Tennessee Titans NFL Draft 2024 guide: Picks, predictions and needs

The Beast, Dane Brugler’s expansive guide to the NFL Draft, is here.

Head coach: Brian Callahan (first season with team)

Last year’s record: 6-11

The Titans proceeded during free agency a bit differently than some might expect from a team coming off consecutive losing seasons, possessing the No. 7 pick, a new coach and a second-year GM. But trading for cornerback L’Jarius Sneed and signing free agents Calvin Ridley, Lloyd Cushenberry and Chidobe Awuzie doesn’t represent a “go for it” mindset as much as it does a “get decent” mindset. The roster needed (and still needs) extensive work. The cap space was available. And the long-term rebuild is a relic in this league anyway. The Titans should in one offseason be able to put enough around Will Levis to give him a chance to make a case for his staying power. If it’s a strong case, the postseason isn’t a laughable concept.


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Key position needs

Left tackle: The Titans have gone about their business as if intending to use the No. 7 pick on the franchise’s next long-term quarterback protector. The past two seasons, with Andre Dillard and Dennis Daley failing spectacularly to pick up where Taylor Lewan left off, have resulted in a whole bunch of QB hits and lost jobs in the organization. Notre Dame’s Joe Alt is the obvious prospect of interest here, but plenty of other scenarios exist. If the Titans don’t draft someone who can step right in and start at that position, Nicholas Petit-Frere is the best option among returnees.

Right tackle: Yeah, the Titans could go tackle-tackle in the first and second rounds and it wouldn’t be excessive. It would match up with a deep tackle draft as well. If Tennessee is able to successfully identify its bookends for the next few years — and the hope is that offensive line coach Bill Callahan proves a valuable commodity in the evaluation process — then this offensive line suddenly looks promising, with Cushenberry locked in at center and last year’s first-round pick, Peter Skoronski, at left guard. Petit-Frere is the top candidate to start on this side as well, if the draft doesn’t address it.

Edge rusher: The Titans are paying Harold Landry on the outside and Jeffery Simmons on the interior to continue to harass quarterbacks – they represent the top two cap hits on the team, combining for more than $45 million this season. But those two are going to miss Houston-bound Denico Autry, an underrated force who lined up all over the place. There’s a need to get more help for Simmons inside as well, but it’s not as acute as the need for a drafted edge who can take pressure off Landry and produce on a rookie contract.

Inside linebacker: David Long Jr. went to Miami last offseason and the Titans replaced him — not adequately enough, but not poorly — with Azeez Al-Shaair last season. Al-Shaair then departed along with Autry for Houston, leaving the Titans to start over again. Free agent Kenneth Murray Jr. comes in looking to turn his ample athletic traits into more consistency, and Jack Gibbens could start again if needed. But this is another position on defense that demands an effective draft choice who can grow into Dennard Wilson’s defense.

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With Lloyd Cushenberry locked in at center, the offensive line suddenly looks promising if the Titans are able to successfully draft a productive tackle or two. (Gregory Fisher / USA Today)

Last 5 top picks

2023: OG Peter Skoronski, No. 11 — A huge sophomore season is ahead for Skoronski, who didn’t plug in and control his territory as hoped, but also faced challenges. One was an appendix removal early in his rookie season. Deficient play to his left, at left tackle, was another. If the Titans figure out that position, along with an upgrade at center (Cushenberry in place of Aaron Brewer), Skoronski should be set up for success. The 2023 draft will be defined first by Levis, of course, but GM Ran Carthon really needs Skoronski to hit as well.

2022: WR Treylon Burks, No. 18 — Can Burks become a reliable third receiver for the Titans in his third season as a pro? That’s the question now. It has changed every year. Two years ago when former GM Jon Robinson made the career-altering decision to trade AJ Brown to the Eagles, it was: Is Burks the next Brown? A year ago it was: Can Burks be a difference-maker? Now he has to prove to a new coaching staff that he belongs in the playing rotation, which is wide open after Ridley and DeAndre Hopkins. This is the final year of Hopkins’ deal, so long-term opportunity is there, though that also could prompt the Titans to take a receiver in this draft.

2021: CB Caleb Farley, No. 22 – At this point, it would be an inspirational story if Farley could hang around in the NFL and carve out any kind of career amid injuries and personal tragedy. He’s giving it another go this offseason and is entering the final year of his rookie deal. Among many Robinson mistakes after the phenomenal draft of 2019 was trusting that multiple back surgeries (which overshadowed knee issues) could be overcome by Farley. Several NFL teams viewed Farley’s medical history as a non-starter entering the 2021 draft, but Robinson obviously didn’t.



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2020: OT Isaiah Wilson, No. 29 – Wilson bottomed out almost instantly, off-the-field issues undercutting his career before it ever had a chance to get started. That was a killer for the Titans, who didn’t step up and pay Jack Conklin what he deserved to stay on as right tackle, starting a search at the position that began with Wilson, moved on to 2021 second-round pick Dillon Radunz, then to 2022 third-round pick Petit-Frere … and continues today. For all the fair criticisms of Robinson and former coach Mike Vrabel, this wasn’t a case of deficient vetting. Wilson’s time at Georgia did not foretell the issues he would have once he got to Nashville.

2019: DT Jeffery Simmons, No. 19 – Best Titans draft ever? Simmons in the first round, AJ Brown in the second round, Nate Davis in the third, Amani Hooker in the fourth, David Long Jr. in the sixth — it was an incredible haul, selected as Nashville hosted the NFL Draft for the first time. Now that Derrick Henry has moved on to Baltimore, Simmons is indisputably the best football player on the team. The organizational focus is supporting Levis and finding out if he’s the long-term QB. It would also be a shame to waste much more of Simmons’ prime.

(Top photo of L’Jarius Sneed: George Walker IV / Associated Press)

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