Scouting reports on key offensive prospects for the Titans

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- An offensive preview of the draft from a Titans' perspective...

As of now, the Titans' offensive needs are a starting right tackle, a backup quarterback, a backup running back, a wide receiver to replace Tajae Sharpe and a backup center to replace Jamil Douglas in 2020 and eventually replace Ben Jones.

CamAkers

(Running back Cam Akers photo courtesy Florida State athletics.)

Adding in the defensive need list all the positions of need will not be able to be filled by the six draft choices the Titans currently have.

A good reminder about draft choices: In the first three rounds, players are expected to fill a starting role at some point in their rookie season. Rounds four through seven are backup players to fill out a two-deep roster.

These later round players are just as important to a team and the roster construction as the early guys. If teams do not hit on those players, then the team is forced to add higher-priced free agents or released players to finish off the roster.BeddingfieldLabel

This is the situation the Titans are in currently. The 2016-2019 drafts with a potential 16 draft choices in rounds four-seven have produced just five players who are currently on the roster: 2019 fourth-rounder Amani Hooker, fifth-rounder D’Andre Walker and sixth-rounder David Long, 2018 fifth-rounder Dane Cruikshank, 2017 fifth-rounder Jayon Brown and no one from 2016.

Only one of those players, Brown, is currently a starter.

Rounds four through seven need to be a focus moving forward to have depth but also players developing through your system.

To be a top division team, the depth of the offensive unit will need to improve.

The only position that can be ignored during the 2020 draft is guard because of the resources committed to the position last year in free agent left guard Rodger Saffold and 2019 third-round pick right guard Nate Davis.

Here is a list of players at positions of need

Right tackle

The Titans are in need of a right tackle to replace Jack Conklin who left in free agency and to upgrade on Dennis Kelly as a starter. The tackle position in the draft is strong throughout the first two rounds with the potential of getting a future starter in the third round.

Top tackles Tristin Wilf of Iowa, Jedrick Willis of Alabama and Mechti Becton of Louisville will be off the board before the Titans select at No. 29 in the first round.

Players who could interest the Titans at No. 29:

Andrew Thomas, LT, Georgia: Very good size, body, length. Can flash all traits for a starter at left tackle, athletic ability, length, explosive, strengthened pop on contact, can combo and work to second level with success, not consistent with his feet, will leave them behind when he makes contact. Solid in pass pro, but needs to sustain better. Not a finisher or nasty player. Works to get block done and he is finished. Will be a starter at left or right tackle.

JoshJonesJosh Jones, LT, Houston: Good size and length for the position -- runs well, gets out on the second level and can make contact and wall off. Flashes good pad level and finish but isn’t consistent with it. Uses his athletic skills and feet to sustain blocks, will need to work on better footwork and technique to win vs the size/speed combo of NFL players. Starter in the NFL at left tackle, but skills indicate he can play right tackle.

Austin Jackson, LT, USC: Very good size and frame for the position. Great arm length. Very quick off the ball his initial quickness is outstanding. Still raw with his angles on reach blocks, his athleticism covers up some issues with technique and fundamentals but those are easily corrected. Can easily sit and control the outside speed rush. Doesn’t have to work set or overcompensate because he is such an easy mover with his feet. Uses his arm length well to keep defenders off his frame. Lacks patience in pass pro and the variety of pass sets, but again these are easily corrected. Inconsistent with his pad level in run game, but can bend and get on defenders. Not polished to step in immediately and be a consistent NFL player, but in a short amount of time will be a very good starting left tackle. Can improve his strength in his upper body. Starter in the NFL at LT, could play RT.

Isaiah Wilson, RT, Georgia: Tall, long arms, gets over his toes too often, but has the bend to use pad level, gets long legs wide vs. power to anchor. Doesn’t move strong defenders with his power. Covers up, but not a pile mover unless he is down-blocking. Has some development to his game. Has starting ability early in Year 1, but not immediately in the NFL unless there is a real need.

Players who could be available at #61

Lucas Niang, OT, TCU: Big frame, great length, very good athlete for his size, but doesn’t always play hard during games. At times the game comes easy to him and he looks to take plays off, but still gets the job done. I like his skills but teams will need to determine his effort and intensity level to be worthy of a high choice. (Photo courtesy TCU athletics.)

Niang

Players who could be available at #93:

Trey Adams, OT, Washington: Ideal size and traits at right tackle. Strong, tough, uses his size, length and frame to his advantage. Understands his limitations athletically and uses his strength and size well. Before his injuries he was playing at a very high level. Past injury problems are his biggest negative.

Matt Peart, OT, Connecticut: Right tackle, good size and frame, very long arms. Has some development left to his game, but has the skills to start in Year 2. Good feet, athletic traits. Has also played and started at guard. Will have the ability to be a four-position backup while developing into a right tackle starter.

Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State: Very good athlete for his size. Good length. Still not developed physically, has room to add to frame. Lacks strength in his upper body. Has been productive as a pass protector but needs strength improvement to his frame to develop into a starter. Year 2 starter while backing up during his rookie year.

Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn: Has the necessary size, frame, strength and athletic skill for the right tackle position, but his inconsistencies have always plagued his game. Whether he can develop into a NFL starter will be determined by his work ethic and willingness to learn and improve. The biggest question teams will have to answer with him is his heart and interest in being a good player.

Running back

Need: No. 2 RB to supplement Derrick Henry. No need to select a first-rounder with Henry on your roster. The running back group drops off quickly after the first three groups and each group is small in numbers.

The first group is starters. The second group consists of potential starters and situational players. The third group is strictly backup runners and situational players.

Players who could be available at No. 61:

J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State: Average size, but strong frame. Very good run balance. Uses his lack of height to his advantage. Good No. 2 RB in the NFL. Flashes enough speed and quickness to get through the initial line of scrimmage. Can attack the middle of the defense but also has enough initial speed to get the edge on a defense, but his top-end speed levels off the further he gets down the field.

Cam Akers, RB, Florida State: Top recruit coming out of high school playing on a poor college team. His best football is ahead of him. Good size, frame and combination of speed and strength. Very good receiving skills out of the backfield. Has the skills to develop into a No. 1 RB in the NFL. (Pictured above.)

Edwards HelaireClyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU: Not the ideal size, but his all-around run and receiving skills makes it easy to ignore his lack of height. Strong, tough, physical, good hands, burst and explosion, contact run balance. Lacks ideal top-end speed, but quickness and burst make up for it. Good change of pace RB.

Players who could be available at No. 93:

Zach Moss, RB, Utah: Knee injuries in the past. Very good runner. Plays with good initial quickness. A physical runner. Has good balance, vision and run instincts. I like his ability to be a runner and receiver. Has the type of run skills to take over as a starter if needed. Injury report will be important to determine where he goes.

Anthony McFarland, RB, Maryland: Good quickness. Has a jump cut and gets upfield quickly off of it. Shows a burst and some lower body explosion. Very good speed. Has the ability to turn a short run into a long one. When he is consistent with his one cut and comes downhill he can flash the big-play speed. As he has gotten older and more experienced he is starting to get more decisive in his runs. Still has a tendency to get outside too quickly at times. Good hands. Solid receiver out of the backfield. Good open-space runner. Lacks creativity when he is faced with initial defenders in his face.

Lamical Perine, RB, Florida: Very good receiver for the position. Average top-end speed, but creative runner with instincts. Also shows toughness and strength to run in between the tackles. Not a speed threat but a solid dual runner and receiver.

Quarterback

Need: Current backup to starter Ryan Tannehill which should come through free agency or a legitimate starting draft prospect. There are four immediate starters in the draft in Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert and Jake Frohm with developmental starters in Eason, Jordan Love and Jalen Hurts.

The Titans do not need to spend the #29 pick on a QB unless Tua falls because of the injury.

Backup QBs with an upside:

Pick #61

Jordan Love, QB, Utah State: Will be selected higher then I would take him. Boom or bust player and I truly believe it is 50/50. Size, arm strength, loose arm when throwing. Does have a hitch when throwing to his left, drops ball low below waist. Pats ball when throwing to his right. Needs to be cleaned up fundamentally without losing that loose arm. Lacks poise and patience. Lacks strength in frame to break arm tackles. Inaccurate on short passes. Good deep ball touch throwing on the move. Has skills to develop, but his lack of accuracy is a major concern.

Pick #174

James Morgan, QB, Florida International: Prototypical size and frame, solid athletic traits. Accuracy issues short to intermediate. Has some gunslinger to his deep throws. Not afraid to the pull the trigger. Developmental player. Lacks poise in the pocket. Doesn’t have a feel for creating throwing lanes for himself. Works his receivers because of lack of accuracy. Big arm. Aggressive throwing mentality. Size to work with.

Wide receiver

Need: Immediate replacement for Tajae Sharpe who left in free agency and future replacement for Corey Davis -- I expect the Titans to decline his fifth-year option, which will make him a free agent in 2021.

Starting WR to select at No. 29 or No. 61:

Top Players Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs and CeeDee Lamb with be gone by #29.

Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU: Good height and length. Very natural athlete for the position. Can track the deep ball. Runs very well before and after the catch. Adjusts well to balls thrown away from him. Good hands, but will body some to secure them.

Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson: Big, physical, outstanding red-zone threat with his length and leaping ability. Lacks top-end speed and route quickness, but wins with size, frame, strength and ability to create mismatches with his size.

AiyukBrandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State: Solid size and frame. Very good speed. Tracks the deep ball very well, runs away from defenders on film. Versatile -- also returns punts and kicks. Has the skills to line up outside or inside in the formation. Very good run vision after the catch. Junior College transfer. Mental side will need to be determined. Core muscle surgery in April. Has a big upside if everything checks out mentally and physically.

Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame: Big frame, TE size. Had an outstanding combine during testing phase, but didn’t play up to those number. His size and strength makes him a red-zone threat. Has skills to translate to the next level but didn’t dominate his competition this past season. Average instincts, has some tightness when elevating for passes. If used correctly he can be a very good offensive player. But without improving his route running and feel for the position, he will end up being a gadget player.

Fourth WRs with potential to play when needed:

Players that could be available at pick #93:

Van Jefferson, WR, Florida: Ole Miss transfer. Good size, frame, length. Very good play speed. Excellent route runner. Has been schooled and taught well by his father and former Titans WR coach Shawn Jefferson. Van Jefferson is similar to Tajae Sharpe in terms of him being a ready-made player who can fit right in any scheme, but Jefferson has more upside because of his strength and ability to separate from man coverage, which is something Sharpe struggled with most of his career. Jones fracture in his right foot, surgery in February. Should step in and contribute immediately.

Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado: Good size and frame, strong. Good hands, good run vision after the catch. Strong runner. Run instincts help him offset poor combine time. Good route runner. Wildcat runner flashes even more of the run ability. Very instinctive player. Had core muscle surgery in February.

Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty: Outstanding size, frame, length. Has some rawness to his game in terms of route-running and being able to transition in and out of his breaks and managing his long frame. Lacks top-end speed but makes up for it with good hands, size and length.

MimsDenzel Mims, WR, Baylor: Big frame, long arms, strong. X receiver. Uses his frame well to shield defenders. Has some upper-body stiffness on throws he must adjust to. Good sideline awareness. Has a feel for where he is on the field and where the first-down marker is. Not going to run away from many defenders, has to be crisp with his route running and uses his upper body strength to gain separation from defenders. Strong hands. Will catch away from his frame. Can run through arm tackles. Straight-line speed player, not going to make defenders miss. His best routes are clean cut routes. Has some build up to top-end speed, but can open up as he gets downfield. Savvy route runner. Uses a good push off to get separation. Can track the deep ball. Wins contested throws because of strength

Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU: Adequate size and length. Used speed, leaping ability, timing on jump and athleticism to win on the college level. Will need to refine routes and bring more to have success to separate consistently on the next level. Outside receiver now but could develop into an inside WR. Not a complete WR. Has some gaps in his game. Very good athlete and competes. But not consistent as a route runner. Hands look strong but will have some concentration drops.

K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State: Good hands, route runner, very solid but unspectacular player. Ceiling is low but his floor is high. Should fit in quickly and have a role early in his rookie season. But don’t expect a big breakout type player.

Lynn Bowden, WR, Kentucky: Athletic ability, speed, competitive. The opposite of K.J. Hill with big upside with speed, burst and the ability to develop into a playmaker. Upside player.

Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota: Hands, routes, size are all positive. But very average overall speed and quickness. Would be a very similar player to Tajae Sharpe.

Michael Pittman Jr, WR, USC: Very good size. Competitive player with solid, top-end speed. Backup-type player with potential to develop into a top-three WR on most teams. Has played special teams in the past and would fit immediately on coverage teams.

Tight end

Need: Eventual starter or backup-level TE with ability to start. Jonnu Smith is in his last year of his contract.

Players who could be available at pick No. 61 or No. 93:

Bryce Hopkins, TE, Purdue: Very good size and frame. Aligns inline and split wide. Can move around the formation. Good hands, soft. Has the occasional drop but not a hand issue. Speed is solid. His best football should be ahead of him. Very good athlete with upside.

Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri: Height, weight and speed prospect but hasn’t put it together in his game as of yet. Rumors of work ethic and immaturity issues. True boom or bust prospect, but has the traits to develop if his work ethic improves.

ParkinsonColby Parkison, TE, Stanford: Very good size and frame and has room to add. At his best off the line of scrimmage and split out wide. Good hands. Better receiver than blocker. Needs to add strength to his upper body to be able to hold up and sustain his blocks longer vs. edge defenders. He will never be a top blocker but has a chance with his long frame to add strength to sustain and wall off better. Has some length to his running stride which affects him when breaking down. Very good athlete. Smooth when turning to catch the ball in the air. Has good body control with the ball in the air. Will be a red-zone threat. Has the length and catching radius to be a mismatch vs. safeties and the speed to run away from linebackers.

Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton: Size, frame, adequate top-end speed. Good overall player as an inline blocker and also a receiver. Good hands, secure. Not a stretch-the-field runner, but will be a chain mover and blocker.

Cole Kemet, TE, Notre Dame: Big frame, length, runs well in a straight line. Can align inline as a blocker but will also be a short to intermediate route runner with ability to be a solid underneath receiver.

Center

Need: Eventual replacement for Ben Jones for 2021 or backup Jamil Douglas now.

Player available at pick #61:

Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan: Good size for center and guard. Good hand use. Good initial quickness off the snap. Has enough upper body strength to snap and punch to control when he has a nose defender. Good pad level and anchor. Not a natural mover athletically. Will not be able to redirect feet vs. quickness on the inside, but does play within himself and understands his strengths and weaknesses. Good eyes and instincts. Solid starter.

Players available at pick #93

CushenberryLloyd Cushenberry, C, LSU: Solid size and frame. Plays with good pad level and leverage. Can snap and step in one motion. Has a tendency to waist bend off the snap vs. size at DT. Will be suspectable to being pulled. Not a pile mover vs. heavy DTs. Has the ability to climb to second level and wall off linebackers. Enough initial quickness off snap to get into position quickly. Solid starter traits.

Cohl Cabral, C, Arizona State: Has started at both left tackle and center during his career. Size, length, versatility. Will flash some extra to his finish as a blocker, will look to hunt an defender up if he is uncovered. Adequate in space, can get out on pulls, moves well. Has some balance and body control when in space, but does slow his run to recover that balance and make contact. Can play in a zone or power system. Looks good when he is allowed to come off the ball and attack defenders in the run game. Can get to the second level and position block. Big body, frame, at his best on the line then in space. Good pass protector but does need to be more patient at times. Has good eyes and instincts to pick up stunts and LB blitz. At his best at center, has the instincts to help out when he can extend an arm or punch. Looks in control when he is playing center. Makes the checks and calls and controls the offensive line. Has the skills to start immediately in the NFL and will be a solid starter.

Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin: Good size and frame for position. Handles heavy DTs with size to match. Good run blockers. Can move the initial line of scrimmage. Adequate athlete. Will miss in space -- better in tight spaces. Has some hip stiffness. Gets by with smarts, positioning and technique more than athletic traits. Starter in the NFL but not a standout.apple icon 144x144 precomposed

2019 offensive draft review

Second round, A.J. Brown, WR. Ranked fifth overall (52) in receptions among rookie WR’s, but led in yards (1,051) and tied for the lead in TDs (eight). This was a solid regular season for Brown. In the post season his numbers dropped off significantly. With only five receptions in three games. This was partly due to the heavy run influence of the Titans’ offense but also because of the better CBs he faced. Brown will enter 2020 as the Titans’ best receiving threat. 

Third round, Nate Davis, G. Started 12 regular season and three playoff games. Davis was solid as a run-blocker during his rookie campaign but struggled as a pass protector for most of the season. Davis missed a lot of time during training camp and the beginning of the season, but his pass protection issues did not improve. Right now, Davis is an adequate starter for an NFL team and will need to improve in his second year to warrant a starting position for the remaining three years on his contract.

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Blake Beddingfield was a Titans' scout for 19 years, through the 2017 draft. He was the team's director of college scouting for his final six years. Follow him on Twitter at @BlakeBedd.

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