The Tennessee Titans are entering uncertain times after picking up the fifth year option on quarterback Marcus Mariota. They looked to have nabbed a quality franchise signal caller before he has been derailed by injuries and the revolving door at offensive coordinator. The upcoming is make or break season for the former Oregon star. The only way Jon Robinson and company can get a true look at Mariota is by giving him quality protection, and an upgrade to the pass catchers on this team. Though free agency is around the corner, here’s a look at what we would do to ensure that Marcus Mariota has the best opportunity to succeed in his potential final year as a Titan.
Pick 19: T.J. Hockenson (Iowa TE)
What?!? But Delanie Walker is coming back… Walker has been an outstanding player for the Titans, and has been a security blanker for quarterbacks since stepping on the scene in Nashville. How long can Walker hold back the sands of time? Maybe another season or two, maybe. Hockenson has been lauded as the top TE in this draft, and not only is a smooth receiver with great hands, but he blocks with ferocity. A perfect weapon for new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith.
Pick 51: Riley Ridley (Georgia WR)
When people like Nick Williams took meaningful snaps for the Titans last season, you can say we failed miserably to help Mariota succeed. Riley Ridley, brother of the Falcons WR Calvin Ridley, could immediately upgrade the number two receiver slot behind Corey Davis. He’s a savvy route runner with good hands, and should be poised to have a better professional career than collegiate one after spending his time in Georgia’s ground heavy attack.
Pick 82: Ben Banogu (TCU Edge)
The Titans should definitely be looking to add a quality OLB in the free agency period this year to give Harold Landry some help off the edge. Expect the Titans to take a very close look at guys like Baltimore’s Za’Darius Smith and the Redskins Preston Smith should they both make it to the market. But Banogu is an ascending edge player that has gotten better every year, and shows some juice on his first step to outpace offensive tackles on their arc. Banogu has the potential to fight for a starting spot immediately, but could benefit as a situational pass rusher his rookie season.
Pick 115: Chuma Edoga (USC OT)
Can Jack Conklin get back to form this season? If not, he is a liability at tackle and needs to try his hand at guard or center. Edoga had an excellent showing at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, and showed the ability to control edge rushers on his way to a dominant performance. Edoga could come in and compete immediately with Conklin, and even if the former Michigan State tackle gets back to form, Edoga can provide valuable depth.
Pick 147: Khalen Saunders (Western Illinois DT)
The back flipping sensation that absolutely dominated for Western Illinois at the FCS level of football. He was a mismatch nightmare that WIU took advantage of, moving Saunders all over the line. He has an excellent first step, and shows the explosion needed to excel at the NFL level. With someone like Jurrell Casey already on the defensive line, Saunders should get some one on one looks that he could really take advantage of.
Pick 211: Nate Herbig (Stanford G)
Herbig is a big mauler at guard, in the mold of Quinton Spain at 6’4, 330 lbs. Though he needs some work and needs to develop, he was a mainstay on the Cardinals offensive line. He only played seven games last year due to injury, but has the ability to bounce back. If he comes back to form, he was opening big lanes for the Cardinals just a season ago and could get back to that for the Titans.