Grading Every Tennessee Titans Position Group Going into 2022

Grading Every Tennessee Titans Position Group

The Tennessee Titans head into the 2022 season with high expectations once again. However, the AFC South is much improved, and the Indianapolis Colts will be a challenge. The Titans lost very good receivers in AJ Brown and Julio Jones but brought in Treylon Burks and Robert Woods. The Titans also have arguably the best running back in football in Derrick Henry. There is depth at every position group and a third straight division crown is the expectation. Next step will be to get over the hump and make the big game.

QB: Ryan Tannehill, Malik Willis, Logan Woodside

Grade: B

Explanation: Tannehill had another productive season for the Titans in 2021 where he had over 3,700 yards passing on 67% throwing. However, his interception count doubled from 7 to 14 in 2021 and he had three interceptions in the divisional round game against the Bengals where the Titans lost on a game winning field goal. Tannehill is 33 years old and has a potential out in his contract in 2023 with only $18mm in dead cap. The Titans selected Malik Willis in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft where many draft analysts thought he could go in the first round due to the high upside. The position is still firmly Tannehill’s but with a rookie coming in with a lot of buzz there will definitely be pressure to perform at a high level in 2022. Tannehill lost his best receiver in AJ Brown due to a trade but added Treylon Burks in the draft and Robert Woods in the off-season.

RB: Derrick Henry, Hassan Haskins, Dontrell Hilliard, Jordan Wilkins, Julius Chestnut, Trenton Cannon, Tory Carter

Grade: A-

Explanation: Despite missing half of the 2021 season due to a foot injury, Henry still showed why he was arguably the best back in the league. He had a five-game stretch last year with over 100 yards rushing and over four yards per carry. However, his usage amount is very high, and Henry is getting to be old in terms of RB standards. Health is going to be a massive question after missing half this season in 2021. The Titans were smart by adding Haskins in the fourth round of the 2021 draft to help carry some of the load off of Henry. Haskins had over 1,300 yards and nearly 5.0 yards a carry in 2021 for the University of Michigan. This tandem should come into 2022 as one of the better groups in the league and one defenses will need to heavily game plan for.

WR: Robert Woods, Treylon Burks, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Dez Fitzpatrick, Kyle Philips, Racey McMath, Cody Hollister, Mason Kinsey, Josh Malone, Reggie Roberson Jr, Brandon Lewis, Juwan Green

Grade: B-

Explanation: The loss of AJ Brown hurts this group, but additions were made to make it a very interesting unit in 2022. Robert Woods was brought in from the Super Bowl Champions, Rams. He tore his ACL in November but is a veteran presence that had 556 yards receiving before the injury. He had no significant injury history prior to this one last November, so the Titans will hope he can return to form this season. The Titans also selected Treylon Burks with their first selection in the NFL Draft and many see this as an AJ Brown replacement due to his size and athleticism he brings to the position. Westbrook-Ikhine will have an upgraded role as he had a solid year in 2021 with 476 receiving yards in his second full season. Behind these three there is not a ton of experience and depth, so the Titans are going to need guys to develop and step up in case of injuries. This is an intriguing group that could be very productive.

TE: Austin Hooper, Geoff Swaim, Chigoziem Okonkwo, Tommy Hudson

Grade: C

Explanation: The Titans bring in Hooper after two relatively disappointing seasons after having two monster seasons for Atlanta in 2018-2019. The Titans will hope he can have a return to form under a fresh start in Tennessee. Swaim is a solid TE2 for the Titans who can provide adequate support in both the passing game and the running game. A lot of this unit is going to be riding on the receiving potential of Hooper.

OL: Taylor Lewan, Aaron Brewer, Ben Jones, Nate Davis, Dillon Radunz, Christian DiLauro, Jamarco Jones, Daniel Munyer, Jordan Roos, Nicholas Petit-Frere, Carson Green, Hayden Howerton, Jalen McKenzie, Xavier Newman-Johnson, Andrew Rupcich, Corey Levin

Grade: B-

Explanation: Taylor Lewan is one of the better LT in the NFL and Ben Jones is one of the better centers in the NFL. Those are two very good veteran pieces to have on an offensive line. Nate Davis had a decent year in 2021, posting a 69.2 overall grade per PFF. Dillon Radunz played sparingly his rookie season and struggled a bit when he played. The Titans drafted Petit-Frere out of Ohio State in the third round and it will be interesting to see how camp unfolds and who wins the starting RT job and if there is a move to guard for one of them as well. This is a unit that knows how to run block though and it has shown with the numbers Derrick Henry has been shown to put up. Guys will need to step up and improvements will need to be made in pass protection, but this can still be a solid group in 2022.

DL: Jeffery Simmons, Teair Tart, Denico Autry, Kevin Strong, Naquan Jones, Larrell Murchison, DeMarcus Walker, Haskell Garrett, Da’Shawn Hand, Jayden Peavy, Sam Okuayinonu

Grade: B+

Explanation: Simmons highlights this group as he had a monster season in 2021 with 8.5 sacks, 16 QB hits, 12 TFL, and 54 tackles. Those are huge numbers for an interior DL, and he expects to only build upon last season for 2022. Denico Autry is another very solid player who provided 9 sacks last season. Tart is going to have an expanded role in 2021 at NT. There is solid depth as Naquan Jones provides good help last year with 2.5 sacks himself and Strong is a veteran in this league. Simmons and Autry are a scary 1-2 punch on the interior for the Titans and will look to wreak havoc again in 2022.

LB: Harold Landry III, David Long Jr., Zach Cunningham, Bud Dupree, Rashad Weaver, Chance Campbell, Monty Rice, Ola Adeniyi, David Anenih, Joe Jones, Dylan Cole, Justin Lawler, Jack Gibbens

Grade: B-

Explanation: Landry really broke out in 2021 with 14 sacks, 12 QB hits, and 38 hurries. The Titans will need another season like that off the edge for Landry. Dupree will need to bounce back in 2022 to how he was in Pittsburgh. Adeniyi gives good production off the edge for depth as he had 3 sacks and 6 hits in 2021. Off ball, David Long has struggled with injuries but is productive when healthy so the health will be of utmost importance for him in 2022. Cunningham came to Tennessee in December last year and immediately stepped in to play. He has history with Coach Vrabel in Houston and understand the scheme. He will be a veteran presence that should help out this defensive unit.

CB: Caleb Farley, Kristian Fulton, Roger McCreary, Elijah Molden, Buster Skrine, Chris Jackson, Chris Williamson, Shyheim Carter, Tre Swilling, Kenneth George Jr, Tre Avery, Greg Mabin

Grade: C+

Explanation: Caleb Farley suffered a torn ACL in his rookie season last year, so we have still yet to see a full year of work from the first-round pick in 2021. Fulton had a 66.2 coverage grade per PFF last season which is solid. The Titans also selected Roger McCreary in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. He had the number one coverage grade out of all power five corners last season. It was an interesting pick and depending how he does in camp; he might shake up the depth chart. Molden Played last year and had a decent season with an overall 62 grade. Skrine has been in the league a long time and will provide good veteran leadership to this very young CB room. Overall, a lot will depend on Farley and McCreary and their development in camp to really tell how this unit will be in 2022. They are two young corners drafted very high that have all the tools to be lockdown corners.

S: Amani Hooker, Kevin Byard, AJ Moore Jr, Michael Griffin, Rodney Clemons, Theo Jackson

Grade: A

Explanation: Hooker and Byard are arguably the top safety duo in the NFL right now. Hooker was ranked the third best safety according to PFF with an overall grade of 85.9. Byard was the first ranked safety with a grade of 90.4. Byard can do it all from getting to the football and making tackles to being a ball hawk in coverage. The only issue with this group is there is not much experience behind these two. Griffin and Jackson are two rookies. AJ Moore Jr. has the most experience coming over from the Texans. As long as Hooker and Byard can stay healthy these are two elite play makers in their secondary.

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