JT Ruhnke’s Titans Mock Draft 1.0

It’s officially draft month, and before we know it the Titans will be on the clock. And because it’s draft month, it’s time for me to dip my toes in the mock draft waters.

 Free Agency has mostly come and gone, and the Titans added premiere game changers in Calvin Ridley and L’jarius Sneed at the receiver and cornerback position, two position groups once thought to be of the greatest needs for the two-toned blue. 

With new stars added to the roster and the major prospect events like the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine behind us, the goals for Ran Carthon and company have become clear: address as many needs as possible. 

The Titans can’t rely on the major names alone. Football is still a team game after all, and the Titans still lack the depth of a team that wants to be a contender sooner rather than later. The 2024 draft will serve a big purpose in achieving that goal and I wanted that to reflect in my first stab at what the board could look like for the Titans come the 25th. So, without further ado here is my Mock Draft 1.0:

Round 1, Pick 7: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame 

I decided to go chalk here with the Titans’ first selection. Sure, if one of the premiere receivers is still on the board like Malik Nabers or Rome Odunze, the Titans could look to create a stacked receiving room and give Will Levis a nuclear weapons arsenal, but Levis still has a lot to prove in 2024.

To truly see what you have in the second-year quarterback, the Titans need to address the left side of the line. The turnstiles of Dennis Daley and Andre Dillard have given Titans fans and QBs nightmares.

Joe Alt is not only the safe pick but maybe the best plug-and-play prospect in the entire draft class. There’s a reason one of Alt’s biggest traits is his “pro-readiness”, and despite not being the most athletic of the linemen prospects, Alt will give the Titans all the reassurance they need to see if Will Levis is the guy or not.

*TRADE*

Ran Carthon plays the board here in the second round, trading with the Pittsburgh Steelers who can look to select a quarterback of the future or receiver to fill their need after trading Diontae Johnson. 

The Titans move back 13 spots and swap sixth-round picks to acquire a third-round pick in this year’s draft.

Round 2, Pick 51: Payton Wilson, LB, NC State

Ran Carthon and company have alluded to being much higher on this year’s linebacking class than draft analysts have been, and the Titans fill one of the biggest holes on defense after trading back. 

At this week’s press conference, Carthon discussed the possibility of not having a green-dot linebacker on the team, citing the Los Angeles Rams’ use of Eric Weddle in previous years as a possible route the team could take.

Still, the Titans lack a starting coverage linebacker after losing the bidding war on Al-Shaair and David Long Jr. in recent years. And if the opportunity presents itself, Wilson would be a perfect prospect to build around in the middle of the defense. Wilson’s 90.4 PFF coverage grade and his nation-leading 26 coverage stops make him one of the best in this year’s class. Pairing the rookie with the run-defending, blitzing LB Kenneth Murray would set the Titans’ defense up for the future.

Round 3, Pick 84: Dominick Puni, OT, Kansas

With the third-round pick acquired in a trade back with the Steelers, the Titans double dip on the tackle position, selecting the versatile Dominick Puni out of Kansas. Puni played predominantly on the left side of the line in his two years at Kansas, but the traits allow the 6’5” lineman to play anywhere on the line. 

The former Jayhawk is likely already on the Titans’ radar, as new assistant offensive line coach Scott Fuchs previously coached at Kansas. At the NFL combine, Puni mentioned how big of an impact Fuchs’ had on his game and development:

Puni allowed 0 sacks, 1 QB hit, and only 15 hurries over his two years at Kansas, in which he played a season each at tackle and guard. At 303 pounds, Puni’s ability to still move fluidly and his rangy athleticism would leave new line coach Bill Callahan salivating. 

Round 4, Pick 106: Jarvis Brownlee Jr, CB, Lousiville 

The Titans transition back to the defensive side of the ball here in round 4, selecting Jarvis Brownlee Jr. out of Louisville.

One of the biggest Senior Bowl Standouts, Jarvis Brownlee Jr. is an aggressive corner who can play both inside and outside at the next level. Standing at 5 ’10’’ and 194, Brownlee may find a better role within the slot in the NFL. Brownlee might be a project player for the Titans, but the additions of Chidobe Awuzie and L’Jarius Sneed could accelerate his development; learning from the same archetype of cornerback.

Brownlee was my CB3 at the Senior Bowl, shutting down wide receivers on par with first-round talent Quniyon Mitchell. His aggressive nature can lead to poor hand use at times, but the quick hips and feisty playing speed make Brownlee a nice depth piece for the Titans’ secondary.

Round 5, Pick 146: Grayson Murphy, EDGE, UCLA

Ran Carthon continues to reload on defense, selecting Grayson Murphy out of UCLA. Murphy is one of the many prospects in this class who suffers from playing alongside another star pass rusher on the same line. In this case, Murphy still excelled in his final year despite being opposite Laiatu Latu. It’s important to note that Murphy played UCLA’s bowl game against Boise St while Latu did not. Even without his counterpart, Murphy posted his second-best grade of the season according to PFF, recording eight tackles and a sack.

Murphy posted a 14.8% pass rush win rate in 2023, along with 8 sacks and 23 hurries. Murphy may be a little undersized at 6’2’’ and 251, but possesses great speed with a 4.63 40-yard dash. This helped Murphy excel this past year in the pass rush game, posting an 85.2 overall grade for the season. Murphy brings the speed to complement the interior play of Sebastian Joseph-Day and Jeffery Simmons and adds to a dangerous rotation alongside Arden Key and Harold Landry.

Round 6, Pick 195: Ethan Driskel, OT, Marshall

The Titans find themselves picking later in the sixth round due to a pick swap with the Pittsburgh Steelers and go back to the offensive line well. Is it a tad overboard? Maybe. But, as Ran Carthon continues to emphasize, it’s a very deep class. Giving Bill Callahan and Scott Fuchs as many dart throws as possible to develop tackles into role players should be considered paramount.

Ethan Driskell is a giant. Standing at 6’8’’ and 313 pounds, Driskell has the build to excel at the next level. Much like current Titans tackle Jaylen Duncan though, Driskel lacks polish to be a day one starter. 

The Marshall prospect allowed three sacks and 15 hurries in his final season and has experience playing both tackle positions. The most encouraging part of his game is his ability to grow, going from a 58.2 PFF grade in 2021 to a 67.4 grade in 2023. Based on size alone, Driskel is a prospect the Titans should target here, even as just a dart throw.

Round 7, Pick 227: Isaiah Davis, RB, SDSU

With the first pick in the seventh, the Titans select another running back in Isaiah Davis to shore up depth at the position. Despite signing Tony Pollard during free agency and promising Tyjae Spears a bigger role, the Titans still lack depth at the position. 

Considered one of the weakest groups in the 2024 draft class, Davis could be a hidden gem among the running backs. The former jackrabbit uses his 6’1’’ frame effectively, ranking third in the nation in carries of 15+ yards and 8th in yards after contact. The big knock on Davis is his speed and explosiveness, clocking a pedestrian 4.57s 40. However, Davis’ 80 missed tackles in 2023 make him an intriguing value pick in the seventh.

Round 7, Pick 242: Nathaniel Watson, LB, Mississippi State

Ran Carthon adds some inside linebacker depth with the second of three 7th-round picks, taking Watson out of Mississippi St. 

Watson is an explosive inside linebacker who has the speed to play as a rotational piece at the next level, but size is the main concern. Weighing in at just 233 pounds, the issues are present on tape. Watson recorded 17 missed tackles over the last two seasons and struggled at times in coverage. However, with a pass rush PFF grade of 74.3 and a 4.63s 40 time, Watson is worth a flier.

Round 7, Pick 252: Myles Cole, EDGE, Texas Tech

With the final pick in for the Titans, Ran Carthon once again takes a flier on a prospect with intangibles that could have massive upside.

Myle Cole is an edge out of Texas Tech who lacks the technique to play at the next level, but the measurables are some of the best in recent years. Standing at 6’6’’ and 278 with a 98th percentile wingspan and 99th percentile arm length, Cole has a freakish build that lends to his success in the run game. With an above-average run stop rate of 7.6% and currently projected as a UDFA, the Titans purchase a one-dollar scratch-off ticket that promises serious upside.

Author: JT Ruhnke

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