Apr. 24, 2020
The final verdict: Who will the Titans take in the first round?
The 2020 virtual NFL Draft is just over 24 hours away and I could not be more excited.
Not only is it the first true sporting event in nearly two months, but it is always a treat to see teams preparing for the future and ramping up for the start of the regular season in the fall.
What makes this draft even better is the amount of talent available. Will Heisman winner Joe Borrow be the first pick? Will Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa fall down the board because of durability concerns?
My biggest concern and the primary focus of my research over the last week has been on who the Tennessee Titans will take with the 29th pick on Thursday night.
After a relatively active free-agent period, general manager John Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabel seem well prepared for several different scenarios. Drafting this late in the first round is always difficult and with so many teams needing defensive talent, it will be interesting to see who falls to the Titans.
While some media pundits are saying the Titans will go after an offensive tackle in the first round, it's clear to me that the team will look to strengthen the defense which has been the weak spot for years.
I predicted the team would go after an edge-rusher back in February before they signed Vic Beasley in free agency, but, that is on just a one year deal.
The two players I want Tennessee to get - K'Lavon Chaisson from LSU or Yetur Gross-Matos from Penn State - will likely be off the board by the time their pick comes around. Most of the mock drafts I am seeing have Chaisson going to the Falcons at 16 and Gross-Matos going to the Seahawks at 27.
So, who will the team take? What is the final verdict?
I think it will be TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney.
As Justin Melo of SBNation pointed out, "The Titans currently have five players on the roster at the cornerback position, and three of them shouldn’t see much playtime (Tye Smith, Kareem Orr and Chris Milton). Enter Gladney, a prospect the Titans have met with virtually. I believe his ball production and ability to play man coverage line up with what Tennessee looks for in the cornerback position."
Logan Ryan's future still remains in limbo and not only has he not resigned with the Titans, he has not signed with any team in the NFL and has not been closing to reaching a deal it seems.
Malcolm Butler and Adoree Jackson are fantastic starters, but the depth is lacking severely at the corner position as Melo points out.
When Butler was lost for the year and Jackson picked up a leg injury late in the season, the team struggled to defend against the pass.
Gladney earned first-team all-conference honors in his final season in college and has the potential to come in and play as the nickel corner right away.
His showing at the combine was impressive with a 4.48 40-yard dash and scouts are high on what the future could hold. If the Titans do opt to draft a defensive back in the first round, it will mean that Logan Ryan's tenure in Nashville is over.
To save money and build a dynasty team, I would prefer Jeff Gladney here. A clinical tackler and great coverage player, he would fit the Tennessee system perfectly.