Over the last several weeks, the idea of the Tennessee Titans selecting a tight end early in the 2019 NFL Draft has been picking up steam.
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) February 22, 2019
Iowa’s TJ Hockenson is a popular name that’s been mocked several times to the Titans in the first round.
Hockenson is a physical tight end who is an excellent blocker and has a ton of upside. I’ve been skeptical about Tennessee taking a tight end early, but Hockenson has the potential to be a stud in the NFL. And ultimately, teams want to add future studs to their roster in the draft.
Using today’s results AND his college resume (e.g. 47% of yards were earned after the catch) solidified TJ Hockenson as my model’s most likely TE to end up as a top #NFL performer.@nflnetwork @ColleenWolfeNFL pic.twitter.com/PpsphGTBCr
— cynthia frelund (@cfrelund) March 2, 2019
Of course, there’s no guarantee that Hockenson will be on the board when the Titans’ first round pick (19th overall) rolls around. And even if he is still around, there’s a possibility that Tennessee could look to add an edge rusher or a wide receiver instead (both positions are more glaring “needs”).
But even if the Titans don’t select Hockenson in the first round, I still think Tennessee would be wise to select a tight end in this year’s draft.
Delanie Walker, who suffered a gruesome ankle injury in the 2018 season opener against the Miami Dolphins and missed the entire season, will turn 35 before the start of the 2019 season.
Beyond Walker, the Titans don’t have an obvious longterm answer at tight end. Jonnu Smith is young and has potential, but I don’t think Tennessee should count on him just yet.
That’s why I think the Titans should consider selecting San Jose State tight end Josh Oliver with a mid round draft pick.
Oliver, 6-foot-5/249 lbs, had an unremarkable first two seasons at San Jose State, but he broke out as a senior with 56 receptions for 709 yards and four touchdowns.
One of my mid-round favorite TE prospects, Josh Oliver, had a decent showing. He moves well on tape also. pic.twitter.com/yXA20AWwao
— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) March 3, 2019
The former two star recruit is a good athlete who turned heads at the combine with a nice one handed catch where he displayed impressive body control.
Ok Josh Oliver, I see you pic.twitter.com/9D3qsvUQ6z
— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) March 2, 2019
Oliver is a potential mismatch in the NFL and would give the Titans a player who could develop into a Rob Gronkowski like offensive weapon in the red zone.
Josh Oliver, San Jose St. – TE
Extremely athletic and controlled TE, immediately turns into a runner after catch. Oliver lines up all over the field and can create a huge mismatch out wide. pic.twitter.com/Q3R7U3whQX
— Bear Down Burner (@BearBurner) February 25, 2019
#SanJoseState TE Josh Oliver fits today’s NFL beautifully. Has perfect size at 6’5” 250lbs. Can play in multiple spots on the O-line, shows gd athleticism, willing blocker & shows very gd body control & adjustment to the ball as shown. Nice developmental TE with plus upside pic.twitter.com/ZujuD43EgG
— Jason DiRienzo (@allpurposescout) January 25, 2019
If the Titans are looking for a tight end with upside, and they don’t want to spend a first round pick to get one, they’d be wise to take a long look at Oliver.
Mid round picks are always a gamble, but I think Oliver is more than worth taking a chance on.
Featured image via Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports