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Weekend Mailbag: Jim Wyatt Answers Titans Questions from the NFL Combine


INDIANAPOLIS – It's been a busy week at the NFL Combine, and it's not over yet.

Titans general manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabel, along with the team's coaching and scouting departments, continue to do their homework on this year's NFL Draft prospects.

Meanwhile, the clock continues to tick leading up to free agency.

Let's take a break from the 40s and the on-field drills to bang out some answers to your questions…

Nicholas Skophammer from Palmdale, California

Question: Hi Mr. Wyatt. Been a fan of the Titans since 7th grade when the Titans went to the Super Bowl, loved 'em ever since, through the highs and lows. Found a way to watch every game even when I was overseas in the Navy. I do have a question: What are the chances the Titans trade up to try to grab a top edge rusher in the draft? It seemed to me, especially last season, that one thing we need some work on is QB pressure and more so on the edge. I see a lot of these Mock Drafts having us pick a tackle at 29 or a RB, but that seems absurd to me, because it feels like we're going to bring Conklin back and we have the best RB in the league and he'll probably be the top RB for the next few years for certain (hope he stays here his whole career!). Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to all these letters, very enjoyable!

Jim: Hey Nicholas. Thanks for taking the time -- and thank you for your service. Listening to Jon Robinson here this week, I think a part of him is in agony because he knows he doesn't have a pick until No.29 in the draft. It's a good problem to have, since it means the team had such a good season. Here's my take: Chase Young is clearly going very early. He won't be within reach. It sounds like A.J. Epenesa and K'Lavon Chaisson could go in the top 25, and Curtis Weaver might, too. But obviously a lot can change between now and April. A handful of other guys are projected to go in the 25-40 range. Right now, I'm doubting a move up to get a guy – but if Robinson falls in love with a guy, and he lingers, I guess it could happen. But also keep in mind edge rusher might not be as big of a need in April as it appears right now. Personally, I like the idea of adding a veteran opposite Harold Landry, and if the team re-signs Kamalei Correa to go with another vet, things would look a lot better at edge come April and the pick could come at another position of need.

Binar Qaradakhi from Lavergne, Tennessee

Question: Hey Jim. Just wondering: Who's going to be our new defensive coordinator since Dean Pees retired?

Jim: Mike Vrabel was asked this question as recently as Tuesday here in Indy. This is what he said: "Right now, we're just working through the process of who's going to be running the defensive side of us. I'm really excited about the staff, but I am working through that process of doing what's best for the players and the Titans, but excited about the group of guys that we have and about how we expect to play defense for the Titans." So, stay tuned.

Junior Leatigaga from NSW, Australia

Question: Hi Jim. When will the Titans release Marcus Mariota? Has any other team found interest in him or is the Titans using him as a bargaining chip???

Jim: Hey Junior. The Titans don't have to release Marcus. His contract expires next month, and he'll be free to sign anywhere.

Mortimer Sneed from Chattanooga, Tennessee

Question: Hey Jim. The more I read from you the more I appreciate the professional straightforward way you handle your job. Thanks. It sounds like a dream job to some, but I'm sure you walk a tightrope doing it.

You don't hear people mention it much, but keeping a "good locker room" begins with quality people. I feel that Marcus Mariota, Jurrell Casey and Wesley Woodard are great examples of super leaders, both on and off the field who have taken us to the next level we wouldn't have otherwise reached as a team.

That's why as we talk about who might leave and who might join the Titans I feel someone like Jadeveon Clowney should be left for other teams. I'm sure Coach Vrabel knows more about him than I ever will or want to, but my impression is his effort and his intents are too often questionable. Don't want Marcus Peters or Jalen Ramsey, either. Nor Kareem Hunt. A big Texas-sized hard no to Antonio Brown. How can you reassure us fans that Titans management considers issues like this?

Jim: Hey Mortimer. I appreciate your comments. No doubt about it on the locker room culture. The three guys you named are top-notch, and fortunately the team has a ton of leaders and captain-worthy players right now, and that hasn't always been the case. As for Clowney, you bring up a great point about Vrabel knowing him. I don't know if the team will pursue Jadeveon, and right now we don't know for sure he's going to be available. Seattle's GM said from here this week the team would love to have him back. Clowney told ESPN's Josina Anderson this week he's "open to new opportunities if it comes down to that" but he also said "I would definitely like to return" to Seattle. So we'll have to see what transpires leading up to the start of free agency. But there's no question the team will continue to try and bring in guys who are not only good fits on the field, but also in the locker room.

Edson Hart from Pomeroy, Ohio

Question: Been a Titans/Oilers fan since Warren Moon. Been loyal the whole time never wavered. Steve McNair still my fav player all time. Liked young love Ryan Tannehill, but beg Titans org to not go after Tom Brady. Rather trade up to get any qb in the draft than take Brady in free agency. I am really happy the way our season went hope we take it to next step next season and awesome job. Rather keep Tannehill than go for Brady.

Jim: Appreciate you taking the time to weigh in, Edson.

Tim Rutledge from Spring City, Tennessee

Question: Are the Tennessee Titans going to re-sign Derrick Henry to a long-term deal and are they going to offer Ryan Tannehill another contract?

Jim: Hey Tim. I wish I could tell you something definitive on this. The GM was asked these questions here this week, and I can only tell you what he said on each guy.

On Henry: "Derrick had a great year for us. He led the league in rushing. He built off the second half of the 2018 season that he had. He cares about his teammates. He works hard. He's great in the community. We're going to work through that one and do everything we can to try to keep him around."

Robinson on Tannehill: "We'll see how it goes. He's under contract here for the next few weeks. Did a great job for us. We'll start those talks and see kind of where those go, just like all the other players."

Justin Vince from Chatham, Ontario, Canada

Question: Jim, where do I start? I'm a first-time writer and long-time follower of you and your hard work. Thanks for all you do. I've been a Titans fan since they come up to Nashville. Beautiful city, by the way. Been there twice and one time for a "win and get in" game vs Jags. 3rd row behind our bench on a very cold night. Amazing time and game. How 'bout these Titans', eh? They look great, but should I or anyone one else feel nervous about the King Henry or Tannethrill? I'm sure they could get good leverage with Henry, especially, from another team, but would they really do that? And same goes for Ryan T. What if he goes too? I know it's worse-case scenario to us, but would Jon Robinson be this creative or crazy? Thanks Jim, so much. #Titanup, and love that smashmouth from the south!

Jim: Hey Justin. Appreciate you chiming in. And you're right – about Nashville being a beautiful city. I'm biased – I was born and raised in Nashville. Should you feel nervous about the status of Henry and Tannehill? Well, this is a tough question. I actually get a sense a lot of fans are already feeling a bit nervous. You're talking about arguably the two biggest positions on the team in quarterback and running back. Personally, I don't think Derrick Henry is going anywhere. I think he'll be back with the team one way or the other (either with a new deal or the tag). As for Tannehill and the QB spot, well, the GM and HC didn't shed too much light on that subject here this week, so it's clear some things are going to have to be sorted out. You're just going to have to trust the GM and HC, and I think we'd have to agree those guys have proven to be pretty trustworthy …

Have a great weekend everyone!

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