Why the Titans should avoid drafting an offensive tackle at No. 22 overall

When the select members of the Tennessee Titans’ front office and coaching staff wake up on the morning of April 29th, 2021, they’ll probably have a strict plan in place when it comes to who they’ll be drafting with their now ultra-important 22nd overall pick.

One thing is for sure though, that plan should not involve selecting an offensive tackle to fill the semi-gaping hole alongside Nate Davis at right tackle.

I get it.

The Titans love what they have going on right now. They’re a very physical football team that wants to do one thing that’ll coexist with their current identity offensively, to run the football down the opposing team’s throat, while also adding a splash of play action and creativity that keeps this scheme from becoming predictable.

All of that is totally fine.

But there has to be some sort of line drawn. No, I’m not saying abandon the physicality and toughness that’s gotten you this far as a football team. Engaging in that sort of behavior would be borderline crazy and an obvious cause of concern for the head of this magnified Titans front office tree.

What I am saying though, is to avoid falling in love with the physical nature of this team to the point where your draft reasoning makes you opt for personal picks instead of logical ones.

Let me explain a bit further…

Around a week and a half ago, news hit the front pages of Twitter Weekly describing the Titans and their reported crush on tackle prospect Teven Jenkins.

I’m not the best guy to break down draft prospects and what traits make them first round prospects. But from what I’ve seen from others that are highly interested in the draft process and all the fun that comes with it, the descriptions of Jenkins and his play mirror a certain tackle the Titans took in the first round in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Mean, nasty, tough, physical.

Those are just a few words I’ve seen from people who’ve closely watched or followed Jenkins during his career at Oklahoma State. Those words — albeit traits — are exactly what Jon Robinson wants in his offensive linemen while executing this physical brand of football he and Mike Vrabel want this team to play.

Look at Taylor Lewan, Rodger Saffold, Ben Jones, and even Nate Davis. All four of those guys possess the nastiness and toughness that Jenkins has displayed. It’s easy to see why this team could entertain the idea of selecting Jenkins, or any other tackle that fits their play style at 22.

Now Jenkins is just an example because of the Titans’ reported interest in him, but that same interest and the actual idea of drafting him is exactly what I mean when I said you can’t opt for personal picks over logical ones.

What this team can’t do is press for a nasty offensive tackle prospect when the wide receiver and corner positions are begging to be addressed. Behind A.J. Brown and Josh Reynolds, there’s no proven depth at the wideout spot. Even at corner, Kristian Fulton is an unproven young guy that just went through a turbulent rookie season, and Kevin Johnson is slated to be the starting nickel back even with all the struggles and injuries to his name.

You can’t ignore those red-flag needs on your football team just to satisfy your quest to find a Jack Conklin replacement and to relax your urge to physically dominate on the offensive side of the ball.

If you do, you could face the risk of losing the best possible talent to fill those holes I just mentioned above. This isn’t a piece to slander Jon Robinson’s draft logic or to say he doesn’t know what he’s doing — it’s millions if not billions of miles away from that.

But this is a warning about future repercussions that could come to pass if you fall in love with your own personal roster fantasies instead of logically doing the correct thing.

Wide receiver or corner.

Given the abundance of so-called “first-round talent” at those two positions, they should be the priorities worth sweating over when pick 22 rolls around. Anything else and you could be gambling with two of the most important groups on your team.

Comments

  1. We shouldn’t draft an OT at 22 for two reasons. #1 WE NEED HELP ON DEFENSE!! We need guys that can get sacks and we need guys that can cover receivers. Plain and simple.

    #2 there are good OT prospects that can be had in rd 2 & 3. Eichenburg, Forsyth, Spencer Brown, Little etc.

    1. I agree with you. Corner is still a big need on this football team. Same with wide receiver though. Gonna be really interesting to see where the team goes at 22.

      1. I’m hoping it’s CB in the first & WR in the second.

        But I could also hear a case for taking Jenkins specifically at 22 if he’s there. Simply because of the depth at those other two positions in this draft.

        Yes, if you have an incredible WR1 talent fall in your lap who you feel is a can’t miss, or if one of the top 2 CB prospects is there, I think you probably have to jump at them. But if not, don’t just take the position of greatest need. Take BPA, and bank on your scouting to know which of those second tier guys is the right fit for one of those other three top-100 picks we have this year.

        1. When the rubber meets the road, guys in the trenches still matter more than WRs. Just ask DK Metcalf about how that wildcard game against the Rams went down. (Seattle lost because they had no consistent answers for the Rams defensive front – even with Russ and DK.

          CB is a different story, though. I say take the CB ahead of Jenkins unless all the true round 1 CB talents are just gone.

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