NASHVILLE – Elijah Molden grew up around football, which is why it has always seemed so natural to him.
Molden's father, Alex, played eight seasons in the NFL after being the 11th overall pick in the 1996 NFL Draft.
Elijah was born in 1999, when his dad was with the Saints.
"Ever since I can remember I felt like I was called to play this game," said Molden, a defensive back who was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Titans. "That is mostly because of my dad. My first memories are of him getting interceptions and me going in the locker room with his teammates and all of that stuff."
Molden (5-10, 192) earned second team All Pac-12 Conference honors at the University of Washington in 2020, when he was named second‐team All‐American by Pro Football Focus, which also named him Pac‐12 Player of the Year. He was in on 26 tackles, and he also tallied an interception in 2020 while working in a number of positions in the secondary.
Alex Molden played with the Saints, Chargers and Lions in the NFL. He recorded 12 career interceptions while playing from 1996-2003.
Over the years, during and after his dad's career ended, Elijah said he watched, and learned.
"He knows what I'm thinking before I even say it," Elijah said. "He is always there to give me little nuggets of wisdom and words of encouragement. We have a special bond, especially when it comes to football. He was my coach in high school and youth and then he passed me off to (Washington). … Throughout my own journey of football, he has always been that person in my ear giving me feedback and keeping me going."
Molden hopes to make an impact with the Titans right out of the gate.
At Washington, Molden was named first team All Pac-12 in 2019 after recording 79 tackles, 5 ½ tackles for a loss, 17 passes defensed, four interceptions and three forced fumbles.
After the Titans selected Molden in the draft, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel raved about his makeup.
"I think he's been raised well," Vrabel said. "Obviously, his upbringing and his career in Washington, what he learned there, (there were) a lot of things. That was early on. That was one we checked off pretty quickly and said we're all set with this guy. We asked him about school and he gave such a genuine answer. He said, 'I don't really love school, but I love to learn.' That really, I think, sunk in. He was just intelligent. (We) talked ball. He knew about our football team. He had prepared for the interview by watching our football team. He spoke highly of how we played and the effort and finish which we play with. You know, this was an exciting pick for Jon (Robinson) and I and everybody involved with our organization, our coaches and Miss Amy (Adams Strunk). This is going to be a fun guy to coach."
On draft night, Molden said he had a hunch he'd be picked by the Titans.
Now, his NFL career is under way.
"Just from the outside looking in, they were always a team that did it the right way," Molden said of the Titans. "They are a gritty, hard-nosed team. They play tough-nosed football.
"(My moment is) finally here and it was a moment where all along I knew I would get here. It was just a matter of when and what obstacles I had to overcome. Now I'm super grateful to be a part of this organization and to get to work. All I know is I'm going to, wherever they need me, give it 110 percent."
With the 100th pick, the Tennessee Titans select Washington DB Elijah Molden. (AP Images)