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How Did the Titans Fare in the NFL Draft? A Look at the Draft Grades


NASHVILLE – The draft picks are in, eight in all.

And now, so are the draft grades.

Here's a look at how some of the analysts graded the 2021 NFL Draft for the Titans:

Sports Illustrated (Conor Orr)
Grade: B+
Round 1 (22) - Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Round 2 (53) - Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
Round 3 (92) - Monty Rice, LB, Georgia
Round 3 (100) - Elijah Molden, CB, Washington
Round 4 (109) - Dez Fitzpatrick, WR, Louisville
Round 4 (135) - Rashad Weaver, DE, Pittsburgh
Round 6 (205) - Racey McMath, WR, LSU
Round 6 (215) - Brady Breeze, S, Oregon
Let's be honest with ourselves. Part of this process involves teams stringing together a handful of players that we've heard a great deal about during the process, and the Titans' draft seems to stand out in that we heard the term "first rounder" attached to more than one of their picks. More name recognition often results in a higher grade. I put this in a different category given the Titans took a calculated risk. Caleb Farley may end up being the best cornerback in this class, but dropped due to recent back surgeries. GM Jon Robinson said after the draft their medical vetting process was rigorous.
The Titans were always going to go cornerback here and did a great deal of homework on the rest of the class. Their need at the position suggests that they would not take a flier on Farley if they weren't confident in the return.
Dillon Radunz is a promising offensive lineman who will step in and audition for the role left behind by Isaiah Wilson. But it may end up being Rashad Weaver who emerges as the darling of this class. The Titans secured the former Pitt star in the fourth round and, with so much uncertainty on the edge, could end up working his way into a regular role.

Grade: A-

I have a reputation of being a hard grader. But every year, there's one team that I randomly end up grading higher than anyone else. This year my guess is it'll be the Titans. I heard a lot of people saying Farley was reach. I disagree. You have to embrace the risk to get the sticker price discount. The Titans know a thing or two about that don't they? This pick reminded me so much of the Jeffery Simmons selection. Only Simmons was seen as even riskier at the time, coming off an ACL injury and arriving with character concerns. Steal of a pick if Farley's back doesn't derail his career. I was surprised Tennessee took Radunz, an athletic tackle on the leaner side, only because just last year they selected his polar-opposite with a decade-plan for him in the elephantine Isaiah Wilson. But I love Radunz -- had him just outside R1. Loved the value on Elijah Molden later on. I assume the Titans are going to get criticized for reaching on Rice; even though I rank him a little lower than he went, I was a big fan of his game. I ranked Rice LB9 in my first crop of rankings -- he would have ended up 10 or so slots below where Tennessee picked him -- before dropping him to LB11 in my second and final update. But I'm a big fan of his. I think that's a pick where you were trying to hit a single and that's what you're going to get. I don't think it's going to take that kid long to crack the lineup. He brings his lunch pail.

Day 1 grade: B+
Day 2 grade: A
Day 3 grade: B
Analysis: Farley's injury history is troubling and will bear watching, but he has the ability to become a real playmaker on the outside if he can stay on the field. Radunz is a work in progress but was picked at the right point of the draft and fills a large need at right tackle, given the unceremonious departure of 2020 first-round pick Isaiah Wilson. Rice fits the Titans' system well, and Molden was one of the steals of Day 2 -- he'll be a playmaker.
At his best, Fitzpatrick is worthy of an early fourth-round pick. Other available receivers may have provided better value, but addressing the position was essential for them, and there's certainly a chance Fitzpatrick maximizes his potential. Depth on the edge was a crucial need for Tennessee, and Weaver looked like a likely mid-round pick throughout the 2020 season. McMath's also an inconsistent receiver, but his special teams acumen (like sixth-rounder Breeze) will allow him to stick around for years. The Titans could have used help at tight end in this draft, though it looks like they've already secured some undrafted rookies.

Farley was set to be a top-10 pick before he suffered an injury and had recent back surgery. If the Virginia Tech star can return to form and remain healthy, he'll go down as one of the biggest steals in this draft. The Radunz pick makes a ton of sense considering the Titans' 2020 draft miss on Isaiah Wilson, while Molden represents incredible value in the third round. He's an instinctive slot corner with excellent ball skills.

USA Today (Nate Davis)
Grade: B+
They don't seem to be garnering much national attention despite arguably procuring the draft's top cornerback late in Round 1 (Caleb Farley, who is recovering from back surgery), its top slot corner in Round 3 (Elijah Molden) while presumably – finally – stopping a revolving door at right tackle by getting Dillon Radunz in Round 2 a year after losing All-Pro Jack Conklin in free agency and then blowing a first-round choice on now former Titan Isaiah Wilson.

ESPN (Mel Kiper)
Grade: B-
The Titans parted ways this offseason with cornerbacks Adoree' Jackson, Desmond King II and Malcolm Butler, all of whom played a lot of snaps for them last season. They brought in Janoris Jenkins, but cornerback was still their biggest need. They got a great one in Caleb Farley (22), who is the best man-to-man cover guy in this class but dropped out of the top 20 because of a couple back injuries. Tennessee clearly felt OK with his medical re-checks, and he has a chance to be elite if he can stay healthy. But his career will make or break this class. I also liked the team taking Elijah Molden (100) in Round 3 because the 5-foot-9 corner could play as the nickelback early. He had five interceptions in 2019.

Day 1: If Farley had a clean medical report, he would have gone within the first 10 picks. He suffered a torn ACL in 2017, had a back operation in 2019 and then had another surgery in late March. That makes this a risky bet, but if he stays healthy, this is a huge steal. His 6-foot-2, 207-pound frame with 33 ⅜-inch arms is ideal for an NFL corner. Farley is also capable of running a sub-4.3-second 40-yard dash and boasts the production to back those traits up. He earned a 90.5 coverage grade in his final college season in 2019.
Day 2: Tennessee's last swing at an offensive tackle was a disaster, as 2020 first-round pick Isaiah Wilson played just three snaps on offense — all kneel-downs — before he ran himself out of town. Dillon Radunz is a little undersized and underweight but has exceptional movement skills and the tools to be an elite pass-blocker, even if it could take a period of time to get there.
Monty Rice has been flying around finding the football between the hedges for as long we can remember, but he lost his starting spot to Nakobe Dean this past season. He'll need to figure out what's happening in front of him at a much higher level in the NFL, but at least he has the athleticism to work with at the pro level. He's a great tackler, but he just needs to read the game better.
Molden can come in and be an excellent slot cornerback, especially on a team looking to rebuild its defensive backfield. Molden, who was the highest-graded slot corner of the PFF College era, was a borderline first-round talent and falls to the bottom of the third. There's no doubt that this is a great pick, and now Molden and Caleb Farley could change the outlook of the Titans' season. Molden is a playmaker and a great tackler — he has so much value at this pick it's incredible.
Day 3: The Titans got exceptional value here by selecting Rashad Weaver, PFF's EDGE10 and the 63rd-ranked prospect in this class. He has power, ideal size/length and technical refinement, but he's not going to impress from an athletic standpoint. He is also on the older side. Still, he has an incredibly high floor and should be able to make an impact right away. After coming off a torn ACL, Weaver posted a 90.0 pass-rush grade this past year.

NBC Sports (Nick Goss)
Grade: B
Virginia Tech's Caleb Farley was worth the gamble at No. 22 in the first round, despite his durability concerns. He has the potential to be a star cornerback. Getting a really good left tackle in North Dakota State's Dillon Radunz in the second round was a nice pickup for Tennessee, too.

Sporting News (Vinnie Iyer)
Grade: B+
Draft picks: Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley, North Dakota State OT Dillon Radunz, Georgia LB Monty Rice, Washington CB Elijah Molden, Louisville WR Dez Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh EDGE Rashad Weaver, LSU WR Racey McMath, Oregon S Brady Breeze
GM Jon Robinson got plenty of the cornerback and wide receiver reinforcements his team needed after getting gutted there in free agency. Radunz can start right away at right tackle. Fitzpatrick is a good replacement for Corey Davis. Rice will be active for Mike Vrabel.

New York Post (Ryan Dunleavy)
Grade: B-
Key Picks: Caleb Farley (CB, Virginia Tech), Dillon Radunz (OT, North Dakota State), Monty Rice (LB, Georgia), Elijah Molden (CB, Washington)
Analysis: Farley is boom-or-bust. He was the top-ranked CB until a second back surgery since he last played a game in 2019. Evaluations on Radunz were all over the place, too. Molden is a relatively safe pick in a new-look secondary.

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