The Tennessee Titans had three first-time Pro Bowlers (Rodger Saffold, Harold Landry and Jeffery Simmons) during the 2021 season. Starting safety Kevin Byard enjoyed his second Pro Bowl appearance after previously earning a nod in 2017.
Given how many good candidates are still available, there’s a strong chance the Titans will have at least one first-time Pro Bowler in 2022.
Here’s the top-five candidates for Mike Vrabel’s team:
1) Kristian Fulton, CB
Kristian Fulton was arguably one of Tennessee’s breakout stars in 2021. The former LSU standout thrived as a sophomore cover-man. Fulton was extremely impressive as a first-year starter. Fulton appeared in 13 regular-season contests, recording 40 total tackles, 14 pass breakups and two interceptions. Pro Football Focus assigned Fulton a pass coverage grade of 67.8 and an overall grade of 66.1. Fulton is an ascending cornerback that the rest of the league will be familiar with soon. Another step forward could earn the 23 year old Fulton his first Pro Bowl appearance in 2022.
2) Robert Woods, WR
The Titans acquired veteran receiver Robert Woods from the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for a sixth-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. A consistent veteran, Woods may serve as Tennessee’s defacto No. 1 receiver in 2022 following a shocking draft-day trade that sent A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles. Rookie receiver Treylon Burks has struggled to stay on the field throughout the offseason, and Burks’ first-year role may not be a starring one. Starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill is going to search for a new favorite target in the wake of Brown’s departure. A back-to-back 1,000-yard receiver in 2018 and 2019, Woods could return to that form if Tennessee peppers him with targets in 2022.
3) Bud Dupree, EDGE
It’s a bit shocking that Bud Dupree has never qualified for a Pro Bowl throughout his illustrious career. Dupree failed to make the Pro Bowl despite recording an impressive 11.5 sacks during the 2019 season. Dupree wasn’t the most effective version of himself in 2021, his first as a Titan, as the former Kentucky standout continued to recover from a torn ACL injury that shortened his 2020 season. Dupree is now healthy and ready to return to double-digit sack form in 2022. He’ll apply his trade on a haunting Titans defensive line that will afford him plenty of appetizing one-v-one opportunities against opposing offensive tackles.
4) Denico Autry, DL
Denico Autry was Tennessee’s best offseason signing in 2021. Autry thrived as a first-year Titan, having matched a career-high 9.0 sacks while totaling a career-high 18 quarterback hits. Autry also recorded 10 tackles for loss and 31 total tackles. Autry was a consistent member of the Titans defense while appearing in all 17 regular-season contests. His overall health was greatly appreciated given Tennessee’s struggles with injury last season. Pro Football Focus assigned Autry with a pass-rushing grade of 69.7. He possesses terrific chemistry alongside Harold Landry, and especially Jeffery Simmons, who he shares Mississippi roots with. A repeat performance could see Autry receive appropriate recognition from his peers.
5) Ben Jones, C
Titans General Manager Jon Robinson re-signed center Ben Jones to a two-year contract worth $14 million earlier this offseason. The 33-year-old Jones has been one of the more effective and consistent centers in the league in recent memory, and it’s downright unfair that Jones has yet to earn his first Pro Bowl nod. Jones’ play has shown no signs of slowing down, and he’ll pivot Tennessee’s offense again in 2022. Jones was credited with allowing just one sack last season while playing nearly 1,200 total offensive snaps. Jones has even blocked for a 2,000 yard rusher. It’s about time Jones receives the recognition he deserves.