Titans' Day Three: Green Dot, Grinder Nickel, Return Man and More

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A review of the Titans’ five Day Three picks in the 2024 NFL Draft…

ILB Cedric Gray, North Carolina, No. 106 in the fourth

Cedric Gray
  Cedric Gray/ Courtesy UNC Athletics

Every pre-draft write-up I found about Cedric Gray said the weakness is play recognition. But the North Carolina inside linebacker said he believes things clicked in for him as a sophomore and he feels he’s got a good feel for the game.

He didn't remember talking to the Titans at all, but they said the did meet him at the Senior Bowl.

Ran Carthon said he was so clean they didn't need to have him in for one of their 30 visits.

“I believe I have great play recognition,” he said. “Something that I pride myself on. Just having a high knowledge of the football game, understanding defenses, understanding how the offense is trying to attack us. It’s something that I’ve studied in film sessions over the years, discussed with coaches, teammates.

“And I think that part of my game has evolved over the years. So I just continually need to do that going to the next level." [Unlocked]

Blake Beddingfield: “Three-down LB. Good quickness and speed. Average instincts and average strength. Good fourth-rounder. Can start and is probably the best option based on the current roster.”

CB Jarvis Brownlee, Louisville, No. 146 in the fifth

The Titans added physical cornerbacks when they signed Chidobe Awuzie as a free agent and traded for L’Jarius Sneed. Brownlee, who started out at Florida State and transferred to Louisville, plays with a similar edge and will fit right into the attitude.

He said he loves both corner and nickel but if he had to choose, he’d pick nickel. Assistant GM Anthony Robinson said the Titans see him as a guy who can play either,a passionate guy who plays bigger than he measures.

“It just felt like home,” Brownlee said of his visit with the Titans. “We had great talks and communicated great with the coach. I kind of knew if the Colts didn’t get me the Titans were coming.”

He’s an admirer of Sneed and said he’s up for the challenges he’s now given in the NFL. Brownlee paced around his mother’s bedroom while he conducted his Zoom call with the Nashville media and said he was hyped, anxious, and “kind of upset,” because he felt like he was one of the top corners in the draft.

Former Louisville DB Jarvis Brownlee Jr. (19) intercepts a pass during the Reese's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024.
Jarvis Brownlee with a Senior Bowl interception/ © Gregg Pachkowski / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / USA TODAY NETWORK

As for his skill set fit: “I think it’ll be great.”

The best cornerback in Titans history, Samari Rolle, coached Brownlee in seven-on-seven when he was in high school.

“Grinder,” Rolle said. “He was on a team that had a lot of talent with Jordan Battle and Tyrique Stephenson and he was a tad bit behind them from a polish standpoint. But he works hard and competes and the more he trusts you the harder he works.

“He will be very good in the slot down the line, I believe.”

Blake Beddingfield: “I like Brownlee. Aggressive, tough. Good speed. Can play inside or out.”

WR Jha’Quan Jackson, Tulane, No. 182 in the sixth

A small (5-9, 188) and fast (4.42) slot receiver who should also be at the head of the line for Titans’ returners. 

"I think he's a dual returner," Carthon said. "And he has an element that he can bring to the offense. A complete guy for us, he just made sense."

The nephew of Hall of Famer Ed Reed, he dealt with multiple injuries at Tulane. In his career totals of 109 catches for 1,747 yards and 17 touchdowns, he never had more than 33 catches, 554 yards or eight TDs in a season. 

Jha'Quan Jackson
Jha'Quan Jackson/ Courtesy Tulane Athletics

“I’m a gym rat,” he said. “That’s all I do. I will not have a problem learning the playbook.”

He counted off three main injuries – a labrum, an MCL and an ankle.

“I’m healthy right now, I’m ready to roll,” he said. “…You can’t really control the injuries. You’re playing a physical sport that beats up your body. You’ve just got to maintain and rehab and all that. 

He played in 56 games in five seasons, with only 19 starts.

Getting off the line against physical coverage is an area he will need to get better, but Carthon said that is the case for most receivers as press coverage isn't popular in college.

Blake Beddingfield: “Jackson is a slot. He is a solid player. Lacks big-time traits. Solid speed when running vertically but doesn’t run away from defenders in the open field. Lacks strength to run after contact.”

S James Williams, Miami, 242 in the seventh

Williams said the Titans intend for him to play linebacker. 

"It's a whole new position for me," he said. "I've got to learn a whole new thing from square one. I'm embracing it, I'm open. I'm willing to do it. I'm dying to do it. And I can't wait to get up there.

James Williams
James Williams/ Courtesy Miami Athletics

He said he played on all four special teams units at Miami and is raring to do the same in Nashville for the Titans. 

He watched the whole draft pick-by-pick, waiting for the phone call.

"Never discouraged, never questioned myself, never doubted myself," he said. "Just wanted that opportunity I got tonight."

Blake Beddingfield: "Williams is a nickel LB and special teamer. Not excited about him. Fine but making the move from safety to LB." 

DE Jaylen Harrell, Michigan, 252 in the seventh

Harrell said the Titans' defensive systems are similar to what he was part of at Michigan. He didn't talk to the Titans much in the process.

"I bring a lot of versatility," he said. "I'm a high-effort, high-motor guy. I can rush the passer., I can set the edge."

He will be an outside linebacker for the Titans, Carthon said, starting out on the strongside.

"He's got some athleticism with some twitch and speed," the GM said.  

Jaylen Harrell
Jaylen Harrell/ Courtesy Michigan Athletics

Blake Beddingfield: "Harrell is a solid athlete with average production. Fine where he was selected but not a high-upside trait player. Fit a need." 

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