Scout's take: Wide receiver options for the Titans in free agency and the draft

 

 

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans lack a true playmaker at receiver and that must change to improve the offensive in 2019.

Corey Davis was drafted No. 5 overall in 2017. He has proved to be a solid possession type receiver, but not a playmaker. He has good size, frame, strength and solid speed but that package doesn’t translate to being a difference-maker on the field.DavisPatriots

He is a solid receiver versus man coverage, he has a good feel for using his strength to run routes when pressed. Against zone coverage, he is lost at times, doesn’t run the correct depth, runs into coverage and stays covered up and doesn’t find the open spots against the zone coverage.

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Beyond Kevin Byard, the next guy the Titans should extend

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans have two key guys in range of extensions with too much uncertainty surrounding them.

This is not supposed to be how it works with top 10 picks.

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Marcus Mariota is set to play under his fifth-year option and the team is going to have to make a long-term decision on him, or play the franchise tag game.

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Liking the big, bold move idea more, but still fearing Antonio Brown

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – For 20 years, the Titans haven’t made a giant skill player trade and it’s a now been 20 years since their lone appearance in the Super Bowl.

When a report surfaced Saturday that they are in the mix to make a deal for Antonio Brown, I was very surprised. To a question about Brown just two days earlier, Mike Vrabel repeated a frequent saying -- that the Titans will treat players the way players treat the team. And based on that equation, they would not have treated Brown very well late last season if he was a Titan acting as he did with the Steelers.BrownESPN

I’ve covered the team since 1996. And Sunday morning, as I drove home from the canceled second day of a kids’ soccer tournament in Birmingham, Ala. I wondered, has the franchise lulled me into its own anti-big move behavior?

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On the idea of Antonio Brown as a Tennessee Titan

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Saturday that the Titans are one of the three teams showing the most interest in Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown.AntonioBrown

Let’s be cautious, in that we have no idea how much “the most interest” is.

But I fully understand the excitement level connected to the Titans being connected to the most dynamic, explosive receiver to hit the market in recent memory.

Especially given that for the entire existence of the Titans in Tennessee the Titans have had an issue at the position and that in the NFL, circa 2019 teams have got to throw it better – way better – than the Titans throw it.

I would rank Jon Robinson as likely to be a savvier trader than Raiders GM Mike Mayock, who’s brand new to the job, and Washington’s complicated front office. But that could mean Oakland and Washington are more likely to get fleeced by Kevin Colbert of the Steelers.

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INDIANAPOLIS -- How will first-round quarterbacks affect the Titans in the first round? How hard is it to plug them in given the lack of QB needy teams in the top five? With 13 high-quality defensive front players, how likely are the Titans to land one they want?

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I delve into that and how little Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel really said at the NFL scouting combine, even as we had fun interviews with both on The Midday 180 on Radio Row at the NFL scouting combine. Here's Robinson and here is Vrabel

You can find the history of this site's podcasts right here.

It's a members' only podcast this week. Just head below the line.

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Titans don't think 'a Superman will fly in, transform' what they are doing

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INDIANAPOLIS – Jon Robinson doesn’t think the Titans are one, dynamic star player away from the promised land.

“I think there’s a lot of pieces,” he said. “It takes all 11 guys. There’s not going to be Superman who is going to fly in on a cape and transform what we are doing.”

I get what he is saying, but I’d love to see him test the theory.

Drop a blue-chip receiver into the offense and a blue-chip pass rusher into the defense and are we sure he couldn’t transform what the Titans are doing on each side of the ball?

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Scout's take: Defensive line options and a plan for the Titans

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans’ defensive line has one indispensable player. Jurrell Casey is able to play a high number of snaps per game and impact the run and the pass.

Casey is the only defensive lineman on the Titans roster with that ability. That must change. The pass rush was not a factor in 2018 and that can change quickly by adding personnel. CaseyTexans

Casey is the leader of the group. DaQuan Jones is a run-down player first and can be a force in the role but gives very little against the pass. Jones lacks quickness as a rusher and despite his strength and anchor those are not pass rushing traits. Austin Johnson is a mirror image of Jones. Both are better versus the run and struggle to rush the passer outside of giving a push as a power rusher at times.

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INDIANAPOLIS – Rest has served Marcus Mariota well and Mike Vrabel expects the quarterback to be 100 percent for regular offseason action when the Titans return for offseason action in mid-April, the coach told The Midday 180.

Mariota missed three games in 2018 including the crucial season-finale against the Colts at Nissan Stadium. The Titans needed a win to get into the playoffs. Without Mariota, who sat out with a stinger that a California-based neck expert told him could put him at risk for further damage, Tennessee lost 33-17.MariotaBalanceEagles

“I’ve texted with him a couple times, he’s feeling good,” Jon Robinson also told the radio show.  “He’s had some checkups and all that. Without having a printed out report of a full body scan, all things seem to be pointing in the right direction.”

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