Everyone knows the AFC South has strong quarterback play with Andrew Luck and Deshaun Watson. But, in a division that features talented rushing attacks the Titans have to continue to find ways to remain strong against the run.
In 2017, the Tennessee Titans were ranked 4th in the NFL against the run, but the team slid down to 18th last season.
Adding a player like Mississippi State’s Jeffery Simmons could provide a long term answer on the defensive line.
Why Simmons could be the pick:
In NFL analyst Bucky Brooks’ first top five prospects by position list, which was released not too long after Simmons’ unfortunate ACL injury, Simmons was ranked as the second best defensive line prospect in the draft — only behind Alabama’s Quinnen Williams.
Since then, Simmons has dropped to fifth on Brooks’ top five.
His ACL injury could result in the widely regarded top-15 talent being available for the Titans to select in the first or potentially second round.
Last season, Simmons complied 63 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, two sacks, four passes defensed, and one forced fumble. He could combine with Titans’ Pro Bowler Jurrell Casey to form a disruptive duo.
For what it’s worth, the Titans have had scouts at Mississippi State games.
Scouts from the Colts, Saints, 49ers, Dolphins, Raiders, Panthers, Falcons, Bears, Jets, Titans, and Steelers will be in attendance at the Auburn/Mississippi State game. Big crowd on hand to see Jarrett Stidham, Jeffery Simmons, Montez Sweat and many other potential prospects.
— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) October 5, 2018
Why Simmons will not likely be the pick:
In what is a playoff or bust type of season, it is hard to imagine the Titans drafting a player in the first or second round that won’t be able to make an immediate impact.
While Simmons would likely be a high quality draft pick long-term, Casey’s absence in week 17 last season showed how important an impact performer on the defensive line is.
The only non-injury related reason not to draft the former Bulldog is his troublesome character past. Simmons assaulted a woman while he was in high school, which could be enough for some teams to take him off of their draft board entirely. However, his positive character in college likely saved him from encountering character problems hurting his draft stock.
I don’t see any way that the Titans select Simmons in the first round (even though I think he would be a quality addition). With that said, if Simmons is still on the board when the team is on the clock in the second round, the Titans would have a hard time passing on him.
Simmons is a great prospect, but his severe injury this offseason will likely prevent the Titans from being in an ideal position to draft him.