2022 NFL Offseason: Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans (Last Year: 12-5)

2022 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
RB Trenton Cannon, WR Robert Woods, TE Austin Hooper, OT/G Jamarco Jones.
Early Draft Picks:
WR Treylon Burks, CB Roger McCreary, OT Nick Petit-Frere, QB Malik Willis, RB Hassan Haskins, TE Chig Okonkwo, WR Kyle Phillips. Titans Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
WR A.J. Brown, WR Julio Jones, TE MyCole Pruitt, OT David Quessenberry, G Rodger Saffold, LB Jayon Brown, CB Janoris Jenkins.

2022 Tennessee Titans Offense:
The Titans entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the conference, but it didn’t matter. They were one-and-done in the postseason, suffering a loss to the Bengals at home in their very first playoff game. The defense did its job, surrendering Cincinnati to just 19 points. The offense mustered only 16, thanks to Ryan Tannehill’s incompetence. Tannehill was atrocious, going 15-of-24 for 220 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

The Titans had to either replace Tannehill or find much more talent for him this offseason. They did neither for the most part. That small exception was the third-round pick used on Malik Willis. There’s a very tiny chance Willis will beat out Tannehill if he enjoys a terrific training camp and preseason, which is possible, given his upside. However, the consensus is that Willis is not ready for the NFL. He likely needs one year of development before he moves into a potential starting role, so Tannehill will likely have to quarterback the team again in 2022.

It’ll be difficult for Tannehill to rebound from the playoff debacle because he lost his top two receivers from last season. Julio Jones, and more importantly, A.J. Brown are both gone. Brown’s departure will be extremely painful because he was so talented. Plus, the Titans don’t have much else at the position. The two talented receivers on the team are Treylon Burks, a mere rookie, and Robert Woods, a player coming off an ACL tear. Burks has major potential, but was out of shape in May practices. Tennessee also signed tight end Austin Hooper, but he was a major disappointment in Cleveland. The Titans shouldn’t hold out hope that he’ll be a big producer for them.

Things will also potentially be worse on the offensive line. This is because the Titans lost two starting blockers: Rodger Saffold and David Quessenberry. Tennessee spent a second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on Dillon Radunz to take Quessenberry’s place, so that could end up working well, though Radunz was not impressive during his brief rookie action. Saffold’s spot will be a battle between Aaron Brewer and Jamarco Jones, both of whom performed poorly when given a chance to play last year.

The other three starting linemen will return. This includes Taylor Lewan, who is a terrific blind-side protector when healthy. Lewan, however, hasn’t played a full season since 2017, so he can’t be counted on to remain healthy. Meanwhile, center Ben Jones and right guard Nate Davis should continue to thrive while blocking for Derrick Henry.

Speaking of Henry, he was blowing everyone away in the rushing yards category before he suffered a foot injury in Week 8 last year. Henry is the most dominant runner in the NFL at the moment, but he has handled a massive workload over the years, so his body could begin wearing down soon. This foot injury could be the beginning of a trend.

2022 Tennessee Titans Defense:
While Tennessee’s offense is undergoing a huge change with A.J. Brown, Julio Jones and two offensive linemen departing, the defense has remained mostly intact. Only one early draft pick was used on the defensive side of the ball because the Titans lost only two players from their stop unit.

One of these players was Janoris Jenkins, who performed surprisingly well for Tennessee last year. Jenkins is in his mid-30s, however, so he wasn’t expected to continue to play at a high level moving forward. Thus, Tennessee replaced him with second-round rookie Roger McCreary. It’ll be interesting to see if the Auburn product overtakes one of the veterans for a starting role. He may have a chance because Kristian Fulton was mediocre at best last year, while 2021 first-round pick Caleb Farley was barely on the field last year because of a torn ACL.

Fortunately for the Titans, they won’t have any worries elsewhere in the secondary. It could be argued that the duo of Kevin Byard and Amani Hooker form the best safety tandem in the NFL. Byard, in particular, is an amazing player. He is constantly left off the NFL’s top-100 players list, which is evidence enough that those who vote for the list are completely clueless.

The second Titan defender to leave was Jayon Brown, who joined the Raiders this offseason. Brown is a good player, but wasn’t needed because Tennessee has a couple of solid linebackers in place. David Long enjoyed a quality 2021 campaign when he wasn’t dealing with a knee injury in the second half of the regular season. Cunningham, meanwhile, was acquired on waivers when the Texans inexplicably jettisoned him. Cunningham did well under Mike Vrabel, whom he played for in Houston.

Tennessee’s edge rush and defensive line are completely intact from last year. The best player in these two groups is Jeffery Simmons, who dominates the trenches. He and Denico Autry form a great five-technique tandem, though nose tackle Teair Tart is rather pedestrian.

Excluding Simmons, the top player in the front seven happens to be Harold Landry, who had a breakout year with 12 sacks in 2021. He was rewarded with an $87.5 million contract this spring. He’ll continue to play across from Bud Dupree, who disappointed last year with three sacks. However, Dupree was coming off a torn ACL, so he should be more productive this upcoming season.

2022 Tennessee Titans Schedule and Intangibles:
Randy Bullock did a fine job of kicking for the Titans last year, hitting 26 of his 31 attempts. He tried only one kick from 50-plus, and he made it.

Punter Brett Kern was in the middle of the pack in regard to net average last year. He didn’t do a good job of pinning the opposition inside the 20.

The Titans neither scored nor allowed a touchdown on special teams.

It’s a good thing the Titans have four easy games in the division because they have to battle the Bills, Chiefs, Bengals, Packers, Broncos, Chargers and Raiders.

2022 Tennessee Titans Rookies:
Go here for the Titans Rookie Forecast, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.

2022 Tennessee Titans Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2022 Tennessee Titans Analysis: The Titans almost certainly will not be the No. 1 seed again. In fact, the only reason they may qualify for the playoffs is because they’re in one of the worst divisions in the NFL. Ryan Tannehill will continue to weigh down the team, especially now that A.J. Brown is gone. If Derrick Henry gets hurt again, Tennessee will not be playing past Week 18.

Projection: 9-8 (TBA in AFC South)

2021 Projection: 9-8. 2021 Actual Result: 12-5.
2020 Projection: 9-7. 2020 Actual Result: 11-5.
2019 Projection: 7-9. 2019 Actual Result: 9-7.
2018 Projection: 7-9. 2018 Actual Result: 9-7.
2017 Projection: 11-5. 2017 Actual Result: 9-7.
2016 Projection: 6-10. 2016 Actual Result: 9-7.

NFL Draft Team Grade: B- Grade

Goals Entering the 2022 NFL Draft: The Titans know that Ryan Tannehill isn’t the answer. The problem is that they are probably not in a position to draft a quarterback. Unless Kenny Pickett or Malik Willis falls to them, Tennessee will have to just continue to strengthen their roster by adding to their pass rush and receiving/tight end corps. Tennessee will have to find a quarterback at some point as well.

2022 NFL Draft Accomplishments: If you were to tell anyone ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft that the Titans would draft Malik Willis after he fell to them, the consensus reaction would be, “That’s a steal at No. 26.” And yet, Tennessee was able to obtain him in the third round! Willis falling that far – 20 picks after Kellen Mond was drafted the prior year – was absolutely absurd. There’s no reason he should have been there, yet the Titans were able to greatly benefit from this. Willis was one of the two steals of the draft, with Nakobe Dean being the other.

This would automatically push me toward giving the Titans an A+, but I can’t do that because of what happened the prior day. Tennessee traded A.J. Brown to the Eagles for a pick in which they used on Treylon Burks. I like Burks as much as the next guy, but jettisoning Brown because of Ryan Tannehill’s contract was a huge blunder by the front office. The Titans basically conceded the AFC South to the Colts with this transaction, but I suppose it’s OK because they now can look toward the future with Willis.

I liked most of Tennessee’s other picks, including Nick Petit-Frere in the third round. The Titans had to find offensive line help for Derrick Henry, and the Ohio State product will certainly help. It should have been a positive weekend overall for the Titans, who now have a bright future, but giving up Brown was crushing blow to both the fan base and those in the organization who were surprised by the trade.

NFL Draft Individual Grades:

18. Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas – B Grade
The Titans acquired this pick from the Eagles for A.J. Brown. They obviously needed to replace him, and Treylon Burks is the best receiver on the board. He was considered the fifth of the top five receivers even though he was the sixth wideout chosen, but I didn’t think that was fair. Burks is very close to the other four receivers, so I love this value for Tennessee. Surrendering Brown is a tough pill to swallow though.

35. Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn – B- Grade
No Malik Willis for the Titans, which has to disappoint the Tennessee fans. It’s a shame, as they’ll have to continue to endure Ryan Tannehill’s mediocrity. Roger McCreary is a solid pick, and I thought he had a chance to be chosen in the middle of the second round. This is a bit early for him, but it’s fine.

69. Nick Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State – B+ Grade
This is a solid pick. I had Nick Petit-Frere in the second or third round, depending on the update, and the Titans really needed to focus on their offensive line. They missed out on the top two guards, but Petit-Frere should help protect Ryan Tannehill, as the mediocre quarterback chokes away another playoff game.

86. Malik Willis, QB, Liberty – A+ Grade
LOL! I thought the Titans should have abandoned Ryan Tannehill and drafted Malik Willis at No. 35, yet they were able to do this at No. 86. Willis will obviously sit for a year or so, but he’s going to take over for Tannehill at some point. Willis has huge upside with his athleticism and mobility, and he’s also a smart quarterback. He’s just raw, but the Titans should be able to develop him rather quickly for 2023 and beyond. This is an obvious A+.

131. Hassan Haskins, RB, Michigan – C- Grade
Hassan Haskins was in and out of my mock draft in the sixth and seventh round. He didn’t make the final cut, but easily could have. With that in mind, this is a reach. The Titans could’ve found a similar running back later, though it does make sense that they’d find some insurance for Derrick Henry.

143. Chig Okonkwo, TE, Maryland – B Grade
I liked one or two tight ends better than Chig Okonkwo, but the Titans are making a fine selection to conclude the fourth round. They’ve lacked good tight end play for quite some time, so maybe Okonkwo can help in that regard.

163. Kyle Phillips, WR, UCLA – B Grade
This is a decent pick. The Titans may have been able to obtain Kyle Phillips a bit later, but that’s not a big deal at this juncture. He potentially fills a need in the wake of the A.J. Brown and Julio Jones departures. Kyle Phillips is a quick receiver and a strong route runner.

204. Theo Jackson, S, Tennessee – C+ Grade
Theo Jackson was a productive player as a quality blitzer at Tennessee, but I didn’t think he was going to be drafted. This is a bit of a reach, but we’re in the middle of the sixth round now, so I don’t think this is a big deal.

219. Chance Campbell, LB, Ole Miss – C Grade
I thought this said Charlie Campbell for a second, which would be a better pick for Tennessee. Chance Campbell has been a productive linebacker for both Ole Miss and Maryland throughout his collegiate career, but I didn’t think he would be drafted.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Season Summary:
The Titans earned the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, but it didn’t end up mattering because they lost right away in the playoffs. Ryan Tannehill sabotaged a great defensive performance, so Tennessee may want to find an upgrade for him during the offseason.

Offseason Moves:
  • Titans acquire WR Robert Woods from Rams for draft pick
  • Titans sign TE Austin Hooper
  • Titans sign RB Trenton Cannon
  • Titans sign OT/G Jamarco Jones

    Team Needs:
    1. Quarterback: Ryan Tannehill is a mediocre starting quarterback. We know he can get the team to the playoffs, but he can’t win very many games in January. The Titans should do everything they can to trade for Russell Wilson.

    2. Cornerback: Tennessee was weak to the pass last year, as Janoris Jenkins was given way too many snaps. Caleb Farley will be back from injury next year, but more cornerback help is needed.

    3. Defensive Tackle: The Titans could stand to improve their pass rush even more to help their secondary. They need another interior rusher to go along with Jeffery Simmons.

    4. Wide Receiver: The Titans cut Julio Jones, so they’ll need a replacement. Traded for Robert Woods

    5. Tight End: Jonnu Smith was missed last year. Tennessee will have to find a better intermediate threat. Signed Austin Hooper

    6. Edge Rusher: Harold Landry is coming off his best season as a pro, but he’s now set to enter free agency. If the Titans don’t keep him, they’ll need to find a new edge rusher. Re-signed Harold Landry

    7. Linebacker: Jayon Brown is another key front-seven player heading for free agency.

    8. Center: Ben Jones is one of Tennessee’s top impending free agents, so he’ll need to be re-signed or replaced. Re-signed Ben Jones

      Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    2022 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Austin Hooper, TE, Browns. Age: 27.
      Signed with Titans (1 year, $6 million)

      Austin Hooper was a colossal bust for the Browns. Perhaps he can rebound to the form he had with Atlanta.

    2. Jamarco Jones, G/OT, Seahawks. Age: 26. — Signed with Titans (2 years, $5.8 million)
    3. Trenton Cannon, RB, 49ers. Age: 27. — Signed with Titans

    Tennessee Titans Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Titans. Age: 26.
      Re-signed with Titans (5 years, $87.5 million)

      Harold Landry is coming off his best season as a pro; he collected 12 sacks in 2021. He turns 26 this summer, so he should continue to improve.

    2. Ben Jones, C, Titans. Age: 33.
      Re-signed with Titans (2 years, $14 million)

      Ben Jones has been one of the better centers in the NFL in recent years, but he may slow down soon now that he’s entering his mid-30s.

    3. David Quessenberry, OT, Titans. Age: 32.
      Signed with Bills (1 year)

      If you didn’t read Jacob Camenker’s feature on David Quessenberry, check it out. Quessenberry overcame cancer to become a solid starting lineman in the NFL.

    4. Jayon Brown, LB, Titans. Age: 27.
      Signed with Raiders

      The normally solid Jayon Brown struggled in 2021, likely because of a lingering injury. He should be able to bounce back in 2022.

    5. Rodger Saffold, G, Titans. Age: 34.
      Signed with Bills

      Now in his mid-30s, Rodger Saffold has seen his pass-protection abilities decline, but he’s still a solid run blocker.

    6. Janoris Jenkins, CB, Titans. Age: 33.
      Janoris Jenkins was a surprise performer last year for the Titans, but he could easily regress now that he’s in his mid-30s.

    7. Julio Jones, WR, Titans. Age: 33.
      Julio Jones was horrible in his first and only season with the Titans. He endured injuries and wasn’t very effective when on the field. It’s likely that his time in the NFL is quickly coming to an end.

    8. MyCole Pruitt, TE, Titans. Age: 30.
    9. Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, DE/OLB, Titans. Age: 24. — Re-signed with Titans (1 year)
    10. Chester Rogers, WR, Titans. Age: 28.
    11. Anthony Firkser, TE, Titans. Age: 27. — Signed with Falcons
    12. Geoff Swaim, TE, Titans. Age: 28. — Re-signed with Titans
    13. Dane Cruikshank, S, Titans. Age: 27.
    14. Buster Skrine, CB, Titans. Age: 33. — Re-signed with Titans
    15. Kyle Peko, DT, Titans. Age: 29.
    16. Matthias Farley, S, Titans. Age: 30.
    17. Greg Mabin, CB, Titans. Age: 28.
    18. Marcus Johnson, WR, Titans. Age: 28. — Signed with 49ers
    19. Kendall Lamm, OT, Titans. Age: 30.
    20. Trevon Coley, DT, Titans. Age: 28.
    21. Nick Dzubnar, DE/OLB, Titans. Age: 31.
    22. Ryan Izzo, TE, Titans. Age: 26.

    NFL Free Agent Tracker:
    QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Rumors

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