The Tennessee Titans’ trade for Julio Jones caught all the media headlines – for good reason. Although, the Titans acquired another important piece at Wide Receiver this off-season. Josh Reynolds steps in as the clear #3 WR on the depth chart for 2021. That is where he spent most of his time with the Los Angeles Rams.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) February 3, 2019
In Tennessee, he will look to build on his production from previous seasons. Ryan Tannehill is certainly an upgrade from former Rams Quarterback Jared Goff. In order to understand what the Titans truly need from Reynolds, there are a few aspects to consider.
Firstly, what did his usage in LA look like? Over four seasons, he played in all 64 regular-season games for the Rams. He only started 24 of them, though, and his highest percentage of offensive snaps easily came in 2020. He was on the field for 72% of them.
Reynolds spent most of the time in his first two seasons as a special teams player, so he has experience in that area as well. For Tennessee, I think his offensive snap percentage will need to be in that general range that his was in 2020.
60-75% of snaps makes a lot of sense, but it could be on the lower end due to the team’s impressive rushing attack. The depth behind him isn’t proven at all, so he will get his opportunities early and often.
— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) June 3, 2021
The Rams and McVay also enjoyed utilizing the run, but it is a bit of a different style in Tennessee. The QB run is also more of a factor as Tannehill is one of the best running Quarterbacks in the league. The Titans’ offense may require more from Reynolds’ run-blocking, but LA conditioned him for that.
As for receiving production, this is where it gets interesting. What is a fair projection for him behind Julio Jones and A.J. Brown? He played behind two very solid WRs in Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp during his time with the Rams, but this is a different beast. Regardless, a season like Reynolds’ 2020 is replicable, and Tennessee would probably take that.
— NFL (@NFL) October 19, 2020
It is almost guaranteed that Reynolds’ strengths will be used more often in Tennessee as well. They’ll look to stretch the field with him, and the dynamic duo of receivers alongside him will help him get more open opportunities. His deep threat ability was showcased best in LA in 2019 when his yards per reception was 15.5. I believe he’ll flirt right around that number again in 2021.
There’s one final comparison for his projection as well. What does the WR3 production look like on other teams with a top pass-catching combo in the league?
For Tampa Bay’s high-powered passing offense in 2020, Scotty Miller held that role. He recorded 33 catches and two touchdowns, with an average of 15.2 yards per reception. His best role was being a downfield weapon for Tom Brady, and it was so effective with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin at the other WR spots. There is no doubt Reynolds could do the same this year for Tannehill.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman is another example that fits the spot that Reynolds will look to lock down. Hardman had 41 receptions for 560 yards and four TDs in 2020. Notice a trend?
Russell Gage is one more intriguing comparison. He played with Julio Jones on the Atlanta Falcons, so he knows Reynolds’ new role maybe better than anyone. Not to mention, ATL also had talented WR Calvin Ridley at WR2. Gage’s 2019 production behind those two fit right in line with Miller and Hardman. He had 49 catches for 446 yards and only one touchdown. He played mostly an underneath role for Matt Ryan.
— 104-5 The Zone (@1045TheZone) June 10, 2021
As you can see, the production from the third WR option on a top passing offense does not have to be eye-popping. Reynolds has experience with the role he’ll play in Tennessee, and the expectations for him should mostly mimic what they were in Los Angeles and what they are for these other receivers.
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