Tennessee Titans 2016 NFL Draft: Top 3 Needs

The NFL Department of Last Word on Sports will be examining the 2016 NFL Draft and the top three draft needs for all 32 NFL teams. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the Tennessee Titans. As the owners of the number one overall pick, the Titans essentially had control over the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. 

The Titans and their first-year general manager, Jon Robinson, along with the Titans staff, had the ability to control how the top of this year’s draft played out.  However, with just under two weeks to go until the NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams stepped up with a package of picks the Titans just couldn’t turn down. With Marcus Mariota, the Titans felt like they had their answer at quarterback and this allowed the Titans to pull the trigger on the trade. The huge pile of picks should allow them to build a roster around Mariota. In exchange for the Titans number one overall pick, the Rams gave up their first-round pick (15th) this year, next year’s first-round pick, both of their second-round picks (43rd & 45th) this year, and their third-round (76th) pick.

Tennessee Titans 2016 NFL Draft: Top 3 Needs

Offensive Line

The Titans gave up a league-high 54 sacks last season, and with a young quarterback, they need to improve their offensive line. Tennessee would have certainly taken Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil if they still had the first pick in the draft, but with them moving down to number 15, Tunsil will certainly be off the board. After the Ole Miss standout, the draft’s second-highest rated tackle is Ronnie Stanley, but he will most likely will gone too.

That would leave Michigan State’s Jack Conklin as the next best thing. Conklin probably isn’t the lock at left tackle that Tunsil is, but he does have the skill and strength to play the position in the NFL. Conklin’s best fit, however, might be anchoring the right side of the offensive line. He even has the ability and versatility to play the guard spot if the Titans need him to. Wherever Conklin ends up playing, whether it’s on the right side, left side, or even guard, he’d be an instant improvement to an extremely poor offensive line.

Secondary 

With the Titans having three picks in the second round (33rd, 43rd & 45th), they can fill three positions with impact players. Given that the Tennessee’s defense ranked near the bottom of the league in almost every category, the extra picks will certainly help. One of the biggest problems for the defense was in their secondary, and they didn’t do much to improve their situation through free agency. The Titans even parted ways with safety Michael Griffin, and they are not that high on any of the cornerbacks who are currently on the roster. Jason McCourty is the Titans best cover corner, but after only playing in four games last season, it’s hard to rely on his ability to stay healthy.

The Titans ranked 21st in the NFL in interceptions and allowed the third most passing touchdowns in 2015. They also ranked close to the bottom in the league in yards allowed per pass attempt, passer rating allowed, and yards per completion. Those numbers make drafting a cornerback or a safety like Karl Joseph out of West Virginia a crucial part of addressing their defensive struggles in the secondary.

Wide Receiver

With the Titans third pick coming in the second round at No. 43, they could go in any direction. They could certainly draft another offensive lineman or even someone on the defensive front seven, which Dick LeBeau would love to roll the dice on. But with an offense that ranked 28th in points per game, 30th in yards per game, and 25th in passing yards per game, they could use the help at the wide receiver position.

Wideout Kendall Wright showed some potential last season, but he’s been hampered by injuries and hasn’t been able to duplicate the 1,000-yard season he had in his second year in the league back in 2012. Last year’s rookie wide receiver, Dorial Green-Beckman, who the Titans believe has the potential to be a true number one wide receiver, led all wide receivers on the team with 32 receptions for 549 yards and four touchdowns. The team’s overall leader in receiving yards was their tight end Delanie Walker, who had 94 receptions for 1,088 yards and six touchdowns. Mariota could use a true number two wide receiver to go along with the quality group of wide receivers he already has at his disposal. The Titans really are one good wide receiver away from having a solid group. And someone like Tyler Boyd out of Pittsburgh could fit the bill. He’s a six-foot-one receiver who is one of the most consistent route runners in his draft class. He could come in and be a great second receiver with Green-Beckham developing into a solid number one receiver.

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