Draft visits are a little bit different this year than they have been in previous years. Some teams were able to get a few players into their facilities before the coronavirus outbreak that has most of the country in quarantine, but most of these “visits” or interviews are happening on Zoom or a myriad of other virtual meeting sites.
Tracking those meetings is something that can provide some insight into a team’s thinking with regards to the draft, though as we have seen in recent years, the Titans can be tricky when it comes to guys they really want. In 2017, the Titans were able to get Harold Landry — widely considered a top 15 prospect by the media at the time — in for a “top-30” visit without word leaking out anywhere.
There are almost certainly players that the team has met with that are not getting widely reported and there is a decent chance that some of the players they covet the most are among that non-reported group. However, it is still worth looking at general trends in visits and meetings to see where a team is focusing their resources during the pre-draft process.
Walter Football is one source for prospect visits (as is our own Justin Melo). They keep a list of reported visits for each team and which type of visit each player made (top 30, virtual, combine meeting, Senior Bowl meeting, etc). Tom Kislingbury, a writer for Dynasty League Football, compiled all of the visits from Walter Football’s charting and put them together in a chart by position to see which teams were focusing their visits at which spots.
Here's all visits by team broken out by position.— Tom Kislingbury (@TomKislingbury) April 14, 2020
Some things I see:
- The Bucs are looking hard for more OL help.
- The Rams want another RB
- The Cowboys are focusing on defense
- The Ravens know they need a LB
- The Browns and Jets need some big O linemen in the worst way pic.twitter.com/phUtbahfnV
From the Titans standpoint, the visual representation makes it clear that cornerback is their biggest priority based on a volume of visits standpoint with wide receiver and defensive line slightly behind. That largely tracks with what we’ve heard from people like Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, who was first on the Jeffery Simmons-to-Tennessee train last year, and had this to say about what he’s hearing about the team’s interests last week:
TENNESSEE: Three positions are mentioned as needs when talking to league sources about the Titans’ draft plans: cornerback, offensive tackle and a playmaker at receiver. Whichever is available at No. 29 overall will be the pick.
Cornerback is by far the biggest need position on the roster right now. The Titans have just Malcolm Butler, Adoree’ Jackson, Chris Milton, and Kareem Orr currently under contract for 2020 at the position with Amani Hooker, Dane Cruikshank, and Joshua Kalu as potential safety/corner hybrids. Butler, at age 30, is a guy that likely needs to be replaced in the next year or two, and even if the team does eventually re-sign Logan Ryan, he’s approaching 30 himself and is not a long term solution at one of the most critical positions on the team.
The cornerbacks that the Titans have been connected to according to Walter Football include Damon Arnette (Ohio State), Cameron Dantzler (Mississippi State), Kristian Fulton (LSU), Jeff Gladney (TCU), C.J. Henderson (Florida), and Amik Robertson (Louisiana Tech). Fulton, Gladney, and Henderson are widely viewed as potential first round picks so those could be real options at pick 29 and it honestly wouldn’t shock me to see the Titans double dip at corner before the draft is over.