The Tennessee Titans have been using cornerback Elijah Molden at the safety position throughout OTAs, head coach Mike Vrabel confirmed. Vrabel discussed adding a layer of versatility to Molden’s game. The Titans notably have a big-time need at safety.
Mike Vrabel said that Elijah Molden is increasing his versatility by playing some at safety in practice and being protector on the punt team. Molden has been mostly a nickelback. Molden said he is finally healthy after pushing his body too hard last year before it was ready.— Terry McCormick (@terrymc13) May 23, 2023
The No. 100 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, Molden burst onto the scene for the Titans as a rookie. He appeared in all 16 regular-season contests. Molden recorded 62 tackles, four pass breakups, 3.0 tackles for loss, one interception (which he returned for a touchdown), one fumble forced, and one fumble recovered.
But a groin issue derailed what was expected to be an exciting sophomore campaign. A recurring groin issue ultimately limited Molden to two regular-season appearances in 2022. Molden was a non-factor, and he’s now returned in a more versatile role that has him learning the safety position at OTAs.
Molden has typically played the nickelback position. Molden thrives when playing near the line of scrimmage. He’s an excellent tackler and communicator with high-level football instincts. He’s a strong candidate to feature in three safety packages.
The Titans are noticeably thin at safety. It’s not a coincidence that Molden is getting work there. Kevin Byard is currently absent from OTAs due to a potential contract-related disagreement. Amani Hooker, the other starting safety, is present. But depth behind Byard and Hooker is extremely concerning.
None of last year’s backups are currently on the roster. Joshua Kalu and Andrew Adams are unrestricted free agents, the latter of which suffered a serious season-ending injury. Lonnie Johnson Jr. signed elsewhere.
The current depth chart at safety indicates Josh Thompson and Mike Brown are the backups. With all due respect, that’s concerning for the Titans. General manager Ran Carthon signed two undrafted free agents at the position via Matthew Jackson and Tyreque Jones.
Molden is healthy and available after missing the majority of the 2022 season. The impending campaign qualifies as crucial to Molden’s future in Tennessee. Don’t be shocked if the Titans ask Molden to play more safety out of necessity.