Titans Offseason Needs
Derrick Henry once again was the NFL rushing leader with 2,027 rushing yards in 2020. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

The Tennessee Titans put together a solid season on the back of Derrick Henry. Henry proved worthy of his offseason extension by becoming the 8th player in NFL history to join the 2K rushing yard club, Henry was a force to be reckoned with in 2020. An early first-round exit in the playoffs to Baltimore gives them the 22nd overall pick in the draft to help address pressing needs. The defense was not the Titans’ strong suit and has major holes. Being negative $8 Million in cap space going into the offseason puts the Titans offseason in a tough position going forward.

Roster Needs: EDGE, IDL, WR, CB

Offense

AJ Brown and Corey Davis led the receiving group of Tennessee in 2020. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

The Tennessee offense was tremendous in 2020. The 2nd best rushing attack helped them score the 4th most points and have the 2nd most overall yards in the NFL. The offensive line paved the way for Derrick Henry and allowed only 25 sacks on the year, the 6th least. Riding off Henry’s success was the absurdly efficient Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill and the Titans recorded the second-most yards off play-action in the league as defenses committed to stopping the run. Throwing an interception on 1,5% of plays for the 3rd lowest rate in the league, Tannehill was lethal throwing the 7th most touchdowns, 33 amongst all quarterbacks.

Alpha receiver AJ Brown has a Pro Bowl season despite playing through a nagging knee injury all year. He followed up a 1,000 yard rookie season with another one in his sophomore year in two fewer games played. He also totaled 11 touchdowns. Fellow receiver Corey Davis became more involved in the offense, reaching a career-high 984 yards. Davis, unfortunately, is an impending free agent and will be looking for a contract upgrade. Cuts will need to be made to free up cap space, but Davis should be a priority to re-sign. He has been excellent at getting open and run blocking for Derrick Henry, thus is a vital part of this offensive scheme.

If Davis decides to take his talents elsewhere there are cheaper options on the market that will be looked at in the Titans offseason. A receiver that can get open and make contested catches like Davis makes a strong fit for the Titan offense and Rashard Higgins fits the bill. A cheap player that could be signed for about $5 million per year provides a keen sense for finding holes in coverage and the ability to make sideline catches. Coming from a similar run-first scheme in Cleveland, Higgins would make an immediate impact.

Defense

Jadeveon Clowney dealt with injuries and disappointed for the Titans. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

The Titans’ defense was tough to watch at times. Giving up big plays through the air and not creating enough pressure led to multiple losses. The Titans sacked the quarterback 19 times last season, which was 30th in the league. Pressuring the opposing quarterback at the 2nd lowest rate as well means this defensive line must get better. Crawford was downright awful, barely making an impact on the edge. Jadeveon Clowney ended the season on the IR and is an upcoming free agent.

With Clowney unlikely to stay, the Titans offseason will consist of drafting an edge rusher to work opposite of Harold Landry, given how expensive a free-agent addition would be. The 2021 edge-rushing class features raw, high upside talent. Players such as Gregory Rousseau may drop to them, or Jayson Oweh out of Penn State. Both display absurdly athletic traits at the position and could grow into stars. Their high upside, cheap rookie deals may be too enticing for Tennessee to pass up.

Jeffery Simmons excelled at stopping the run on the interior of the line, but outside of Simmons, the Titans do not have anyone to create pressure or collapse the pocket. On a young defensive line, bringing in a vet like Ndamukong Suh would be a massive upgrade. While 34 years old, he has still shown he can keep opposing quarterbacks under duress, something the Titans do not currently have.  

The secondary is young and inconsistent. Safeties Kevin Byard and Kenny Vaccaro were solid. Cornerbacks Malcolm Butler and Desmond King proved their worth as well. The slot corner King is a free agent, and the other boundary corner, Breon Borders, got beat several times throughout the year. After giving up the 4th most passing yards on the year, corner must be a focus during the Titans offseason.

Seahawks corner, Quinton Dunbar was lockdown in 2019 and struggled with injuries during his 2020 campaign. The former Washington player would be a relatively cheap option with a high upside for a struggling Tennessee secondary. The Steelers defensive back, Cameron Sutton, is a versatile free agent that would lineup in a variety of ways for the Titans. Sutton has shown great proficiency in both the slot and on the outside, both being needs. He can be signed for less than $3 Million and be an instant starter.