The dead period of the NFL offseason is in full swing now and that means lots and lots of list articles as the media continues to try to feed the insatiable beast that is the modern football fan. I actually don’t mind list pieces. They’re easy and quick to read and sometimes can be thought provoking, like the one that Marc Sessler of NFL.com published today naming the player most likely to make their first Pro Bowl from all 16 AFC teams.
Sessler picked second year pass rusher Harold Landry for the Titans with this commentary about his choice.
Landry’s part-time role is set to grow with Brian Orakpo (who retired) and Derrick Morgan(who’s still a free agent) out the door. A second-round pick in 2018, the rookie showed pass-rushing promise down the stretch and triggered a game-turning forced fumble of Carson Wentz in a Week 4 comeback win over the Eagles. Landry should benefit from one-on-one matchups, with Cameron Wake added to the mix. “I think he will break out. ... First-step quickness, outstanding closing burst and had a knack for getting it done,” NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks said on the “Move The Sticks” podcast in May. “We saw flashes of it during his rookie season with the Titans. I believe we get a bigger dose [in 2019].”
Landry is a really solid choice. We saw flashes in his rookie season as the former second round pick tallied 4.5 sacks along with a team leading 14 quarterback hits.
All indications from offseason comments and reports are that Landry has been all but living in the Titans weight room this offseason and working hard to develop some counters off his prolific speed rush. He’s up to 255 pounds and feeling more explosive after playing much of 2018 at 250 or below and seems to be ready for a full time role in year two.
I have been a big proponent of Landry since before the 2018 NFL Draft so you won’t get much argument from me, but here are some other choices that I think could have a shot at adding Pro Bowler to their resume for the first time.
(Taylor Lewan, Jurrell Casey, Cameron Wake, Brett Kern, Kevin Byard, Malcolm Butler, and Delanie Walker have already been Pro Bowlers and are therefore excluded from this conversation)
Rodger Saffold, LG
Saffold has somehow yet to make a Pro Bowl in his nine year career despite being one of the top guards in the game over the past few seasons (and making Second Team All-Pro in 2017). I think there is a chance that he breaks through in Tennessee.
The Titans are set to run left — a lot — behind Saffold and three time Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan, especially when you consider Derrick Henry’s love of the right handed stiff arm when he reaches the left sideline. If Henry has a break out season, Saffold could get much of the credit, and possibly, his first trip to Orlando.
Derrick Henry, RB
Speaking of Henry, the big back himself might be a good candidate for a Pro Bowl appearance if he has that break out year in 2019.
Henry emerged as a major stat producer late last season and that gives him some momentum heading into this year. A heavy workload from Week 1 and a little more name recognition could help him get on the radar of voters.
He will have plenty of competition from guys like Le’Veon Bell, James Conner, Mark Ingram, Joe Mixon, Nick Chubb, Melvin Gordon, and Phillip Lindsay, but Henry could leap to the front of this pack if he can come remotely close to replicating his December 2018 performance.
Adoree’ Jackson, CB
Jackson has been a bit up and down through his first two seasons in the league, but he’s flashed big time potential as well. He was one of the Titans best defenders at times last year and has the ball skills to produce the kind of eye popping stats that defensive backs often need to break through for their first nod. Combine those undeniable physical skills the fact that he’s reportedly been spending more time on his mental game and studying with Logan Ryan this offseason and you have a good recipe for a break out year.
I’m going to have a longer piece about Jackson coming soon, but suffice it to say that I think he would be a good pick here.
Rashaan Evans, LB
Like Landry, Evans is heading into year two with a lot of positive momentum. He emerged as a powerful force in the middle of the Titans defense late last year and has seemed to carry that with him into this offseason.
The thing that could really make Evans an attractive pick here is the fact that the team is expected to use him as a pass rusher quite a bit this year. If he can add some sack numbers to a few highlight reel hits, that could make him a stand out option at inside linebacker in the AFC.
Jayon Brown, LB
I thought Brown had an argument for a Pro Bowl nod last year so I certainly think it’s possible he breaks through this year. He emerged in 2018 as a box score stuffing playmaker, finishing first or second on the Titans in a handful of defensive stats.
His arrow is pointing up and now that some people outside of Nashville are beginning to take note, maybe we will see Brown get some of the credit he deserves.
Corey Davis, WR
The Titans have not had a receiver make the Pro Bowl since Derrick Mason did it in 2003. I wouldn’t say that getting Davis selected would be anywhere near likely, but it’s at least possible if a few things break the right way.
First, the Titans need to pass the ball more. You won’t find many Pro Bowl wide receivers on teams that only throw 437 passes on the season. Second, they need to be more effective, particularly in the red zone. Davis will likely need 1,200-plus yards and 10-plus touchdowns to crack the AFC roster. If he does reach those heights, the Titans will probably be in great shape this season.
Who would you pick as the most likely Titan to make their first Pro Bowl in 2019?