Coming into the 2021 NFL draft, we all knew how undesirable the Titans’ situation at wide receiver was.
Aside from A.J. Brown and Josh Reynolds, the depth the group had was poor, leading us to believe that Jon Robinson would do the right thing and draft a talented wide receiver that could contribute from day one.
That was a logical conclusion of course.
Since investing into “projects” or prospects that need a good amount of work wouldn’t slide for a team needing to keep up their form and pace to keep up with the division rival Colts, and the rest of the AFC which has no shortage of contenders.
The first round came, pick number 22 to be exact, and the Titans were on the clock. Many expected a receiver like Elijah Moore or Rashod Bateman to become the newest pro-ready receiver to don a Titans jersey. But instead, it was a corner, a talented one at that in Caleb Farley.
Farley wasn’t a bad pick by any means, in fact, I loved the pick personally. If he can put his back injuries behind him, he’s going to be a contributor to this Titans defense for a long time.
Onto the second round, where the team picked up a talented tackle prospect in Dillon Radunz. Again, not a bad pick at all. He’s probably going to get some consideration for the starting right tackle spot with a few other veterans gunning for the same starting role.
By the time the Titans’ first 3rd round pick came around, Jon Robinson had a couple of options to choose from to finally address the receiver position. Amari Rodgers, a speedy slot wideout that could play day one, was there. Nico Collins, a big bodied receiver that wouldn’t address the slot but would bring some much needed depth, was there as well.
But instead of doing the logical thing and just taking a wideout to ease concerns, Robinson traded down. Not only that, Amari Rodgers was selected with the exact same pick the Titans had before they elected to trade down.
At that point the “damage” had already been done.
No wide receiver selected through the first of three Titans selections, and with the talent drop-off looking a little steep after the “2nd tier” of wide receivers, there was virtually no shot at the team acquiring a pro ready wideout with their remaining picks.
Robinson did end up selecting two wideouts during the remaining rounds of the draft. But it’s hard to imagine any of those options becoming the solid day one contributor the Titans need right now.
That’s a problem, a big problem in fact.
We’ve discussed time and time again how this team needs to keep up their offensive pace to hang with the rest of the AFC, especially the juggernaut in Kansas City.
You can’t do that if you don’t have the necessary skill, talent, and depth on the outside to not only keep the passing game chugging and humming, but to take some pressure off your dominant ground game. One in which will likely meet a bit of regression as the 2021 season evolves.
Could Robinson look through the trade market for extra wide receiver help if he isn’t satisfied with the group?
In fact that’s what any serious NFL GM should be doing anyways.
The problem with that scenario is that Robinson hasn’t traded a lot of draft capital to land high profile — or highly talented — veteran help. Demarco Murray is the only high profile skill position player Robinson has traded draft capital for, and even then he only gave up a measly fourth-round pick.
Based on Robinson’s transaction pattern, I doubt he makes a move for someone like Anthony Miller, or even a big fish like Julio Jones. Robinson loves his draft capital and would rather build his team through the draft and free agency if necessary. Not by going crazy in trade talks and sending shock waves throughout the league.
Whatever Robinson does, he can’ sit on his hands at this point. He had a chance to eliminate any short-term worries about the wide receiver depth but obviously failed to capitalize.
Now he’s left with a few choices. Make a big move via trade, take a big swing on whatever remains in free agency, or take the biggest gamble of his tenure by rolling with whatever he has right now.
Whatever option Robinson rolls with, time’s a tickin.