NASHVILLE – The NFL Combine is now in the rear-view mirror, and next up is free agency.
Unless, of course, you count this Tuesday's Titans mailbag.
It begins in 3, 2, 1 …
Will Keve from Burlington, Vermont
Question: Hey Jim. Titans fans and the Twittersphere have identified pass rusher as the team's top offseason need, but I'm not convinced. I really like what Derick Roberson brought in 2019, and the team also drafted D'Andre Walker. Last week, you suggested they might re-sign Kamalei Correa. Reggie Gilbert was just re-signed, and Sharif Finch is a free agent after his stint with the Bengals ended. If the Titans don't pay a top pass rusher and use the 29th pick to add depth, maybe at WR, CB, QB, RB, or OL, we could use the savings to re-sign all our key free agents and develop Roberson into the star I think he could be. If it doesn't work out, they could always trade for a veteran pass rusher at the deadline, as some are usually available on non-contending teams. What do you think of this strategy? Is there any chance the Titans do this? Do you think Roberson has a bright future? And if the Titans do ignore the OLB spot, how big will the Twitter meltdown be? Thanks for taking my questions.
Jim: Hey Will. Here's my take on edge rusher – the team has a lot of options, and a lot can change between now and the NFL Draft. Personally, I like the thought of adding another veteran, in addition to Correa. I like the guys you mentioned, Roberson and Walker. I think they both have potential. And I think bringing Finch back into the fold is still a possibility. But we're talking about a number of unproven guys in this conversation, some guys who have flashed, and one guy who hasn't done anything yet. I expect Harold Landry to make a leap in Year 3. And I think the team will try and re-sign Correa. Cameron Wake has said he'd like to return, but his big price tag for 2020 makes him a question mark in my mind. Gilbert, btw, isn't officially under contract. He's an exclusive rights free agent. If the team addresses the position well in free agency, I think #TitansTwitter would be OK if the team addressed another position in the draft. I'm not on board with waiting until the trading deadline in the fall to look for a bail-out, if needed. The pass rush needs to be more potent from the get-go in 2020.
Ken Tripp from Newport, Vermont
Question: Jim. Nailbiting time for what happens between the draft and free agency, I am wondering when they will award the compensatory picks for the draft so we all know when we will draft in the later rounds? In JRob we trust, and verified by Coach Mike V.
Jim: Hey Ken. We should find out about the compensatory picks in the coming weeks. But brace yourself for the real possibility the Titans won't get any. I'd be surprised if they do. The compensatory picks are awarded using an equation of who is signed off a team's roster vs who a team signs, taking contracts and the $$$ into consideration. The Titans ended up signing Rodger Saffold and Adam Humphries to big contracts, and they added Wake as well.
Eduardo Huertas from San Diego, California
Question: Hey Jim 2nd time writer and a diehard Titan since the age of 10. Aanywho looking forward for the offseason and new acquisitions. My question is about Hard Knocks, any chance my Titans get featured on the series? I'm a California native so it would be nice to get a closer inside look at the team I love.
Jim: Hey Eduardo. Well, I don't think it's going to happen any time soon. The Titans are actually exempt from being chosen for the show for the next two years as a result of making it to the playoffs in 2019. The team could volunteer, of course, but I don't expect that to happen. So look for another Hard Knocks without the Titans.
Matthias Schuster from Danville, New York
Question: Hi Jim. Can you give me Coach McGinnis's opinion on Bryce Hall out of UVa? I am a big UVa fan. He came into the college year as one of the best DB in the country. He was hurt on awful play when he was playing on punt return. Some argue he shouldn't have been out there but Bryce has no regrets because he is a big time, team player who works hard and will do what is best for the time. Sounds just like the type of player JRob and Vrabel are looking for. Curious if you and Coach McGinnis like what you see on film? With him getting hurt, maybe he falls out of the first? Maybe this is more of a OTP question (I am currently listening to the 2/24 OTP, so if you already did cover it, my bad)? At any rate, thanks for what you do.
Jim: Hey Matthias. I asked Coach Mac about Hall for you. Here's what he said: Bryce Hall is a long corner and he has length. He's a physical corner, and he has great ball skills, too. His quickness makes him better suited for a zone heavy scheme. I'm not sure he's a scheme fit for everybody, but in the right situation he can find the ball and he can make game-changing plays. He's extremely competitive, and I hear he's a great character kid. It would not surprise me if he gets to a team where he is a scheme fit and he turns into a decent starter by Year 2 or 3.
Pete Tate from Antioch, Tennessee
Question: CAN WE LOOK TO GET JALEN HURTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jim: Hey Pete. A lot TBD at the quarterback position for the Titans, from the starter to the backup. I like Hurts myself. Great competitor, great character, with the potential to be a really good pro. Someone is going to get a good one in Hurts.
Eric Paul from Springfield, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. What are the chances that we can get Tom Brady and Derrick Henry and then end up getting the Super Bowl win in the 2020-2021 season.
Jim: Hey Eric. Let me get back to you on this …
Jimmy Dee from Battle Ground, Washington
Question: Hi Jim. In the past year I've been VERY negative about DT Jurrell Casey a lot. In your "Ask Jim" blog you informed me that you disagree with me. Well, guess what, I think you're right. I think Jurrell Casey is better than I used to believe he is. I think you're more right than you know you are. I think I was looking at Jurrell Casey's situation VERY superficially. And if you look at it superficially it did seem like he was slowing down and his talent was declining. But I no longer think that, that is what was going on with Jurrell Casey the past 2 years. What I now believe is that Casey has been with the Titans for quite some time. He's been with the Titans during the losing and the mediocrity. I no longer think he's lost a lot of his talent over the years. I think what happened is that he lost some belief in the idea that the team could win big. I think the losing and mediocrity drug his psyche down. And I think that when the team finally started showing big progress the past year that rekindled his belief that the team could win. I think that explains why he came on like a star towards the end of the regular season and into the playoffs. I think next year you're going to see the badass Casey again. I think he already starting reverting to his former badass self towards the end of last season and into the playoffs. Yea, you should rework his contract but don't cut him or trade him. Trust me he's going to be a stud again come the next season. Plus, the d-line will get big help this coming season from a fully healthy Jefferey Simmons. The Titans WILL have one of the top starting defensive front - 3 in the league. I guarantee it. DaQuan Jones is a solid player. I just hope the Titans can also have assemble quality depth for the d-line behind the 3 starters.
Jim: Hey Jimmy Dee. Yeah, we've definitely been in disagreement when you've been negative about Jurrell Casey, who is one of the most underrated players in the league year in and year out. Glad to see you coming around. But Jurrell and Jeffery and DaQuan are going to need some help, from the edge rusher position we talked about earlier to the secondary, which has some question marks at the moment. One thing that shouldn't be questioned is Casey. The team knows exactly what it's getting in him.
Have a great week everyone!