The Titans could certainly use more talent on their defensive line. Jurrell Casey is a stud and one of the best interior defensive linemen in the NFL, but the Titans have never really paired him with a talent that could even come close to matching his ability. DaQuan Jones has been a fine starter in his time, but he took a bit of a step backwards last season in my opinion. Austin Johnson is a solid run stopper, but hasn’t really lived up to the hype he was saddled with when Jon Robinson made him the 43rd overall selection in the 2016 NFL draft. There also isn’t much on the roster behind these three.
Tennessee will likely add at least one interior defensive linemen at some point. Let’s take a look at prospects that could fit in every round.
Round 1: Ed Oliver, Houston
One of the best players in the 2019 NFL draft, Oliver has no business being available when the Titans come on the clock at 19, but stranger things have happened. Oliver’s pre-draft process has been filled with confusion. I personally see an excellent talent that can play on my defensive line any day of the week, but some talent evaluators apparently see a linebacker (wut?). Oliver has been one of the most dominant forces in college football over the past few seasons. His elite first step allows him access into the backfield on a snap-by-snap basis. It’s cliche, but he really does remind me a lot of Aaron Donald in that sense, who was also called undersized throughout his draft process. If Oliver is still available at let’s say 13, I wonder if the Titans think about trading up to get him.
Round 2: Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State
A top-10 prospect on my board prior to suffering a torn ACL in mid February, Simmons’ stock will undoutedebly be effected by the status of his health. An incredibly powerful prospect with the best bull rush of any player in this class, Simmons is a blue chip talent on tape. He also appears to be an excellent athlete. He moves incredibly well for his size. His change of direction skills are beyond impressive for someone that was listed at over 300 pounds. It’s a shame we didn’t get to see him at the combine. I think he would have looked incredibly smooth in the position drills especially. If Simmons is taken outside the top-32, someone is going to get an absolute steal.
Round 3: Renell Wren, Arizona State
If the Titans are looking for a powerful force on the backend of Day 2, Wren is an intriguing name to monitor. Wren needs to place his punch more consistently, but there are instances on tape where he devastates his opponent. He has an excellent first step and he’s a handful when he extends his 33-inch arms. His pass rush arsenal is limited at this point, but there’s a lot to like about Wren. He also had a private workout with the Titans a few weeks ago, so there’s at least some interest here.
Round 4: Daniel Wise, Kansas
The first thing I noticed about Wise when I put the tape on was how quick he is to get off the ball. He has excellent snap anticipation, and he wins often because of it. He also has an impressive amount of bend for a man that weighed in at 281 pounds in Indianapolis. He understands how to use his hands to keep his chest plate clean. He’s incredibly crafty in this area of his game. Wise fires out of his stance with a low center of gravity that allows him to win the leverage battle on a consistent basis. Wise also does more than hold his own in the run game. Wise is one of the more underrated players in this entire draft.
Round 5: Chris Slayton, Syracuse
I don’t know if the Titans plan on playing Austin Johnson at nose tackle in 2019, but they appear to have a hole there currently. Bennie Logan played the position for the team last season, but they seem to have little to no interest in re-signing him. Jon Robinson hasn’t put a ton of value on the position during his time in Tennessee, and I can see them drafting a guy on Day 3 with hopes that he can one day become a cheap, starting option there. Slayton has that ability. He was extremely productive at Syracuse. He’s an incredibly powerful player that can get off the ball in a hurry. His ability to rush the passer should land him somewhere in this range.
Round 6: Demarcus Christmas, FSU
FSU were a bad football team in 2018 and I feel like we’re slightly overlooking Christmas because of it. Burns garnered all of the attention nationally, and understandably so, but Christmas is a fine player in his own right. He’s a quality prospect that offers a ton of power at the point of attack. He’s a stout player who’s incredibly difficult to move out of his gap. His play strength is tremendous. I’m not sure that he has enough juice to survive as a pass rusher at the next level, but Christmas has all the tools to at least be a quality rotational defensive linemen.
Round 7: Michael Dogbe, Temple
A powerful defensive linemen, the Titans recently went to lunch with Dogbe. Put the tape on and it’s easy to see why they’re showing interest in him. He’s a powerful defensive line prospect who has a ton of strength to his game. He handled double teams well throughout his time at Temple. He’s used to capturing a lot of attention as the star player of his position group. Temple moved Dogbe all around their defensive line and the results were consistently positive. He’s a versatile player with a wide variety of moves in his pass rush arsenal. He’s certainly worth using a draft pick on.