Happy draft week! The Tennessee Titans own the 26th overall selection in Thursday’s first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. General manager Jon Robinson is tasked with hopefully finding an instant difference maker, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. The Titans could use several upgrades across an aging offensive line that performed in an underwhelming manner in 2021. Robinson has also discussed surrounding Ryan Tannehill with more weapons in the passing game. A wide receiver could make for a terrific option.
In order to appropriately adjust our expectations for the 26th overall selection, we looked at the previous five players that have been selected at that position.
2021 | Cleveland Browns | Greg Newsome II | CB
It typically takes rookies an adjustment period to acclimate to the National Football League, but the Cleveland Browns got an immediate contributor when they drafted Northwestern’s Greg Newsome with the 26th overall selection. Newsome is a feisty and competitive boundary cornerback that quickly took up a starting role in Cleveland’s defensive backfield. Newsome recorded a healthy nine pass breakups while making 12 regular-season appearances as a rookie. Newsome earned a strong coverage grade of 70.6 from Pro Football Focus. The Titans would be blessed to draft a similar player of Newsome’s caliber.
2020 | Green Bay Packers | Jordan Love | QB
Yikes. At the time, the Green Bay Packers found themselves in a position to draft Aaron Rodgers’ apparent successor. The relationship between Rodgers and the franchise was seemingly deteriorating prior to the 2020 NFL Draft, and the Packers felt it was in their best interest to protect their future by drafting a quarterback. Rodgers remains in Green Bay today and Love has failed to showcase himself in adequate manner while receiving few opportunities on the field. This has quickly developed into a selection that is unlikely to pay the desired dividends.
2019 | Washington Commanders | Montez Sweat | DE
The Washington Commanders landed themselves an absolute late-round gem when they drafted Montez Sweat. A fierce pass-rushing prospect from Mississippi State, Sweat gained traction while impressing throughout the pre-draft process. Fast forward three seasons later and Sweat has developed into a high-quality pass rusher that screams off the EDGE. Sweat has recorded an impressive 21 career sacks in three campaigns, including a career-high nine quarterback takedowns as a sophomore. A consistent performer, getting a player like Sweat qualifies as a massive victory with the No. 26 overall selection.
2018 | Atlanta Falcons | Calvin Ridley | WR
WE HAVE A WINNER! The Atlanta Falcons absolutely knocked it out of the park when they drafted Calvin Ridley, even though he’ll serve a lengthy suspension next season. From a player’s evaluation standpoint, Ridley is an elite receiver. Robinson and the Titans would be thrilled if they landed a wide receiver of Ridley’s quality in this draft. Ridley already has one 1,000-plus yard season to his name. The former Alabama standout made his presence felt immediately by scoring 10 receiving touchdowns as a rookie receiver in 2018.
2017 | Atlanta Falcons | Takkarist McKinley | DE
It’s safe to say Takkarkist McKinley never developed into the double-digit sack artist the Atlanta Falcons hoped he would become when they drafted him in 2017. McKinley’s professional career actually began in rather impressive fashion. McKinley recorded a respectable 13 sacks throughout his first two seasons in Atlanta, but he’s totaled just six sacks in three seasons since then. The Falcons allowed him to walk at the conclusion of his four-year rookie contract, and McKinley only made four appearances for the Cleveland Browns in 2021 due to a devastating torn Achilles injury.
Stay tuned to MCM.