It’s time for our annual Titans NFL Draft mailbag! Thanks to all who submitted questions via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
In this post, I’ll be answering the best questions that were submitted with analysis and some of my gut feelings on what the Titans will likely do during the 2021 NFL Draft this weekend.
Michael Bishop on Facebook: “So my question is, between Paye and Barmore, who would be the most likely player to elevate the defensive front for the long haul?”
I’m really not a fan of either, to be completely honest.
Paye’s production at Michigan was very underwhelming; his highest single-season sack total was just 6.5. Much like Rashan Gary, another Michigan edge rusher who the Packers drafted in 2019, Paye’s status as a likely first-rounder is based purely on his athleticism.
Projection players shouldn’t be first-round picks. They’re too big of a risk, and they rarely pan out the way that teams hope.
Barmore had a better college career than Paye, but he probably isn’t going to be the type of impact player the Titans need since he’s an interior rusher. He’d also begin his career as the Titans’ third-best player at his position; Jeffery Simmons and Denico Autry would still play most of the snaps.
Of the two, though, I’d choose Barmore.
Dave Bettlach on Twitter: “Is Farley the pick at 22 if available, and how good would Freiermuth look in two-tone Blue at 53?”
CB Caleb Farley’s draft status is more up in the air than just about any other prospects.
Reports surfaced on Wednesday that he’ll need even more medical work on his problematic back, and that will undoubtedly scare most teams away in round one.
The Titans desperately need day-one impact from their 2021 picks, and, if Farley can’t give them that, they should look in another direction.
Freiermuth, if he’s still on the board at pick No. 53, would be a good choice to replace Jonnu Smith.
michaelslaghter_ on Instagram: “Could you see the Titans trading up to go after Devonta Smith, and getting a bigger body later?”
— ESPN (@espn) April 28, 2021
That entirely depends on how far he falls.
While Smith is undoubtedly one of the premier players in this year’s class, the Titans have too many roster needs to mortgage a bunch of picks to move up.
However, if Smith were to fall to around the 15-16 range because of teams’ concern about his weight, it may be worth it for the Titans to move up and nab him.
Will it happen? I could see it.
Jordan Marbury on Facebook: “Do you think trading up would be as bad as many want to believe?”
If it’s for anyone not named Devonta Smith, yes.
And, even if it’s Smith, I’d be very hesitant.
Though you are correct that the Titans really only need starters at a few positions, they need depth just about everywhere. When you trade up, you sacrifice that depth.
Part of the reason the Titans are in their current roster predicament is that general manager Jon Robinson has traded up so many times in the past. He’s typically gotten good players in those deals, but he’s sacrificed depth.
Two of those trade-ups, for Taywan Taylor in 2017 and for Rashaan Evans in 2018, really hurt the Titans.
Smith is good enough to trade up for, but it can’t be for a lot (see above question about the range).
Steven Crosio on Twitter: “Which team do you think could get the Titans to trade up, and which could get them to trade down?”
Down: Buffalo at 30. I could see them wanting to jump Pittsburgh to get RB Najee Harris before they have a chance to.
Up: Minnesota at 14? I think they would only trade up if it were for Smith, and I don’t see any way that he falls past New England at 16. The cost to move up that high would be a lot.
mikekamysz95 on Instagram: “With all the false information being sent out, is this the most annoying time to cover football for you?”
It’s certainly annoying, but I love draft season.
Covering draft weekend is my favorite part of my job. It’s nonstop action for three days, all 32 teams are involved, and there’s always so much to write about and analyze.
I do get tired of all the stupid information that gets floated around. I’m beyond sick of hearing about the No. 3 pick.
Nkwa Yellow-Duke on Twitter: “Should the Titans focus on improving their offensive line or defensive line when picking players from the NFL Draft?”
This is what my middle-school logic teacher would call a “false dichotomy.” Those options aren’t mutually exclusive; the Titans can (and should) improve both!
In terms of a priority between the two, probably the defensive line.
The Titans’ have pretty good depth on the offensive line, they just don’t have a proven starter at right tackle. On the defensive line, I think they could stand to improve the depth at both EDGE and on the inside.
benwb on Instagram: “We need a kicker, right?”
The only kicker on the Titans’ roster right now is Tucker McCann. He was pretty inaccurate in college, and his showing in 2020 Training Camp was pitiful.
Whether they bring Stephen Gostkowski back, sign another free agent, or draft a kicker, the Titans desperately need to add to the position.
Cover image: Brett Davis & Kyle Robertson / USA Today