With Too Many Spots to Fill, Titans Should Not Draft a Safety

Marcus Maye
  Marcus Maye

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Even after a nice haul of free agents, the Titans have a long list of needs heading toward the draft.

Let’s put them in desperation order. In other words, given what they have on the roster, how much trouble would they be in if they don't get one? The worst of those comes first.

Left tackle – No one on the roster now is capable of holding the position down. It's clearly something they will address with one of their first two picks.

Edge – They have one and a half in Harold Landry and Arden Key, who’s been identified by the new regime as a situational pass rusher. They are not looking at Rashad Weaver or Caleb Murphy as dependable third-pass rushers or edge-setters.

Inside linebacker – Kenneth Murray needs to have a precise assignment, working downhill and being sent on blitzes. They need a heady three-down linebacker who can cover to be next to him, and he needs to be better than Otis Reese or Jack Gibbens.

Safety – Elijah Molden is not fast enough to be Amani Hooker’s regular counterpart and has been injury-prone. He’s best as a third safety/ dime type.

Receiver – They can survive with what they have but a young, dynamic receiver to go with Calvin Ridley and DeAndre Hopkins would do a lot for Brian Callahan’s offense.

Cornerback – The top three is set with L’Jarius Sneed, Chidobe Awuzie and Roger McCreary. But Ran Carthon was emphasizing their role in stopping the run and Sneed’s got a knee he needs to manage and the depth behind them is poor.

Tight end – We haven’t gotten a great sense of how they feel about Chig Okonkwo and Josh Whyle. Thomas Odukoya had a strong camp last year but they never considered elevating him off the practice squad.He’s the only other tight end on the roster right now.

Right tackle – I get the sense they may be OK sorting through Nicholas Petite-Frere, Jaelyn Duncan and, perhaps, a veteran who pops up for them later if they feel the need to add him. 

That is, obviously, way more than the Titans can address with their draft class, and picks in the fourth round and beyond are generally hard-pressed to be significant contributors as rookies.

Something is going unaddressed as the Titans spend those picks at the end of the month.

I think they should leave safety alone.

They’ve shown interest in Justin Simmons and Marcus Maye, who remain on the market.

The market is likely to shift for those veterans after the draft. Maybe a safety-needy team missed in the draft comes out of it desperate and panics. But the number of teams in need will shrink, and Simmons or Maye should become more affordable for the Titans. 

“The amount of safeties that are on the street right now, it's a plethora of guys that have played a ton of ball in the league,” Ran Carthon said. “We visited some guys and we're going to continue to do our due diligence on those guys and see where the market brings us….

“Everyone is going to be excited about the new shiny toys that is the draft class. Once we get through the draft and we see where teams have made their needs because there are other teams that need safeties, I think it could take the safety market either way, depending on who's available at that time. We've been well positioned, well thought out in our plan of still being able to attack post-draft, kind of like we did with DeAndre (Hopkins) last year, to be in position to sign a player if we need to.”

Callahan has spoken well of Molden but also said there is room to add at safety.

“Add for competition, add for depth,” he said. “Rarely do you see all your safeties, with the way the position Kuharsky megaphoneis played, make it through the year. So you’re going to try to keep adding players there. There have been guys we’ve explored. Those doors aren’t closed yet. There are still possibilities to add there as we move forward.” 

The Titans are also going to have to choose spots to rely on undrafted free agents, remaining free agents who are particularly high quality and the players left on the back end of their roster.

That could be fleshing out tight end to find blocking options to compete with Odukoya, depth at corner behind a strong trio or counting on Bill Callahan to do his best with what he’s got at right tackle.

But eight new free agents and eight draft picks can’t fill all the holes.

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