The Tennessee Titans have obvious needs at wide receiver. As things stand, the Titans are slated to enter the 2023 campaign with Treylon Burks, Kyle Philips and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine as their top three receivers. No bueno.
New general manager Ran Carthon released Robert Woods from his contract and re-signed Westbrook-Ikhine to a one-year deal worth a little more than the league-wide veteran minimum. That’s been the extent of Carthon’s dealings at the position. Tennessee surprisingly hasn’t signed a wide receiver in free agency.
The calendar has officially flipped to April and my intention is to educate our readers with different prospects the Titans could theoretically target at positions of need in each round of the 2023 NFL Draft. That’s the inspiration behind this month-long series. With that said, I’ve identified a potential wide receiver target in every round.
First Round: Jaxon Smith-Njigba | Ohio State
Jaxon Smith-Njigba is my No. 1 receiver despite some minor size concerns. Smith-Njigba is an outstanding route runner and separator due to elite footwork and body control. Route-running prowess makes Smith-Njigba an easy evaluation.
Smith-Njigba entered the pre-draft process with some athletic question marks, but the Rockwall, Texas native did well to squash those concerns by running a low 4.5 at Ohio State’s Pro Day. Smith-Njigba also posted an elite 6.57 in the 3-cone, which is a historically impressive result. That sort of change-of-direction ability is evident when combing through Smith-Njigba’s tape.
The one caveat may be injury concerns. Smith-Njigba was limited to three uneventful appearances in 2022 due to recurring hamstring issues. “Hamstring” is a word that especially scares Titans head coach Mike Vrabel. If the Titans are comfortable with Smith-Njigba’s medicals, he should be an option with the 11th overall pick.
Second Round: Tyler Scott | Cincinnati
Mike Vrabel has routinely discussed a need to inject speed into his receiving corps (offense in general) this offseason. Cincinnati’s Tyler Scott is one of the draft’s premier speed threats alongside Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt. Scott ran in the low 4.3’s at the Bearcats’ Pro Day.
Scott stresses opposing defenses vertically and he’s versatile enough to play both inside and outside. Vrabel, Tim Kelly and members of Tennessee’s scouting staff recently had a pre-draft dinner meeting with Scott. I’m told their meeting went well and the Titans remain high on Scott’s upside. Scott is a nuanced route runner that possesses a high-level understanding of leverage and how to attack angles.
Third Round: Jonathan Mingo | Ole Miss
Jonathan Mingo is made in the Titans’ mold. At 6-foot-1 and a rocked-up 226 pounds, Mingo may be the draft’s most physically impressive receiver. Mingo poses a run-after-catch threat in the mold of A.J. Brown, Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith (back when the Titans had those types).
Mingo was excellent at the NFL Scouting Combine. He ran a terrific 4.46. Mingo’s physical strength was on display via 22 bench press reps (94th percentile). Mingo also leaped a 39.5-inch vertical (89th percentile) and 129-inch broad (89th percentile). Mingo’s stock is on the rise, but I believe he’ll be available with Tennessee’s third-round selection.
Fourth Round: A.T. Perry | Wake Forest
A.T. Perry is a big-bodied receiver (6-3, 195) that enjoyed a more fruitful combine than I anticipated. Perry ran the 40 in 4.47 seconds and also leaped an 11-inch-1-foot broad.
Perry was extremely productive throughout 2021 and 2022, having combined for 152 receptions, 2,389 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns. Perry possesses X-receiver tendencies with terrific height and a large catch radius. Perry utilizes his size to high-point the football. Perry alters his tempo and showcases terrific body control when running routes.
Fifth Round: Grant DuBose | Charlotte
Charlotte’s Grant DuBose is one of my favorite small-school receivers in the 2023 NFL Draft. DuBose was inconsistent throughout his stints at this year’s Senior Bowl and combine (he did have good results in the 10-yard split and broad jump), but studying his tape paints an intriguing picture. DuBose has an amazing story as a former D-II prospect who worked part-time at Walmart before landing at Charlotte.
DuBose recorded 1,700 yards and 15 touchdowns across two seasons while developing into Charlotte’s go-to weapon. DuBose is long and lengthy with interesting inside-outside versatility. DuBose’s game features a diverse release package and big-time catch radius. DuBose is dominant at the catch point.
Sixth Round: Jacob Copeland | Maryland
The Tennessee Titans met with Maryland wide receiver Jacob Copeland at his Pro Day, according to a report from Pro Football Network. Copeland was outstanding at the NFL Scouting Combine. He ran a 4.42 in the 40, but was hand-timed by some scouts in attendance at 4.37. Copeland’s 10-yard split was an elite 1.51. The Pensacola, Florida native also leaped a 10-foot-7-inch broad jump. Copeland possesses game-changing speed.
Seventh Round: Ed Lee | Rhode Island
The Titans recently met with Rhode Island’s Ed Lee. Lee enjoyed a standout campaign in 2022, having led his conference with 56 receptions, 908 yards, and five touchdowns. Lee offers some special team versatility with punt return experience under his belt. There are NFL bloodlines present as well. Lee’s father was drafted by the Detroit Lions and played wide receiver in the league from 1981-84.