Despite COVID and tons other of complications, the college football season is about to be in full swing. With the Big 10 starting last weekend and the Pac-12 set to begin in a couple of weeks, we will finally get to see all of the Power 5 schools at play this year.
Another season of college football brings a whole new batch of NFL draft prospects to scout for the Titans. In that spirit, and coming off Tennessee’s first loss of the year, I wanted to quickly name a handful of my favorite prospects to keep an eye on as the season continues.
1. Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
I’ll admit it. This one is a personal pipe dream, but could a season-ending ankle injury lead to a Jeffery Simmons-esque draft slide? I still think it is unlikely, but you never know how things could change between now and the draft.
Regardless, Waddle would just be so much fun in this Titans play-action-happy offense. Essentially, he could take over the Kalif Raymond role… and then some. Waddle reportedly recorded a 4.37 40-yard dash time in high school, then went stride-for-stride in a race with Henry Ruggs, who famously ran a 4.27 at last year’s NFL combine. Utilizing this blazing speed, Waddle is a dangerous threat down the field and after the catch with the ball in his hands. While he may not be as fast as Ruggs, I do think Waddle looks much more fluid and “wiggly” when running routes and evading defenders after the catch. Also, despite his 5-10, 182 lb frame, Waddle does a great job of tracking the ball and making contested catches down the field.
With Corey Davis on the last year of his rookie contract, the Titans may have a vacant wide receiver spot in 2021 for Waddle.
2. Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
As evident by the Steelers game last Sunday, the Titans are in dire need of cornerback help, especially with the absence of Adoree Jackson. They are currently lacking the speed and athleticism to keep up with the high-flying offense that the AFC currently has to offer.
Now, enter in Jaycee Horn.
Horn is a three year starter with excellent length and athleticism to match up with opposing X receivers in the NFL. He is extremely physical in press coverage and does an excellent job of playing the ball at the catch point. His recent two-interception performance against Auburn’s star wide-out Seth Williams has his stock rising. Adding Jaycee Horn to the room with Jackson and Kristian Fulton would make for a promising young group of cornerbacks for the future.
3. Trey Smith, OG, Tennessee
Jon Robinson has a history of picking trench players early, and this selection would be a proactive one, going with a “best player available” approach to maximize value. The Titans certainly don’t have an immediate need at guard, but Rodger Saffold is turning 33 next year with only two years left on his contract.
And Trey Smith just fits in too perfectly with the Titans’ physical, bully-ball style of running the ball. The easiest way to describe Smith on the field is as a “mauler”. He just has overwhelming power at the point of attack to create massive running lanes. Smith has some health issues to monitor, but if those can be cleared up, he looks like an early round prospect.
4. Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
Kwity Paye is an absolute physical freak. At 6’4″, Paye’s reported testing numbers were a 4.57 40-yard dash time, 6.37 3-cone (!!!), 34″ vertical and 30 reps on bench. Frankly, if he tests anywhere close to those numbers, the Titans won’t have a chance at drafting him given how the season is trending.
The physical gifts are blended with some nice technique and relentless motor. With two sacks in just one game so far this year, Paye is looking to have a breakout season as a pass rusher. Although he doesn’t have great length, whatever he lacks there, he makes up for with explosiveness and effort. If the Titans are unable to re-sign Jadeveon Clowney, Paye would be an excellent replacement on the edge.
5. Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
This pick would be predicated on moving on from Jonnu Smith, who is on the last year of his rookie contract. Brevin Jordan would be the perfect replacement for Jonnu because he is basically a spitting image of him. Both players possess muscular and built physiques but move like wide receivers. Especially with the ball in his hands, he is extremely difficult to take down due to his explosiveness and size.
However, similar to Jonnu coming out of college, he is not great in contested catch situations, and has had some drops on film. As a result, I would expect Jordan to get drafted on Day 2.
It may not be draft season yet, but it’s never too early to have some players on your radar as college football ramps up over the coming weeks…
Do you have any draft prospects on your radar? Let us know if the comments below!