This must have been an interesting and fun exercise. While most publications are busy sorting through their 2021 power rankings, ESPN decided to take it a few steps further than that by putting together a panel of their most talented writers and analysts — including Louis Riddick, Jeremy Fowler, Seth Walder and Field Yates — and had them project which NFL franchises are best set up for success from 2021 to 2023. They took a variety of factors into consideration, such as quarterbacks, remaining roster, front office, coaching and more.
Who's built to win over the next three seasons?— ESPN (@espn) July 19, 2021
Our NFL panel ranked them 1-32 @ESPNPlus https://t.co/WmhxVL63rz pic.twitter.com/GRFvcmdUd5
The Tennessee Titans come in at No. 14 with a 78.2 score. According to the grading system, this scores on the high end of “average” and just below “very good.”
Among the reasons why they are listed at No. 14, Yates mentions the offensive core that is sure to produce at a high level over the next couple of seasons. Listing reasons to worry, Riddick writes about the risky additions of Bud Dupree and Caleb Farley, and how badly the defense needs them to perform. Regarding what could change for the better, Fowler discusses the possibility of young offensive lineman Nate Davis and Dillon Radunz offsetting the aging Ben Jones, Taylor Lewan and Rodger Saffold.
You can read the full thing here. There’s a lot to unpack in this article. There are things I agree with and disagree with. I can understand both sides. The ranking basically says the Titans are a .500 team, and I definitely disagree with that. The Titans have been above .500 for five years in a row, and that should absolutely continue in 2021. If the Titans are 8-9 or worse this season, something went horribly wrong.
On the other hand, this is about the future. Looking ahead to 2022 and beyond, it’s important to remember that this is a team that’s currently carried by an offense that has aging players. It’s fair to wonder how long guys like Tannehill, Henry, Lewan, Saffold and Jones have left. On the other side of the ball, nobody really knows what to expect from the defense. It’s a projection at this point.
What do you think? Should the Titans have ranked higher or is this a fair assessment? Leave your thoughts in the comment section.