What They're Saying About the Titans' 2020 Draft Class

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Football vs Texas A&M Photo by Gus Stark

NASHVILLE – The NFL Draft is now in the rear-view mirror.

The Titans up making six picks, and a trade for a pick in next year's draft.

The haul:

1 (29) Isaiah Wilson, T, Georgia
2 (61) Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
3 (93) Darrynton Evans, RB, Appalachian State
5 (174) Larrell Murchison, DL, N.C. State
7 (224) Cole McDonald, QB, Hawaii
7 (243). Chris Jackson, DB, Marshall

TennesseeTitans.com surveyed reports cards and comments from analysts across the country about the team's draft.

Here's a look at what the analysts are saying …

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News
The Titans didn't get edge-rush depth, but they did everything else they needed as Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel got a needed right tackle, third cornerback, second running back and rotational defensive tackle. Taking Fulton to play off Malcolm Butler and Adoree' Jackson and Evans to complement Derrick Henry were especially terrific values.
Grade: A.

Andy Benoit, Sports Illustrated
It's straightforward: When you're a run-heavy team and you just lost your quality right tackle in free agency, it's imperative you find a new quality right tackle. Quality offensive tackles require an early-round pick. Especially when that tackle weighs 350 and is athletic.
What'll be interesting is to see if Isaiah Wilson, at his size, can play at the NFL level with the needed quickness and mobility for Tennessee's wide-zone blocking scheme. He wouldn't be here if the Titans had many doubts that he could.
Adding a run-blocker makes even more sense if you add a dynamic runner later. Third-rounder Darrynton Evans has big-time home-run hitting ability, and Tennessee's wide-zone rushing attack presents opportunities for him to find space on the perimeter. He'll fill departed veteran Dion Lewis's old role and, given Derrick Henry's passing game limitations, likely get every chance to earn the third-down duties.
There were some concerns about Kristian Fulton's inconsistent balance and technique at LSU, but he often compensated with his late recovery ability. Those recovery skills may not transfer cleanly to the much more competitive NFL, but the good news is Fulton steps into a scheme that features a lot of disguised zone coverage, including heavy doses of Cover 2. That can hide some of his warts.
Grade: B

Mel Kiper, ESPN
The Titans made a surprise run to the AFC title game last season, taking down the Patriots and Ravens on the way, and they did it with an efficient quarterback, bruising running game and steady but unspectacular defense. Well, their first-round pick is clearly designed to continue that offensive trend in 2020. Offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson (29) was a little bit of a reach, but I see the traits that put him at the end of Round 1, even if I question whether he could start right away over Dennis Kelly and replace Jack Conklin at right tackle. At 6-foot-6, 350 pounds, Wilson is a project, and he needs to clean up his technique, but that could come with NFL coaching.
Opinions on cornerback Kristian Fulton (61) were all over the map inside the league, but it's decent value getting him at the end of Round 2. He is my eighth-ranked corner, just after A.J. Terrell, who went No. 16 overall. It's a little risky, though, just because of his inconsistencies. Darrynton Evans (93) opened up some eyes at the combine with a 4.41 40-yard dash, and he could be the favorite to spell Derrick Henry as the No. 2 running back. On Day 3, Larrell Murchison (174) is just a rotational defensive tackle, and quarterback Cole McDonald (224) has a loooong delivery and will need time to fix that and adjust to the speed of the NFL. But he could be a decent backup.
I was surprised the Titans didn't take an edge rusher, and Wilson was a reach on my board.
Grade: C+

Chad Reuter, NFL.com
Draft picks: Georgia OT Isaiah Wilson (No. 29 overall), LSU CB Kristian Fulton (No. 61), Appalachian State RB Darrynton Evans (No. 93), N.C. State DT Larrell Murchison (No. 174), Hawaii QB Cole McDonald (No. 224), Marshall DB Chris Jackson (No. 243)
Day 1 grade: B-
Day 2 grade: A
Day 3 grade: A
Overall grade: B+
Draft analysis: The Titans crushed Day 2 of the draft, getting the corner they absolutely needed in Fulton and finding that quick complementary back to Derrick Henry in Evans. Tennessee's pick of Isaiah Wilson in Round 1 could work out thanks to the massive young man's (6-6, 350 pounds) lofty potential. Tennessee traded their fourth-round choice to Miami last year for QB Ryan Tannehill ... which has worked out pretty well. Murchison, an active defensive lineman, was a top-100 value they picked up at No. 174 overall. McDonald's arm and athleticism made him worth a late-round flier. Adding depth at tight end should be the Titans' top priority when looking to sign, umm, priority rookie free agents.

Pro Football Focus
Round 1 (29): T Isaiah Wilson, Georgia
Round 2 (61): CB Kristian Fulton, LSU
Round 3 (93): RB Darrynton Evans, App State
Round 5 (174): Edge Larrell Murchison, NC State
Round 7 (224): QB Cole McDonald, Hawaii
Round 7 (243): CB Chris Jackson, Marshall
Day 1: Isaiah Wilson was 111th on the PFF Big Board entering the draft, so this pick is clearly a reach. Wilson is an absolute unit at 6-foot-6 and 350 pounds, and while that can be a pro, it's also a huge con as it makes playing consistently low a struggle. We actually like him more at guard than at tackle as a result. Wilson could thrive at guard because of how immediately he ends reps when he's able to quickly get his hands on an opponent. Still, that doesn't quite warrant a first-round selection.
Day 2: Fulton was the 12th-ranked prospect on our draft board and easily the CB2. He owns the highest PFF coverage grade in the country over the past two seasons, and he produced the nation's highest forced incompletion rate (30.5%) when lined up on the outside. His ability to stick with his man, consistently force tight coverage and win at the catch point is as good as anyone. He was in SEC receivers' hip pockets constantly, and he'll be the same way in the NFL. This was one of the biggest steals of the entire draft.
After getting a steal in Fulton, Tennessee responded with a pretty huge reach in Darrynton Evans. He was only 221 on our draft board. While he is a speedster, he's undersized and doesn't break a lot of tackles, nor does he play well after contact in general.
Day 3: Tennessee needed a backup quarterback, and the Titans got one of the biggest arms in the entire draft in Cole McDonald. McDonald also brings to the table elite athleticism for the position and decent accuracy. McDonald had nine completions of 40 or more yards in 2019, which led all FBS quarterbacks. The big issue with McDonald was his ugly decision-making and Jameis-esque style of play — he ranked 18th in big-time throw rate and had the 12th-worst turnover-worthy play rate at the same time.
Draft Grade: C+

Dan Kadar, SB Nation
You could see the pick of offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson coming a mile away for the Titans. The right tackle is perfect for Tennessee's run-based offense. He'll replace Jack Conklin and give the Titans a blocker who can open massive holes for Derrick Henry.
Second-round pick Kristian Fulton should help the Titans fix their 24th-ranked pass defense. Adoree' Jackson has been uneven throughout his career and Logan Ryan has yet to be re-signed. The Titans also let LeShaun Sims and Tramaine Brock walk this offseason. If Fulton can clean up a couple areas of his game, he should start as a rookie.
Running back Darrynton Evans, taken in the third round, is a nice replacement for Dion Lewis, a cap casualty this offseason.
Grade: B+

Luke Easterling, Draftwire
After losing Jack Conklin in free agency, the Titans found the perfect replacement in Georgia's Isaiah Wilson, who was every bit worthy of a first-round pick. He was tested at right tackle against SEC competition, and his punishing style is exactly what Tennessee loves up front.
LSU corner Kristian Fulton was one of the biggest steals of the entire draft at No. 61 overall, and he can replace the departed Logan Ryan in the starting lineup immediately. Appalachian State running back Darrynton Evans is the perfect complement to Derrick Henry.
North Carolina State defensive lineman Larrell Murchison was one of this year's most underrated interior defenders, making him a huge bargain in the fifth round. Hawaii's Cole McDonald is an intriguing developmental prospect at quarterback.
GRADE: B+

Eddie Brown, San Diego Union-Tribune
The lowdown: You could argue edge rusher was the Titans biggest need and they didn't touch it. Evans is officially lightning to Derrick Henry's thunder.
Grade: B-

WalterFootball.com
Goals Entering the 2020 NFL Draft: Tennessee made an unexpected run to the AFC Championship, but things will be much more difficult in 2020. The Titans won by bullying their opponents in the trenches, but with Jack Conklin and Jurrell Casey gone, they won't be as imposing on the offensive and defensive lines. Tennessee needs to make sure it replaces those key free agents, while also adding some talent to the offense.
2020 NFL Draft Accomplishments: We were all shocked by what occurred in Mike Vrabel's household during the draft, but Tennessee's draft plans were far more predictable. It was the least-surprising thing in the world to see the team use its first-round choice on a blocker. Isaiah Wilson is a massive lineman, but isn't limited athletically. He should be able to take over at right tackle at some point in the near future as a replacement for Jack Conklin.
The Titans also addressed their defensive line, albeit in Round 5. Still, they were able to get a nice value in Larrell Murchison. In between, the Titans addressed needs at cornerback and running back with Kristian Fulton and Darrynton Evans, respectively. Fulton was my least-favorite addition, as he was frequently torched last year. Still, the "C" the Titans were slapped with for him was the worst grade they received all weekend.
Tennessee didn't have a spectacular or sexy draft by any means, but this rock-solid haul was emblematic of the values this franchise holds.
Grade: B.

Ryan Dunleavy, New York Post
Key Picks: Isaiah Wilson (OT, Georgia), Kristian Fulton (CB, LSU) Darrynton Evans (RB, Appalachian State)
Analysis: They married need and value every time. Evans and Derrick Henry are the NFL's new thunder-and-lightning tandem. Wilson and Fulton replace free agents Jack Conklin and Logan Ryan.
Grade: A-.

Evan Silva, Establish the Run
Overview: Maintaining their bully-ball philosophy on offense, the Titans began their draft with 6-foot-7, 350-pound mauler Wilson, who should seamlessly replace Jack Conklin at right tackle. GM Jon Robinson's best value pick was Fulton, who allowed a miniscule 43.6% completion rate when targeted over the past two seasons and ran 4.46 at 6-foot, 197 before the draft. Both filled big needs on Tennessee's roster. The Titans will hope darting change-of-pace prospect Evans succeeds behind Derrick Henry where Dion Lewis could not. Murchison projects as a situational three-technique tackle, while McDonald and Jackson are probable throwaways. This six-man class failed to yield an edge pass rusher but should net two immediate starters and at least one useful early-career role player.
Grade: B-

Nate Davis, USA Today
Hard to argue with the program GM Jon Robinson and coach Mike Vrabel are building but unclear if this year's picks will help much in 2020. First-round OT Isaiah Wilson is 21 and may not be ready to capably replace stud Jack Conklin, who's now in Cleveland. Second-round CB Kristian Fulton must prove he's past questionable off-field behavior. And third-round RB Darrynton Evans is a nice handcuff for 2019 rushing champ Derrick Henry, but it's not clear if Evans is even ready for a third-round role at present.
Grade: D+

Hayden Winks, Rotoworld
Wilson received a second-round grade from me and many other analysts because he's a below-average athlete, but I rounded up his grade for the ideal team fit. He will start immediately as RT Jack Conklin's replacement and has always been better as a mauling run-blocker than pass protector, which fits the Titans' culture and offensive identity… Not only is Fulton good (6.6 yards per target allowed in coverage) and athletic (4.46 speed), but he also fills the Titans other massive need at corner. He walks into a starting role with CB Logan Ryan likely gone and offers a more physical presence to their undersized secondary… Evans has been a running sleeper of mine all draft season because he's young (21), productive (1,480 rushing yards), and fast (4.41), and I can't complain about the landing spot. He's an ideal complement to Derrick Henry and is skilled-enough as a receiver to play passing downs as a rookie. With Henry playing on the franchise tag, Evans has a lot of sleeper appeal in dynasty leagues.
Grade: B.

Logan Mullen, NESN
Isaiah Wilson is an unsurprising move in the first round since they're banking on Ryan Tannehill going forward — and obviously keeping him inside the pocket is best for all parties. But the Titans did have a pair of sneaky good moves: Appalachian State running back Darrynton Evans in the third round will make for a compelling backfield partner with Derrick Henry, and we love the flier on Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald at 224.
Grade: B.

Tim Bielik, Cleveland.com
The Titans took Wilson to try and replace Jack Conklin at right tackle, but he will need some time before he can step in Fulton was a steal late in the second round to add more talent to the Tennessee secondary, and I like Evans as a complement to Derrick Henry. Murchison could add more depth on the defensive line for the Titans, who had a solid draft without a lot of flash.
Grade: B

Phillip Heilman, Denver Post
The Titans plugged holes at right tackle with Isaiah Wilson (first round) and cornerback with Kristian Fulton (second). Fulton is among the most-talented players in this draft. Darrynton Evans will be a nice complement to Derrick Henry at running back.
Grade: B.

Justin Leger, NBC Sports Boston
Analysis: Wilson makes perfect sense for Tennesee as he'll fit right into the run-first offense. Fulton will make an instant impact on the Titans' defense as he was our fourth-rated corner and a potential first-rounder. Evans is a solid replacement for Dion Lewis, who was released this offseason. McDonald creates some QB competition for Ryan Tannehill, but isn't exactly a threat to take the starting job. After all, the Titans invested a ridiculous amount of money in Tannehill not too long ago. Altogether, a nice draft for Mike Vrabel.
Grade: B+

The Score
Wilson was an obvious fit to replace Jack Conklin at right tackle, but it's easy to question the value of taking him at the end of the first round. And with an opportunity to potentially add a starter at a position of need in the third, it wasn't the best investment to take a complementary running back to play alongside workhorse Derrick Henry. Capitalizing on Fulton's surprising slide is what really saves this class and gives it the potential to look good long term. The LSU standout, who many expected to go in the opening round, could be an impact player from Day 1.
Grade: B-.

The Spun
Isaiah Wilson wasn't one of the four coveted tackles in the first round, but he's a big, athletic piece who could become a long-time option at the position for Tennessee. Fulton was a solid piece of the national championship LSU Tigers, and App State's Darrynton Evans was an explosive playmaker out of the backfield. The most fun pick here, though? Hawaii's Cole McDonald, who could throw for five touchdowns and/or five interceptions in a given week. He's a true gunslinger, and we hope to see him get a shot at some point.
Grade: B-

Touchdown Wire
If you thought it was a headache to tackle Derrick Henry last season, imagine how many aspirins opposing defenses will need when Henry has the 6-foot-6, 350-pound Isaiah Wilson from Georgia grading roads for Henry to roam on the right side. Wilson is the second-best power tackle in this class behind Mekhi Becton, and he's good enough as a pass-protector. Picking up LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton in the second round could be one of the top value picks in this draft if Fulton can get his leverage and technique straight, and third-round running back Darrynton Evans from Appalachian State looks like an outstanding "lightning" component to Henry's thunderback role.
Grade: A-

Joe Tansey, Bleacher Report
The fall of LSU defensive back Kristian Fulton ended at Tennessee's second-round pick.
Fulton displayed some flaws during the national championship run, and he was overshadowed by freshman phenom Derek Stingley Jr., but he is a solid corner who could make re-signing Logan Ryan less of a priority.
Appalachian State running back Darrynton Evans could be a good third-round find as a different threat out of the backfield when Derrick Henry is on the sideline.
Grade: B.

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