The first round of free agency has come and past. As expected, Jon Robinson steered clear of most of the top names. He fixed up the special teams and got started fixing the defense, but a lot of roster holes remain. Here is how I see the remaining needs shaking out.
1. A True #1 Receiver
There really aren’t all that many true #1 receivers left in the league, but I think the Titans could really benefit from a physically dominant alpha. I couldn’t tell you the last time they had one. Mariota is good enough to work with whoever you throw at him, but he could pop (like any other quarterback would) with a game-changing number one receiver. At this point, Corey Davis is the only one left to me. I don’t think any receiver left on the market do much for the Titans.
2. Outside Cornerback
Logan Ryan is such an upgrade. It can’t be overstated. But what do they do across from him? Is McCourty their guy? He’s a good candidate for a cap casualty. Did LeShaun Sims do enough to earn that role? I think you can do better. Even if you keep both of those guys, your next guy can’t be Valentino Blake. We saw how important corner depth was last season.
3. Slot Cornerback
Similar to Valentino Blake, the Titans have to do better than Brice McCain in the slot. It’s become such an important position in the league today with nickel becoming more and more prominent. You better have three corners that you trust to man up consistently. The Titans didn’t have one last year.
4. Blocking tight end
It can’t be overstated how big of a loss Anthony Fasano was. Two tight end sets were the norm for the Titans last year when they ran the football. Phillip Supernaw was retained, but they’ll need at least one more for jumbo sets. OJ Howard makes some sense, but I’m not sure they want to invest a first rounder in the position.
5. Slot reciever
Kendall Wright played this role some last year, but disappointed. Harry Douglas isn’t the answer. They haven’t given Tre McBride much of a shot. The Titans can upgrade here. Getting a guy that can get the tough yards and add some YAC should be high on Jon Robinson’s list. Ryan Switzer or Trent Taylor make sense in the mid-rounds.
6. Athletic, passing down linebacker
Sean Spence is a free agent. Tennessee doesn’t really have that guy that can guard backs or tight ends. This was one one of the reasons why signing Dont’a Hightower didn’t make sense. The Titans need an infusion of speed and athletic ability at linebacker, not necessarily physicality.
Is Josh Kline your guy at right guard? Maybe for the short term. Maybe Sebastian Tretola gets a shot. Either way, Schwenke is gone to Indianapolis, so Robinson will need to add another interior lineman to the mix — likely one that can step in at center if needed.
8. Strong Safety
Johnathan Cyprien is your starter at strong safety for now. But is he going to be a full time player? He’s a guy that struggles in coverage, but excels in the box. I think you need another guy that you can trust to go cover a deep half. I initially thought Jamal Adams was out of the mix at 5, but I was wrong. You could make an appealing case for Adams, with Cyprien playing more of a nickel linebacker role.
9. Pass rush help
Who couldn’t use another pass rusher? This all depends on Kevin Dodd — who we hope comes back with a vengeance this year — but I’m not holding my breath. Aaron Wallace is your other option. There’s a reason the Titans are visiting with Erik Walden, however. Also, Orakpo and Morgan aren’t getting any younger...
10. 3rd running back
Antonio Andrews is a goner. The Titans could use some speed and agility out of the backfield. How much longer are you banking on DeMarco Murray being a top back? Runners usually hit a wall around 30. Murray is 29. Adding a scat back that can spell Derrick Henry in 2018 should be something Robinson considers. A back like that could contribute on special teams or the return game immediately.