NASHVILLE – OK, we've almost made it -- the NFL Draft is now less than a week away.
Starting Thursday, mock drafts will be replaced by the real thing, and some new players will join teams across the NFL, including the Titans.
Lots of draft-related questions continue to pour into the mailbag, but that's not the only topic fans want to discuss.
Let's dive into the weekend edition of the Titans mailbag.
I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe.
Now, let's go…
Dana Pickerel from Henderson, Nevada
Question: Hi Jim. With the trade sending Jurrell Casey to the Broncos, would the Titans consider a trade for Royce Freeman? It would add great depth behind Derrick Henry and we already have a relationship with Denver. Let's say we offer them their 7th round back for Freeman. I know what people would say: Why would we give back a 7th rounder for Freeman, when that's all we got for a great player like Casey. Have to remember, we were unloading salary and the Broncos' knew it. Thanks in advance.
Jim: Hi Dana. I get where you're going here. The Broncos now have two Pro Bowl running backs on their roster, with Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay, and are probably willing to deal Freeman. And, of course, the Titans need a back-up running back. I guess crazier things have happened, but here's what I think: For starters, Denver already has 10 draft picks, so I'm thinking they'd rather keep a good running back on an affordable rookie contract rather than adding a late-round pick. And I suspect the Titans would rather grab a running back in the draft over trading away a pick to get one. The draft has some pretty good running backs that can be had in the middle rounds. I like Vanderbilt's Ke'Shawn Vaughn myself.
Anthony Bilotta from Niagara Falls Canada
Question: Greetings from Canada. I hope you are staying safe in South as we work through this pandemic. With the draft coming up, and the recent McCaffrey deal, do you think it puts some heat on JR to get a RB for the future? I love Derrick but think it will cost too much long term to keep him around after this year. With AJ Brown being a player they need to secure down the road and some holes on D, getting a replacement through the draft might be the only option. Easier said than done but it's reality. Are there any specific guys you like in rounds 2 or 3? Keep writing great pieces and keeping us updated on Titan news as we all stay at home. Be Safe Jim. A Titans fan from the North.
Jim: Appreciate it, Anthony. Right now, I'm thinking Derrick Henry is the running back of the future in Tennessee. And I don't think the McCaffrey deal changes anything as far as creating a sense of urgency. While the Titans used the franchise tag on Henry, the plan all along has been to sign Henry to a long-term deal. I'd rather have Henry than any running back in this draft class, but I can't lie – I love D'Andre Swift's game. And while he'd add a fun weapon to the offense, I can't see the team going there right out of the gate.
Tommy Bohnert from St. Louis, Missouri
Question: Hope you and your family are staying healthy during these crazy times. Big Titans fan from St. Louis here. When the Rams left (Kroenke still sucks) I chose to pick a 3-13 Titans team and they have not disappointed. Even had some fun on twitter where I was sent a Titans care package for my new fandom. Been to a game every year and Nashville is a beautiful city with some great fans. Couldn't have made a better choice. There has been one topic that has been torturing me being a lifelong Rams fan and now Titans die hard -- Mr. Jeff Fisher. From a Titans perspective he is considered one of the best coaches and beloved by fans. On the other hand, those 7-9 seasons still weigh in my mind and the misuse of TGII, Keenum, and Foles were brutal. There is also the controversy he knew the team was leaving and tanked the team (not saying this is true but). I am a fan of his character, but man, where do I go from here? Pumped for the draft!
Jim: Hey Tommy. Hey, I get where you're coming from based on your experience with Fisher. Glad to have you on board as a Titans fan. Considering how Fisher did as head coach of the Rams, I don't blame you for having a sour taste in your mouth. And the best advice I can give you is to move on, and let it go. Most Titans fans I talk to have a greater appreciation for Fisher as the years go by. I know any mention of his name brings with it the 8-8 jokes, but there's no doubt he had a great run in Tennessee. He navigated some rough waters with the move from Houston to Memphis to Nashville, and he followed that stretch up with four playoff appearances in five seasons, two AFC Championship Games, and a Super Bowl appearance. And Jeff Fisher is a good guy. So I encourage you to leave your hard feelings behind, and look ahead. :)
Jay Odell from Pueblo, Colorado
Question: I have two questions:
Question 1: Do you think any field goal kickers are worth a draft pick in this year's draft? I think we could use a upgrade over Greg Joseph. But, it's hard to justify spending a draft pick on a kicker.
Question 2: If there was a kicker that was capable of making a 70-yard field goal better than 80 percent of the time, do you think he would he be drafted in the top ten? I've always pondered the what if of a can't miss kicker prospect.
Jim: Hi Jay.
1: Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship is a heck of a kicker, and he'll get drafted by someone. It wouldn't surprise me if the Patriots picked him.
2. A kicker who could make a 70-yard kicker 80 percent of the time would be a heck of a weapon, but he wouldn't be top 10 or even a first rounder. What if the same kicker made a 40-yard field goal 20 percent of the time? Just something to kick around... #dadjoke
Andriy Lakusta from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Question: How about this for a name to throw into the mix… Josh Rosen?
I know some people will think, what? But hear me out.
This is a guy that had his name thrown around as a possible #1 choice to Cleveland before the draft in 2018 (obviously they took Mayfield which was considered by many a surprise), and many experts had him and Sam Darnold as 1A and 1B that year. Yes he hasn't done much since he came into the league, but the 2 teams he played for, 2018 Cardinals and 2019 Dolphins, are arguably 2 of the worst of the past decade, if not the past 20 years. I'm thinking Brady might have taken retirement instead of playing behind either of those offensive lines.
Josh is only 23, still younger than some of the QBs that will be in the draft this year, and all that talent people thought he had, might still be able to be tapped if put on a team that's stable, and where he won't be asked to do much except learn and grow his skills. With Ryan around for 3-4 years, and Josh still under an inexpensive contract for the next 2 years (a bit over 5 million total, that could give Josh the time he needs to grow into that franchise QB people were saying he could be coming out of college, and if not, doesn't cost much.
If Miami drafts a QB like everyone seems to be speculating, that would put him at #3 on the depth chart behind their new draft pick and FitzMagic. Could we possibly steal another QB from Miami, have lightning strike twice? I doubt it would cost more than a late round pick, maybe 2, like in the round 5-7 range, and it gives us a 2-year trial of a possible future franchise QB. Am I nuts thinking this? Some food for thought.
Jim: Hi Andriy. OK, I heard you out. And I admit, I don't hate the idea. But a lot of that is based on believing Rosen is capable of being an effective QB, albeit now a back-up option, and I haven't seen much in the NFL to convince me that's the case. He was so-so at best in Arizona, but yes, he was a rookie. If the Dolphins draft a QB, I have to think Rosen will be on the move. And I can't dismiss this completely, because I don't think anyone saw Ryan Tannehill's turnaround coming in Tennessee after he was traded last offseason. So I'll just say I've had a lot worse suggestions in the mailbag …
Jon Kerlikowske from Franklin, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim, hope you and the family are enjoying your time together. With the draft just around the corner you get many questions about who the Titans will/should take. I have enjoyed PFF draft simulator and came up with this draft for our boys in Blue:
1st round: A.J. Terrell CB Clemson. Made a trade with our 2nd round pick #61 with Seattle and pick up their #64 and #101. With the #64 we welcome Marlon Davidson, Edge, Auburn. 3rd round brings us Davon Hamilton, DT, Ohio State. The bonus pick for trading down 3 places allows to draft at #101 Van Jefferson, WR, Florida. Couple of Vandy guys for the next two picks, #174 Ke'shawn Vaughn RB, #224 Kalija Lipscomb WR. In the 7th round we nab two guys with upside #237 Jon Runyan, OT, Michigan, and at #243 Brian Lewerke, QB, Michigan State. The simulator is a fun exercise and allows us to dream as a GM. Stay safe, and look forward to your postings leading up to the draft.
Jim: Hey Jon. Family is doing well, thanks for asking.
Well, that would be a pretty good draft. Terrell is a solid corner, and I've seen a lot of folks mock Davidson to the Titans at 29, so at 64 he'd be a steal. I like Jefferson, and I like the Vandy guys. I don't think that would be a bad haul, and it would fill some needs.
Gage Mahoney from Pflugerville, Texas
Question: Hey Jim, I've watched some film and I'm curious from your prospective the odds we have on grabbing Marlon Davidson, Damon Arnette and Isaiah Wilson in the first 3 rounds? All 3 are competitors and somewhat comparable to who they'd be replacing in terms of play style. I believe Davidson and Arnette would likely be available at 29 and 61, respectively but Wilson would likely have to be traded up for. Do you think there's realism to this plan or am I way off? Also I'm a fan of Steven Montez from Colorado and Anthony Gordon from Washu as mid-late round flyers, does the team have an opinion on them? Thanks
Jim: Hey Gage. I mentioned Davidson just above – he's become a popular pick in recent mocks. Isaiah Wilson is a really good player, too, but I don't think he'll be around when the Titans pick in the second round so the odds of getting both Davidson and Wilson probably aren't good. Arnette is probably third-round range, but not sure what the run on corners will look like or if the team might address the position earlier. As for QBs, Mel Kiper actually mentind Montez as an option for Tennessee on a conference call on Wednesday.
Jack Rosamond from Jackson, Mississippi
Question: Hi Jim. Do you think it was wrong for the Titans to pay Tannehill a lot of money and put a franchise tag on Henry? Thank you and Titan Up!
Jim: No, and you're welcome!
Coleman Minnis from Kingston Springs, Tennessee
Question: Howdy, Jim! I hope all is well. First off, is there any update on Tye Smith? Secondly, as I recall last year, you were all over the Jeff Simmons pick. Is there anything you can say in regard to who might be the selection this go around?
Jim: Howdy Coleman. Nothing new on Tye, who remains a free agent. As for the Simmons pick last year, thanks for remembering. :) I did write about him a bunch leading up to last year's draft, because I realized he was a real possibility, and folks in the building really liked him. As for this year's pick in the first round, it's hard to nail it at 29. I just don't know what's going to happen at picks 1 through 28, and with so many needs, I'm thinking it's best player available at a position of need.
Scott Martin from Satellite Beach, Florida
Question: Hello Jim, I'm a long time Oiler Titan fan. I love your writing, wit, and strong support! Also hope you guys are well and staying safe in these weird times.
Ok, question: 1. Jim I was a huge Mariota fan, but felt he did regress and start pressing, ultimately losing his job, WOW, what a job Ryan Tannehill did, he really played loose and confident and showed better timing and a has a stronger arm. He also seems to be very MM8 like in his demeanor and righteousness. My gut tells me his performance wasn't a fluke, with a strong line and weapons around him like we have this year, I believe he is gonna ball! And ball well. What does your experience and gut tell you?
Question:2. I've heard all the scuttle butt on the draft and I personally believe we need a big bad tackle to ensure we hit the ground running if you know what I mean . Not to slight Kelly, but I want a beast there for years and Kelly needs some serious comp -- he has been a very good swing back up, but I don't think he is the answer day in and day out. If you had your dream pick at 29 what position and who would you like to see picked.
Jim: Thanks Scott. I do think Tannehill is going to pick up where he left off, and it's clear, based on the contract he got, the GM and HC think so, too. The team needs to keep surrounding him with weapons, while protecting him.
As for the tackle position, Dennis Kelly is going to be given a chance to win the job, and former Falcon Ty Sambrailo is the current favorite to be the new swing guy. But I'm not going to be surprised at all if the team picks an offensive tackle relatively early to add to the mix. As for as a dream position to me, heck, I'd just like to see a difference-maker added, and it doesn't matter to me whether that's on offense or defense.
Adam Dernbach from San Diego, California
Question: Hey Jim, thanks for all the Titan info from inside perspective. For the draft, can you envision the Titans drafting Chase Claypool (he had Megatron measurables at the combine and was a beast in college at WR and STs) after trading down out of the 1st to acquire a 3rd or 4th rounder? He is a matchup nightmare and you put in out with Henry, Aj Brown, Corey Davis and he could play the Y split out or inline. He's a GREAT blocker and hard worker. He fits the Titan mold of player. Same goes for Gilman from Notre Dame as well but way later or in the 7th round. He reminds me of Kenny Vaccaro with less size and less fan fare. He's a fighter though and worthy of FA if not picked up in the draft. I know the Titans need to look at OT, CB and DL in the draft but if they could somehow get that done and grab Claypool with the 1st 4 picks, the offense could be extremely good IMO.
Jim: Hey Adam. Well, I think the Titans will draft a receiver. NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah has them taking Arizona State's Brandon Aiyuk in the first round. I like the looks of Claypool, but his stock seems to be going up. Mel Kiper has him going 41 to the Jets, so in that scenario he's not going to be around in the third or fourth. Right now, I've thought of so many draft scenarios and possibilities that my head is spinning. This much we know: The draft will be here soon.
Have a great weekend everyone!