How will Tennessee Titans address 2017 needs
There's no doubt the Tennessee Titans made a big leap in year one of the Jon Robinson era, surpassing nearly everyone's expectations and flirting with a playoff birth.
Now, this team which had no expectations in the past is faced with expectations of success for the 2017 season. After a successful free agency and draft by Robinson last offseason, the question now is which route will he take?
I believe given he comes from the Bill Belichick tree, Robinson could be apt to trade down as he did last season and stockpile picks. While this team desperately needs a star wideout, they can be hit-or-miss. That said, one recent mock draft had the Titans
taking Clemson standout Mike Williams. Would he move on a player like Williams remains to be seen, but the overall philosophy of the front office seems to be concentrated on stockpiling players with high football IQs and solid physical talent over high talent and average knowledge.
Another reason Robinson could stockpile picks is due to the defensive needs. We all know the secondary needs help and the wide receiver position could be addressed in free agency with a guy like Pierre Garcon. But with several players in an average secondary likely to eat at the Titans' cap room, Robinson will be faced with questioning if guys like Jason McCourty and Da'Norris Searcy are worth the $7 million cap hits? Meanwhile, Texans unrestricted free agent A.J. Bouye is a player who could command less money while providing more production. There's also Eric Berry, the UFA from the Chiefs with ties to Tennessee who could very well be the best safety in the game. Between free agency and the draft, the Titans could fix their secondary woes this offseason while seeing a larger increase on investment.
This year's draft also offers some depth at the tight end position. Anthony Fasano is a UFA, and Phillip Supernaw is a restricted free agent. With Delanie Walker carrying the load, the question becomes what happens if the star tight end is injured? The Titans also need to look to the future, as Walker has been in the league for 11 seasons.
Aside from the addressing the roster needs this offseason, there is another question looming for the Titans. While everyone simply assumes quarterback Marcus Mariota will recover just fine from a broken fibula. An inury that is estimated to take 4-6 months for recovery, Mariota's offseason will be significantly shortened. More importantly, it robs him of time to continue his development. It also begs to question if he will be the same mobile player and if the organization will opt to play it more cautious with Mariota?
With any success comes a new set of obstacles. It's a great situation to be in given this team's recent history, but now these obstacles loom larger because this team now has the expectation to win.