Before the 2016 season even started, Jon Robinson had earned the trust of just about everybody in the Tennessee Titans organization and fan base. While there were many who disagreed with the Dorial Green-Beckham trade, it proved to be yet another great move in what was a very active off-season for a first-time general manager. During that time, Jon Robinson went out and acquired DeMarco Murray and Dennis Kelly via trade from the Eagles. In free agency, he picked up Rishard Matthews from the Dolphins. Obviously, the DeMarco Murray trade was the most popular. Everybody knew who he was and what his potential was even after the year that he had in Philadelphia. A lot of the Titans fans really knew what he was all about after he came to town with the Cowboys in 2014 and ran all over the Titans.
All of these offseason moves led to what was a very active and well-done draft for Robinson. The Titans made the great trade with the Rams by moving out of the #1 spot down to #15 before moving back into the top ten to the #8 spot and drafting Jack Conklin. Conklin proved to be a perfect fit for the Titans. He came in, started immediately during his first season, and was named First-Team All-Pro. Kevin Dodd and Austin Johnson (both 2nd round selections) saw some playing time, but not a whole lot. Dodd was plagued by injuries and Johnson had some learning to do once he entered the league. LeShaun Sims (5th round), Aaron Wallace (7th round), Kalan Reed (7th round, Mr. Irrelevant) all played probably a little more than expected throughout the year. They had to once the Titans realized that they really needed help on defense. Sebastian Tretola (6th round) was mostly a healthy scratch for the season on the offensive line but is expected to play a lot more this year.
Other than Conklin, the guys that played the most who were drafted are Derrick Henry (2nd round), Kevin Byard (3rd round), and Tajae Sharpe (5th round). All of these guys proved throughout the season that they were worthy of being drafted and getting a good amount of playing time. Derrick Henry fits really well with the “smashmouth football” mentality that the Titans have. He rushed for 490 yards for five touchdowns on 110 carries as the RB2 behind Murray. Kevin Byard is someone who the Titans should be able to rely on for years to come. Byard had 44 solo tackles and assisted on 14, bringing his overall total up to 58 on the season. Byard is a very athletic and confident player, as he stated before the season that he wants to make the Pro Bowl this year. But his main focus is on winning as a team and getting to the playoffs. Tajae Sharpe is a solid receiver for the Titans, having 41 receptions for 522 yards and two touchdowns in his rookie campaign for the Titans. Sharpe, depending on who the Titans draft this year, is mostly perceived as a WR3. He would be a good guy to have if he is your #3.
During this year’s draft period, the Titans have a lot to work with. They really need help on the defensive side of the ball. Last season, the Titans needed other guys to come in and play more than the team would have liked because the Titans knew that they really needed help, especially after they had to cut Perrish Cox mid-season. In what seams like the eight million mock drafts there have been leading up to this draft, a lot of them have had the Titans going defense first, which is what I think they need to do. In our own mock draft, we have the Titans taking Jonathan Allen and Corey Davis at the five spot. Between these two, I think Jonathan Allen is the better choice simply because I think that Allen is the better player and Davis is not really worth the overall 5th pick. However, if Jamal Adams is available at the five spot, then that is who the Titans need to take because he is a freak athlete.
The #18 spot is where I think that the Titans need to address the offense. At this spot, one of the top receivers will most likely still be available. I think that this is where you take them since wide receiver is probably Tennessee’s second biggest need in this draft. All of this comes down to trusting the man who is in charge and that man is Jon Robinson. Robinson made all of the fantastic free agency and trade moves within the first few months of his job and that led to a good draft as well. All of these moves played a major role in what was a drastic turnaround for the Titans, going from 3-13 in 2015 to 9-7 and almost making the playoffs in 2016. Jon Robinson made smart moves before, and while it is no guarantee who the Titans will draft this year, people should trust that he will make the right decision again.