over the last couple of months of the 2017 season. Henry will likely return low-end RB1 value in Fantasy drafts in 2018, while Lewis should be a player that you look at as a Flex option early in the year.
Going into the draft, with Vrabel now the HC, I fully expect for this team to focus on the defensive side of the ball. Needs at defensive end and linebacker are of the utmost importance, while I could also see them addressing some depth along the offensive line as well.
Team Needs: DE, LB, WR
Projected Top Three Picks
First Round: Taven Bryan, DE Florida
Second Round: Malik Jefferson, LB Texas
Third Round: Orlando Brown, OT Oklahoma
The first two picks for the Titans will be on defense. Tennessee finished 15th in Fantasy defense last year, and some improvements could make the unit a better streaming option. The pick of Taven Bryan gives the Titans a player with rare athletic abilities for the position. He has a big burst up the field off the snap and has the flexibility to get around the edge. His instincts are below-average but as he develops at this level, Bryan could project out as a Pro Bowl caliber defensive end at the pro level.
The second-round pick of Malik Jefferson gives the Titans a possible replacement for Avery Williamson. Jefferson is built like the prototypical NFL linebacker with a long muscular frame. He can cover ground quickly as shown by the improvement in production from his second to third year in college. His instincts can be called into question at times and sometimes he can run himself out of a play. But his potential is something worth taking the chance on and that’s what the Titans will be banking on with this selection.
Orlando Brown is a rather intriguing prospect. He is built with a massive frame, much like his father, but he tends to rely on just that fact alone at times. His size can help him in paas protection, while it can go against him in run blocking. With his size, once he’s beaten, he’s beaten and at times will give up on a play. The coaching of Brown will determine just how high his ceiling will be in the pros. If he accepts the criticisms and puts in the work, he has the potential to be one of the better tackles in the league one day. The Titans had the fifth best offensive line last year according to Pro Football Focus, so Brown does not have to make an immediate impact to improve any Fantasy outlooks. They may need to upgrade more on the interior at some point.
Taven Bryan Featured Image: (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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