2024 NFL Season Preview: Tennessee Titans

Tony Pollard

Tennessee Titans (Last Year: 6-11)

Season Summary:
The Titans were not expected to have a successful season, yet they still fired Mike Vrabel after a 6-11 season. Tennessee has to begin anew in what looks like a long rebuilding process.

2024 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
QB Mason Rudolph, RB Tony Pollard, WR Calvin Ridley, G Saahdiq Charles, C Lloyd Cushenberry, DT Sebastian Joseph-Day, LB Kenneth Murray, CB L’Jarius Sneed, CB Chidobe Awuzie.
Early Draft Picks:
OT J.C. Latham, NT T’Vondre Sweat, LB Cedric Gray, CB Jarvis Brownlee. Titans Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
QB Ryan Tannehill, RB Derrick Henry, WR Nick Westbrook, OT Andre Dillard, OT Chris Hubbard, C Aaron Brewer, DE Denicco Autry, LB Azeez Al-Shaair, CB Sean Murphy-Bunting, CB Kristian Fulton, S Terrell Edmunds.

2024 Tennessee Titans Offense:
The Derrick Henry era is over. Henry was a punishing runner for the Titans over a long span, but he’s gone. This, however, does not mean that the Titans are transitioning to a more passing approach to their offense. They spent big money on Tony Pollard this offseason to complement Tyjae Spears, who was a terrific receiver out of the backfield as a rookie. Pollard is coming off a down year because of a broken leg he suffered in the preceding winter, but when completely healthy, he’s an explosive rusher who can go the distance whenever he touches the ball.

Tennessee’s ability to maintain a strong rushing attack will be necessary to allow Will Levis to develop. A second-round pick from the 2023 NFL Draft, Levis has immense potential, but also possesses a low floor. This was evident last year when he thrived in his debut versus Atlanta and then led a comeback against the Dolphins, but looked absolutely dreadful while playing against the Buccaneers and Colts. Levis will have to lean on the ground game as he learns how to play consistently in the NFL.

Obviously, it’ll help that Levis has an improved receiving corps. The cupboard was bare last year aside from DeAndre Hopkins, a declining player at this stage of his career, and tight end Chig Okonkwo, an athletic but inconsistent player. Tennessee’s front office spent multiple resources to strengthen this area. It signed Calvin Ridley to a huge contract and then added Tyler Boyd. Ridley is a great talent, but tends to be a knucklehead in the locker room, so it remains to be seen how he’ll behave while dealing with Levis’ inconsistency. Boyd, meanwhile, has been one of the better No. 3 receivers in the league over the past few years, so he’ll continue to serve in that role in Tennessee.

In addition to better receivers, Levis also needed upgraded blocking. The Titans sorely missed retired left tackle Taylor Lewan, prompting them to spend the No. 7 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft on J.C. Latham. While Latham has immense potential, there’s also a low floor with him because he is a natural right tackle who will be tasked with manning the blind side. There’s also a poor history of Alabama tackles translating to the pros, so there’s a decent chance Latham busts. Latham will begin as a starter and will be bookended by Dillon Radunz, who had a fairly decent 2023 campaign.

Latham wasn’t the only player the Titans added to their offensive line. They signed Lloyd Cushenberry to play center. Formerly of the Broncos, Cushenberry will be a fine upgrade at the pivot. He’ll be sandwiched by Peter Skoronski and Daniel Brunskill. Skoronski had his struggles as a rookie last year, but he has immense potential as a top-10 prospect. Brunskill is a decent, but unspectacular player.

2024 Tennessee Titans Defense:
The Titans added plenty of talent to strengthen their receiving corps and offensive line this offseason. They also focused on one spot of their defense, and that happened to be the cornerbacks. Tennessee endured miserable play from its corners last year, but it would be shocking if that were the case again in 2024.

The Titans brought in L’Jarius Sneed and Chidobe Awuzie as colossal upgrades. Sneed was a shutdown cornerback for the Chiefs, while Awuzie served as Cincinnati’s top corner. Tennessee will now have two No. 1 cornerbacks on the roster, which will make it very difficult for the opposition to throw on them. Also, Roger McCreary cannot be forgotten. McCreary did a solid job as Tennessee’s slot cornerback last year, so he’ll reprise that role in 2024.

Completing the secondary are Amani Hooker and Elijah Molden at safety. Hooker is coming off a down year, but has performed on a high level in the past. Molden can be a liability, but he looks to be the only weak part of Tennessee’s defensive backfield.

The Titans possess a couple of players who can produce plenty of pressure on the quarterback to further aid the secondary. Their sack leader from last year, Denico Autry, is gone, but Autry really was able to benefit from Harold Landry’s presence. Landry notched 10.5 sacks and has the potential to accumulate more in 2024. Arden Key, whose role will increase this year, chipped in with six sacks.

Tennessee’s top front-seven player is Jeffery Simmons, a dominant force on the defensive line. Simmons missed five games last year, so Tennessee will be hoping for better injury luck this upcoming season. Simmons will be playing with two new members on the front. T’Vondre Sweat, a monstrous run stuffer, was selected in the second round. There’s also Sebastian Joseph-Day, a mediocre journeyman.

While the Titans have plenty of talent in the secondary and the defensive line, the linebacking corps looks to be a huge weakness. The current starters are projected to be Kenneth Murray and Jack Gibbens unless fourth-round rookie Cedric Gray pushes for one of the roles. Gibbens showed some potential last year, but Murray is a humongous liability.

2024 Tennessee Titans Schedule and Intangibles:
Nick Folk did a great job of replacing Randy Bullock. He drilled 29-of-30 field goals, including 5-of-6 from beyond 50.

Punter Ryan Stonehouse has one of the strongest legs in the NFL. He was third in net punting and did a great job of pinning the opposition inside the 20.

The Titans have an extremely difficult schedule to begin the season. Their first seven opponents are the Bears, Jets, Packers, Dolphins, Colts, Bills, and Lions. The schedule is mixed to close out the year.

2024 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.

2024 Tennessee Titans Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2024 Tennessee Titans Analysis: The Titans added plenty of talent this offseason, upgrading their receivers, offensive linemen, and defensive backs. This may have been enough to reach the playoffs in the NFC, but playing in the AFC is much more difficult. Tennessee will be very competitive if Will Levis takes a big step in his second season, but if he even makes a small progression, the Titans will be locked into last place in the division.

Projection: 5-12 (4th in AFC South)

2023 Projection: 6-11. 2023 Actual Result: 6-11.
2022 Projection: 9-8. 2022 Actual Result: 7-10.
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:

C+ Grade

Goals Entering the 2024 NFL Draft: Will Levis is still a big question mark. His career could go one of two ways depending on how much talent the Titans surround him with during the 2024 NFL Draft. They already signed Calvin Ridley in free agency, but there’s still lots of work to be done, as Tennessee needs to find a left tackle, some other offensive line upgrades, and another receiver.

2024 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The Titans apparently didn’t get the memo that they needed to help Will Levis. Only two of their draft choices were spent on offensive players. Of course, the first one was with J.C. Latham coming off the board at No. 7 overall. However, Latham is a right tackle who will be asked to play on the blind side. It’s not clear if he’ll have a smooth transition.

Tennessee’s other offensive pick was a late-round receiver. The team bolstered its defense otherwise, but reached a bit in the second round with T’Vondre Sweat, who was expected to fall because of off-the-field issues. The Titans rebounded with Cedric Gray and Jarvis Brownlee after that. I also liked some of their late-round picks.

While there were some positives to Tennessee’s draft, it’s reasonable to suspect that the offense will struggle in 2024. Things could have been much better in that regard, so the Titans may be kicking themselves for passing on all the offensive talent available in this class.

NFL Draft Individual Grades:

7. J.C. Latham, OT, Alabama – C Grade

I’m not crazy about this pick. I get it because the Titans don’t have a left tackle, but J.C. Latham, despite his placement in my mock draft, doesn’t stand out to be as a top-10 prospect, and I also think he’d be a better fit at right tackle than left tackle. I was hoping the Titans would trade down and get Latham later, but they didn’t do that. I’m not going to fail Tennessee for this selection, but it could have been better.

38. T’Vondre Sweat, NT, Texas – C Grade

The poor Bengals have to be upset that T’Vondre Sweat didn’t make it to their pick, and I’m not saying that because Sweat has character issues. They really wanted him. Sweat fills a need for the Titans’ defensive line, but his character concerns make him too risky for my liking atop the second round.

106. Cedric Gray, LB, North Carolina – B+ Grade

The Titans really need a linebacker, as Kenneth Murray is projected to start right now. Cedric Gray is an instinctive linebacker, so he could take Murray’s job sooner rather than later. I had him in the third round of my mock on occasion, so I like the value.

146. Jarvis Brownlee, CB, Louisville – A+ Grade

The Titans had some major problems at cornerback last year. They signed some players, but needed one more player at the position. We considered Jarvis Brownlee to be a third-round prospect, so this is a major steal. Brownlee is talented enough to challenge for a job early in his career.

182. Jha’Quan Jackson, WR, Tulane – B Grade

Jha’Quan Jackson was a middling performer at the Senior Bowl, so he didn’t really improve his draft stock. It’s not surprising that he lasted until the sixth round. The range makes sense for a team that had to find some receiving depth.

242. James Williams, S/LB, Miami – B+ Grade

James Williams was a productive player at Miami, but he fell because he’s a tweener. It’s unclear if he can play safety or linebacker. He’ll have to make the roster on special teams while he figures out where he can play on the first three downs.

252. Jaylen Harrell, DE, Michigan – A Grade

What a steal for the Titans in the final 10 picks of the draft. Jaylen Harrell was considered a fourth-round prospect who could fall to the third round. He was a productive player at Michigan, though he’s somewhat undersized. Still, it seems like he could contribute in the pros.

Season Summary:
The Titans were not expected to have a successful season, yet they still fired Mike Vrabel after a 6-11 season. Tennessee has to begin anew in what looks like a long rebuilding process.

Offseason Moves:
  • Titans acquire CB L’Jarius Sneed from Chiefs for 2025 third-round pick and seventh-round pick swap

    Team Needs:
    1. Left Tackle: Tennessee’s pass protection must improve. Andre Dillard was a huge bust at left tackle.

    2. Two Wide Receivers: DeAndre Hopkins is old and may not even be around next year. If he leaves, Treylon Burks will be the No. 1 receiver. Two new wideouts must be added. Signed Calvin Ridley

    3. Two Interior Offensive Linemen: Only one interior blocker will be needed if Aaron Brewer is re-signed. Another guard is needed as well. Signed Lloyd Cushenberry

    4. Two Cornerbacks: Once the Titans fix their offense, they must turn toward their secondary, which was torched mercilessly last year. Two new cornerbacks are needed. Traded for L’Jarius Sneed; signed Chidobe Awuzie

    5. Safety: Better safety play is needed as well in the wake of the Kevin Byard trade.

    6. Edge Rusher: Denico Autry has to be replaced or re-signed.

    7. Linebacker: Azeez Al-Shaair did well for the Titans last year, but he’s an impending free agent.

    8. Quarterback: Will Levis will get a chance to prove himself, but he doesn’t seem like the long-term solution in a limited sample size. Signed Mason Rudolph

    9. Running Back: Tyjae Spears looks like a viable replacement for Derrick Henry, but Tennessee will need a backup behind Spears. Signed Tony Pollard

      Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    2024 NFL Free Agent Signings:

    Tennessee Titans Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.

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

    Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23

    2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21

    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

    NFL Picks - Feb. 12