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In a 2011 re-draft, is this the right move for the Tennessee Titans?
The 2011 NFL Draft may go down as one of the worst big decisions in Tennessee Titans history.

The Titans desperately needed a quarterback and Jake Locker was viewed by some as a prospect with tons of athletic ability and the intangibles to lead a locker room. However, he was very inaccurate and many people had him as the 3rd-best QB in that draft class behind Cam Newton (sure) and Blaine Gabbert (oh).

In a draft with several Hall of Fame defenders and All Pros scattered throughout the first round, the Titans selected a QB who retired from football before getting his second contract.

Jake Locker is a great human being by all accounts, but the decision to draft him was a mistake and it is one that cost the Titans dearly. Not only did the Titans have to go back to the drawing board at QB, but they missed out on so many elite players.

Well, Benjamin Solak did a re-draft of the 2011 NFL Draft, and with the 8th pick in the draft the Titans had a ton of options. The only players off the board were: Newton, Von Miller, J.J. Watt, Julio Jones, Patrick Peterson, A.J. Green, and Justin Houston.

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So with the 8th pick the Titans selected: Jurrell Casey DT, USC.

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This is such a bittersweet pick for me. Casey has been an absolute star and was a steal in the third round, but ultimately even a redraft wouldn’t have made that team better.

As an ambassador of the Titans brand and as the heart and soul of the defense for nearly a decade, I would absolutely make this pick knowing what I know now.

If the Titans could somehow hide Casey from being on this list, then several names would have been great additions to that 2011 roster.

–Ryan Kerrigan is likely a Hall of Fame sleeper right now considering his consistent domination as a pass rusher (he’s never had less than 7.5 sacks per year and he averages 10.5 sacks per season).
-Cam Jordan has really come into his own as a defensive lineman over the past few years and could potentially be the best defensive player on a Super Bowl team this year.

–Mike Pouncey coming in to replace Kevin Mawae would have been really fun and it probably would have turned the Titans offensive line into a powerhouse for the next decade.

In a world where the Titans can still steal Casey in the third round, there is one pick that I would have loved to see in this redraft. Drafting Richard Sherman would have made the Titans one of the most fun defenses in NFL history.

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That defense would have had Jason McCourty, Michael Griffin, Jurrell Casey, Derrick Morgan, Karl Klug, Jason Jones, and Dave Ball, all of which are fan favorites or players that were never really given their proper respect. But the most fun thing? The Tennessee Titans would have had Cortland Finnegan and Richard Sherman playing boundary CB.

The two most in-your-face, brash corners in the NFL over the last decade lined up across from each other giving receivers an ear full after every catch or drop.

Like I said, I definitely agree with the re-drafting of Jurrell Casey especially when you look at his longevity. But, just for fun, if Tennessee could keep Casey and take one other player, Sherman would have made the 2011 Titans legendary.

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Every team will of course have its own draft board when it enters the war room on April 25 for the 2019 NFL draft. But marrying rankings and scheme fit with team-specific areas of need will be key to acing the draft.

Let’s take a closer look at the five biggest draft needs (in order) for all 32 teams.

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Note: Statistics provided throughout from Elias Sports Bureau and ESPN Stats & Information.

AFC EAST

Buffalo Bills
Top draft needs: DT, EDGE, TE, G, CB

The Bills have their quarterback in Josh Allen, but considering Shaq Lawson is the only player drafted by Buffalo before 2017 still on the roster, there are a lot of areas of need here. With Kyle Williams gone, the defensive tackle position opens up — Houston’s Ed Oliver could fit perfectly — and Jerry Hughes isn’t getting any younger off the edge. The Bills managed only 36 sacks in 2018. And after Charles Clay signed with Arizona, Buffalo will want a complement to Tyler Kroft at tight end.
2019 NFL DRAFT

When: April 25-27
Where: Nashville, Tennessee
How to watch: ABC/ESPN/ESPN App

• Complete draft order: Picks 1-254 »
• Needs for all 32 teams » | Draft guides »
• In-depth stories on the top prospects »
• Kiper’s ‘Grade: A’ three-round mock »
• McShay’s ‘Grade: A’ three-round mock »
• Two-round mock drafts: Kiper vs. McShay »
• More NFL draft coverage »
Miami Dolphins
Top draft needs: QB, G, OT, C, EDGE

The Dolphins need everything, starting with quarterback. Yet because they don’t pick until No. 13, there’s a shot the Dolphins either draft a QB on Day 2 or wait until 2020 to address the position — or both. Miami will be looking to rebuild its offensive and defensive lines almost entirely and then potentially tack on some cornerback depth. It all depends on how GM Chris Grier wants to go about this rebuild.

 

New England Patriots
Top draft needs: TE, WR, DT, EDGE, QB

Could New England go wide receiver, perhaps in the slot, in the first round for the first time since snagging Terry Glenn in 1996? Will the Patriots find a Rob Gronkowski replacement? Who will be the heir apparent to Tom Brady? And can Bill Belichick do what he’s done so many years in the past and replenish the defense after losing Trey Flowers and Malcolm Brown to free agency? Lots of questions for the defending champs.

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NFL draft profile: Noah FantNoah Fant is a tight end out of Iowa who caught 19 touchdowns during his stint with the Hawkeyes.
New York Jets
Top draft needs: EDGE, G, C, TE, CB

If the Jets take an offensive lineman in the first two rounds, it’d be just the second time since 2007. But it’s a real possibility considering the lack of depth and the departure of James Carpenter. And Gang Green will also target some pass rushing off the edge after dropping the QB just 39 times in 2018. Trading back from No. 3 overall might be a move for the Jets to wrangle some more picks.
AFC NORTH
Baltimore Ravens
Top draft needs: EDGE, ILB, WR, G, RB

The Ravens’ offense pivoted last season once Lamar Jackson took the reins. He averaged 17 rushing attempts per game, and per Elias, no other QB has averaged even 12 per outing since 1970. Even still, Baltimore needs to get him some weapons, including some impact wide receivers and a running back complement to Mark Ingram. But let’s not forget the defensive front seven also lost Za’Darius Smith, C.J. Mosley and Terrell Suggs during the offseason.

 

Cincinnati Bengals
Top draft needs: OT, LB, QB, TE, G

ESPN +Over the past couple of weeks, we rolled out our annual position rankings series, which usually come out around the time pitchers and catchers report. This was my first year handling the project, and I decided to structure it from the standpoint of tiers.

Doing it that way helped, I hope, offer a sense of how talent is grouped at the different positions right now, and which positions are stronger and weaker as compared to historical standards. But there is one final step we can take with this approach: What do the teams look like from the standpoint of tiers?

As I did with the pitching staffs, it’s simple enough to dump all the ratings into a file and see how many players each team has in each tier. So that’s what I did, and the results serve a dual purpose. First, they simply give us a way to look at how teams stack up in relation to each other. It’s not a rigorous projection, but the hierarchy of teams organized in this way isn’t much different than it looks like in an actual projection of team records.

ESPN+: Doolittle’s positional tiers

How do the best at each position rank and what tier of production do they fit in?

Positions:C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | SP | RP

The other thing this snapshot offers is a glimpse at how teams have constructed their rosters. This is really the interesting part. Which teams are built with a stars-and-scrubs approach? Which teams have a lot of talent bunched in the middle? Which teams are good but have an obvious void in terms of MVP-level talent? Are there any teams that look less talented than the current group of unsigned free agents? (Sadly, there is one.)

As with the pitching tiers analysis, teams are given 6 points for each player rated in Tier I, 5 points for Tier II and so on. Those total points are then divided by the total number of players being rated to give us our tier-based score. I updated the teams’ rosters with the latest transactions. To break up the commentary, we’ll list the teams in groups of five.

ESPN +

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Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker suffered a broken ankle and ligament damage on Sunday and is not expected to play again in 2018, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Titans placed Walker on injured reserve Monday but did not disclose the nature of his injury. The team signed tight end MyCole Pruitt off the Houston Texans’ practice squad in a corresponding move.

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Titans must get their offense moving without TE Delanie Walker
Losing the veteran safety valve, a favorite option of QB Marcus Mariota, will mean more targets for replacement Jonnu Smith and Tennessee’s WRs.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel said Walker had a “leg injury” and would undergo surgery in the next couple of days.

Meanwhile, Vrabel said Taylor Lewan is under concussion protocol and he was adamant about the left tackle not doing anything until he is cleared. As for the hit by Miami Dolphins defensive lineman Andre Branch, Vrabel said he didn’t feel it was dirty but “absolutely” thought Lewan was targeted.

Vrabel also said quarterback Marcus Mariota’s elbow injury is still being evaluated and they’re hopeful about getting a good report back. He and general manager Jon Robinson have discussed adding another quarterback if needed.
Delanie Walker, who led the Titans with 74 receptions and 807 receiving yards last season, was placed on injured reserve Monday after suffering a serious ankle injury Sunday. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee
Walker caught a 15-yard pass from backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert and went down awkwardly as he was tackled by Dolphins safety T.J. McDonald in the fourth quarter of a 27-70 loss. Trainers put a towel over Walker’s head as they fitted him with an air cast for his right leg before lifting him onto a cart and taking him to the locker room.

The Titans signed Walker to a two-year, $17 million contract extension ($12.76 million guaranteed) before the season.

Walker, 34, was selected to his third straight Pro Bowl in 2017, when he led the Titans with 74 receptions and 807 receiving yards. He and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce are the only tight ends with at least 800 receiving yards in each of the past four seasons.

The 2018 season is Walker’s 13th in the NFL and sixth in Tennessee. Over the previous five seasons, he had 356 receptions — the most by a tight end.

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FRANKLIN, Tenn. – On Monday afternoon, Derrick Henry put on his helmet and football pads and went to work.

On Monday night, the hulking Titans running back found himself leading a group of kids around a sporting goods store, helping them find clothes and supplies for another school year.

“It’s a blessing to be a blessing to kids,” Henry said. “It’s a chance to provide these kids things they need for school – book bags, water bottles, clothes, shoes, anything they need for sports. If they play Pop Warner sports, it can help them. It’s one less thing for their parents to get.

“I was just like them when I was a kid. I wanted to get cleats, I wanted to get clothes, and I wanted to get cool shoes. It was always important to me, to look good going to school. I always wanted to look the best, dress the best. So this is fun for me, and it’s fun to help them out. I love spending time with kids.”

Henry, headed into his third season with the Titans, surprised 15 local students from Boys & Girls Club of Franklin with the back-to-school shopping event.

Each child received a $125 gift card. Spending time with the Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama, however, was priceless. Henry served as a personal shopping consultant for the kids, helping them make some big decisions on outfits, colors, and money.

He held one girl’s hand as he guided her through the aisles.

“I tried to help them match, help them shop,” Henry, who has three sisters, said with a smile. “I was the same way as a kid, wanting to get everything that I like. Just make sure they spend the right way, so if they want something else they can get something else… Some got jackets, some got shorts, and some got cleats.

“It’s a cool thing for the kids, to have this experience.”

Henry, who was in the Boys and Girls Club himself as a youngster growing up outside Jacksonville, Florida, answered some off the wall questions from the curious youngsters.
Some asked him about football, while others asked him about the gold chain hanging around his neck. One girl asked if he was a rapper.

“Anytime I can get with the kids, it is like getting away,” he said. “I love spending time with the kids, and having the opportunity to help them. Anything I can do to inspire them.”

Earlier this offseason, Henry went back to school and got his degree from the University of Alabama, fulfilling a promise he made to his late grandmother.

With kids surrounding him, Henry said he hopes to be a positive role model.

“For me to be able to help them, it is a blessing,” Henry said. “Whenever I have an opportunity, I want to make sure I am perfect role model that they can look after, have fun with, and spend time with. Education is important – I went back to school and graduated. It meant a lot to me.

“So I want to make sure they have someone to look up to.”

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How do you reveal the Tennessee Titans’ first new uniforms in almost two decades?

With a public street party headlined by multi-platinum selling country duo Florida Georgia Line.

The Titans announced plans for the April 4 unveiling during a Saturday evening event attended by approximately 8,000 season ticket holders at Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. The team also unveiled a logo to commemorate the 20th season since the franchise re-branded from the Oilers to the Titans, which players are planning to wear as a small decal on the back of their helmets throughout next season.

The Titans are planning to wear this logo as a small
The Titans are planning to wear this logo as a small helmet decal in 2018 to commemorate their 20th season since re-branding from the Oilers to the Titans. (Photo: Courtesy Tennessee Titans)
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“We wanted to create a unique event for the new uniform unveiling in April,” Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk told The Tennessean before the event.

“Being in Nashville, it only made sense to include a concert, and we are thrilled Florida Georgia Line has agreed to join us,” she said. “This will be a fun show for our fans — they will get to see the new uniforms and enjoy a terrific concert.”

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Titans’ 2017 season in review
The free event is set for 7 p.m. April 4 at Broadway and First Avenue — just blocks from Florida Georgia Line’s restaurant FGL House. The duo, which consists of members Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, said they were initially approached to perform a few songs acoustically. But given the circumstances, the men decided to pull their touring rigs out of storage and give Nashville fans the complete Florida Georgia Line concert experience.

► More: Titans free agents: 5 impact players to consider re-signing

“We’re bringing all the bells and whistles,” Hubbard said.

“We were like, ‘If we’re going to play Nashville, we need to do it right. Let’s rock this thing,’” Kelley said, adding they also planned to bring their pyrotechnics. “We’re just jacked. Nashville is a bull’s-eye for everyone to come to right now. Anytime we can represent the city and the Titans, we’re stepping our game up. We’re just thankful.”
The uniform redesign is in honor of the Titans’ 20th season in Nashville and is the first revamp of the jerseys since the team changed its name from the Oilers to the Titans in 1999.

The Titans announced plans for new uniforms in the fall.

The season-ticket member event Saturday night featured Eddie George, Strunk and voice of the Titans Mike Keith, who interviewed left tackle Taylor Lewan, safety Kevin Byard, general manager Jon Robinson, defensive coordinator Dean Pees and head coach Mike Vrabel on stage.

Byard, the former MTSU star who was named first-team All-Pro after leading the NFL in interceptions last season, said he wouldn’t set a personal goal for turnovers in 2018. Instead, he said, the goal is to win the Super Bowl.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans just wrapped up practice on Wednesday at Saint Thomas Sports Park.

On Sunday, the team will face the Ravens at Nissan Stadium.

Three quick hits:

Davis on track

Titans receiver Corey Daviswas a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, and is on track to start on Sunday against the Ravens, barring any setbacks.

Davis, who has missed the last five games with a hamstring injury, started in Week 2 against the Jaguars but he hasn’t played since.

He returned to practice on Monday.

“He did some really good things today, especially in our last period, where we have a competitive third down period,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said of Davis. “He did some good things. I am pleased with him.”

Davis caught six passes for 69 yards in the season opener against the Raiders.

He’ll bring an extra dimension to the offense, Mularkey said.

“He is big bodied,” Mularkey said, “and he’s already shown he can make the contested (catches). … He has strong hands, and what he can do down the field. … This will be a good test for him. We’ll get a lot of one-on-one this week, they have their hands all over you. He’s going to have to beat some one-on-one coverage.

“It will be good to see how he executes against these guys.”

Walker update

Titans tight end Delanie Walker did not practice on Wednesday.

Walker continues to recover from an ankle injury he suffered against the Browns.

“It is feeling better,” Walker said. “So that’s a good thing. I am just taking it one day at a time at the moment.”

Walker said he’s been icing the ankle, and trying to stay off it.

“So it was nice to have the bye week this week,” Walker said.

Injuries

In addition to Walker, guard Quinton Spain also missed practice on Wednesday because of a toe injury.

Safety Johnathan Cyprien (hamstring) was a full participant for the Titans.

The Ravens listed 15 players on their initial Injury Report, including quarterback Joe Flacco.

But Flacco was listed as a full participant, and on a conference call he indicated he’s feeling better after suffering a concussion vs. Miami on Thursday night.

“I feel great,” Flacco said. “It’s just part of football. I’m ready to go and I feel good.”

 

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NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Titans (0-0) open the 2017 regular season at home this week against the Oakland Raiders (0-0). Kickoff at Nissan Stadium (capacity 69,143) is scheduled for noon CDT on Sunday, Sept. 10.
This is the 50th all-time meeting between the former American Football League rivals, including regular season and playoff games. In 2016, the Raiders beat the Titans at Nissan Stadium by a final score of 17-10 (Sept. 25). Nine of the previous 49 battles have taken place in Week 1, with the Titans owning a 6-3 advantage. Most recently, the Titans hosted the Raiders on Kickoff Weekend in 2010 and prevailed 38-13.

The Titans are 30-27 all-time in Week 1, including a 5-4 Kickoff Weekend record at Nissan Stadium. They won three consecutive openers on the road from 2013–2015 (at Pittsburgh, at Kansas City and at Tampa Bay) before falling at home to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 last season.
THE BROADCAST

The game will be televised regionally on CBS, including Nashville affiliate WTVF NewsChannel 5. Play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz and analyst Tony Romo will call the action, and Tracy Wolfson will report from the sidelines.

The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will carry the game across the Mid-South with the “Voice of the Titans” Mike Keith, analyst Dave McGinnis, gameday host Rhett Bryan and sideline reporter Jonathan Hutton.

LP PENCIL BOX SCHOOL SUPPLY DRIVE

Fans attending the game are encouraged to participate in the LP PENCIL Box School Supply Drive. LP PENCIL Box, a collaborative non-profit venture between PENCIL Foundation and LP Building Products, offers Nashville Metro teachers the opportunity to acquire school supplies for the city’s most in-need children. Collection locations will be positioned outside of Nissan Stadium to collect donated items such as pencil boxes, paper towels, backpacks, construction paper, notebook paper, art supplies, primary tablets, kleenex and classroom cleaning supplies.
TITANS ENTER YEAR 2 UNDER MULARKEY

Mike Mularkey enters his second full season as head coach after leading the Titans to a 9-7 record in 2016, tripling the win total from 2015. The six-win improvement tied for the most in franchise history (1967 and 1974).

Last year’s squad defeated six teams with winning records—Detroit, Miami, Green Bay, Denver, Kansas City and Houston—to tie the Dallas Cowboys for the most such victories in the NFL. Five of those wins were against playoff teams (all but Denver), which tied the Packers’ total for the most in the league. This year’s team will be tested similarly in the early stages, as four of the Titans’ first five regular season opponents—Oakland, Seattle, Houston and Miami—made the playoffs in 2016.
Quarterback Marcus Mariotahas fully recovered from a right fibula injury that prematurely ended his second NFL campaign. His 2016 passing statistics—3,426 yards and 26 touchdowns with nine interceptions—were among the franchise’s all-time best for a single season, and his touchdown total finished fourth in team history. Steve McNair (100.4 passer rating in 2003) and Warren Moon (96.8 passer rating in 1990) are the only two quarterbacks in franchise history to complete a season with a better passer rating than Mariota’s 95.6 in 2016.
Mariota has several new teammates scheduled to make their debut in Two-Tone Blue this week. General manager Jon Robinson’s free agent acquisitions during his second offseason with the team included cornerback Logan Ryan (from New England), safety Johnathan Cyprien(Jacksonville), nose tackle Sylvester Williams (Denver) and wide receiver Eric Decker (New York Jets). In the 2017 NFL Draft, Robinson used first-round picks on wide receiver Corey Davis (fifth overall) and cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (18th overall) and added wide receiver Taywan Taylor and tight end Jonnu Smith in the third round.

THE RAIDERS

The Raiders are led by Jack Del Rio, who begins his third campaign with the Raiders and his 12th as a head coach in the NFL. In 2016, Del Rio guided his team to a 12-4 record and a Wild Card playoff berth, just missing out on the AFC West crown to the Kansas City Chiefs as a result of a tiebreaker. The 2016 squad included a league-best seven players who were named to the Pro Bowl.

Although quarterback Derek Carr was named to the Pro Bowl, he was unable to participate due to a broken fibula suffered in Week 16—the same day Mariota sustained a similar injury. Carr, now healthy, is the first quarterback in Raiders history to throw for 3,000 yards in each of his first three seasons and has orchestrated 12 career fourth-quarter comebacks/game-winning drives.

 

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. –Two weeks from now the Titans will be gearing up for the team’s first training camp practice.
But first things first.

We have another Titans mailbag that’s here now.

Let’s do this…

Neil Barnard York, England

Question: Hi Jim. I’m very new to American Football, but I’ve just recently caught ‘the fever’.

I am in Nashville from August 7-21. We are coming to the game against the Panthers on the 19th. I was wondering if it would be possible to watch a training session. I’ve seen so many great Football movies like ‘Remember the Titans’ and ‘The Longest Yard’ and I’ve always been fascinated with the way football players train. Would it be possible to come down and watch you train? Maybe get a few autographs after? Kindest regards.

Jim: Hey Neil. The training camp schedule was released this week, and the good news is the team will be practicing during that stretch, including practices with the Panthers on August 16 and 17. The entire schedule can be found at Titans Online. The autograph schedule has not been released yet, but should be soon. Hope you have a great trip!

Len Cooke from Jacksonville, Florida

Question: Hi Jim. The biggest problem I saw with the Titans last year was the glaring lack of pressure from the edge. To date, they haven’t addressed that either through free agency or the draft. My question is why not? Don’t they feel the need to really pressure the quarterback? It would take some pressure off a weak secondary, which they did address a bit during the off season. Thanks.

Jim: Hey Len. The team definitely understands the importance of getting after the QB, and it has two proven pass rushers in Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan. The two combined for 19.5 sacks last season, with Orakpo netting 10.5 and Morgan 9. It was the best for a Titans due since 2007. While the Titans didn’t sign a pass rusher in free agency, the team did draft former TCU linebacker Josh Carraway, who will get a chance to prove himself in camp. Plus, the team is banking on Kevin Dodd making an impact. Dodd was a second-round pick from a year ago, and when he played last year he flashed. Others will be battling in camp, so the cupboard isn’t bare behind the starters.

Nick Stine from Shippensburg, Pennsylvania

Question: Hey Jim. Been a die-hard titans fan since the last couple years of the Campbell and Moon era. My question is with all the additions at the wide receiver position this off-season who will who will be the starting two? Will it be Rishard Matthews and Corey Davis? Where does Eric Decker fit in at? I love the Decker signing. He’s very proven in his career. And do you think all of them will make the team at the end of it All? Also who do you think has had the most noticeable off-season besides Marcus Mariota?

Can’t wait for football season to start!!! TITAN UP!!!

Jim: Hey Nick. Well, a lot to be determined here in training camp. I expect Matthews to start, but who else will be in the 2- and 3-receiver sets remains to be seen. Davis is going to play, and so will Decker. But don’t sleep on Taywan Taylor, the team’s third-round pick who looked great during the offseason. Tajae Sharpe is recovering from foot surgery and hopes to be in the mix as well. As for question 2, another guy with a “noticeable” offseason: Derrick Henry. He looks faster, and in even better shape.

James Gordon from Franklin, Tennessee

Question: Hi Jim, I really look forward to your mailbag as I find both your comments and the comments of others very informative. I’ve been watching highlights of Corey Davis and Adoree’ Jackson as well as Khlafani Muhammad and what I see is a new versatile set of weapons with speed and elusiveness. I see this opening up our offense sideline to sideline and thus preventing teams to load the box. I think this benefits the running backs and will boost our running attack by having more room to run at the second level. Do you think they will use Jackson on offense and if so how will they use him? Thanks again for the mailbags!

Jim: Hey James. Thanks for reading. I think Jackson will be used on offense one day, but not right out of the gate. Coaches want to let him get comfortable on the defensive side of the ball and on special teams first.

Jan Beck from Columbia, Tennessee

Question: Hi Jim. Don’t really have a question this week but would love for you to get word to Eric Decker or his wife, Jessie James Decker. We need a song, like the Eagles have but better, and Jessie would be just the one to write us our song. I mean really, we are The Tennessee Titans in Nashville, TN., Home of Country Music and we need a song!! Can’t wait for this year to get started! Thanks from a Titan Granny!

Jim: Hi Jan. Or do you prefer Titans Granny? I’ll spread the word. Thanks!

Ryan Kennedy from Murfreesboro

Question: Hey Jim, I have heard from several analysts that the Titans have a fairly easy schedule. I look on the upcoming schedule and it looks anything but easy. Oakland, Kansas City, Seattle, Carolina, Pittsburgh, Baltimore all have good QBs and have all been in the playoff recently. Then you have a pretty underrated AFC South with a lot of new pieces in Jacksonville, Watt is back on defense for Houston and we haven’t been able to beat Indy. That all has me thinking that this team is going to be in for a very tough season. I know in the NFL that every team is a tough out, but I’d like your thoughts on their strength of schedule and what you feel like their record should be at the end of the season.

Jim: Hey Ryan. Definitely some tough games on the schedule. But with the NFL, it’s hard to know for sure because things are so different from one year to the next. It never fails: Some teams predicted to be good don’t pan out, while others end up being surprisingly good. I do think the AFC South will be improved, and the six you rolled off should be good as well. The Titans have a road games at Miami, a playoff team last year, and Arizona as well. So the schedule isn’t going to be soft by any stretch.

Jesse Johnson from Woodbury, Tennessee

Question: Hey Jim. My question is do you see the team adding an additional corner when the roster cuts start to happen or do you think you think the guys there will play well and show enough in training camp and the preseason for the front office to feel confident in the players we have? I know there still remains a lot to be seen but in my opinion that’s still the position that has the most questions marks with mostly unproven players.

Jim: Hey Jesse. I think that’s a fair assessment about the cornerback position. A lot remains to be seen in camp here as well. Logan Ryan is proven, but LeShaun Sims and Adoree’ Jackson and Kalan Reed and others will have to prove themselves further. Brice McCain will try and hold on as well, and he’s been pretty good in the slot. I suspect Jon Robinson and Mike Mularkey and the rest of the coaches will watch this position closely in camp. If they’re not satisfied, adding some after cuts or through the waiver system is a possibility I think.

Jeff Fradsham from Crewe, Virginia

Question: Hey Jim. There has been a lot of talk about the upgrades on the offense and defense, but I think the upgrades in special teams will make a difference of a game or two in the standings. I can’t recall the game or who the player was but I seem to recall giving some team a cheap 7 points to start a game last year.

Jim: Hey Jeff. Definitely had some issues early, and the punt return TD allowed against the Texans was a real killer. Things should be better, in part because of the additions of guys like Brynden Trawick, Daren Bates and Eric Weems. All three are regarded as top-notch special teams performers, and they should help with consistency.

Josh Bomar from Knoxville, Tennessee

Question: Hi Jim! I’m just wondering how Derrick Henry has embraced the backup roll. It must be tough to go from the best running back in college football and winning the Heisman Trophy, to a second string RB in the NFL. What can the coaching staff do to ensure his happiness? Will we see a split RB formation at some point? Will Derrick see the field more in 2017? I would hate to see him become frustrated and look to opt out of his 4 year deal. Just an interesting tidbit, Henry finished 12th in the league last year in yards per carry at 4.45 yards per attempt, where Murray finished 14th with 4.39 yards per carry. Food for thought.

Jim: Well Josh, I don’t know that any player “embraces” a back-up role. Everyone wants to play, and start. I do think Derrick understands the situation he’s in. He’s playing behind a Pro Bowler and one of the best backs in the game in DeMarco Murray. But Derrick is busting his rear to put himself in the best position possible to play. And if he performs well when he gets his chances, he’ll help himself get more opportunities.

Randy Hunt from Sacramento, California

Question: Hey Jim! First just want to say thanks for your coverage on the Titans. It’s hard to find coverage on the Titans since moving out to CA. But on to the questions!

Do you believe the Titans will pick up anymore new players before the season starts? I really like some of the players that we could acquire for pennies on the dollar. For example, Sheldon Richardson from the NY Jets. Yes, he does have some attitude problems but so did Haynesworth back in the day. Let’s maximize the roster this year! If TN could steal him for a late round pick which the Jets have been trying to negotiate if would be a deadly combo. Richardson, Casey, and Williams (If he plays to his potential) would be scary!

There was a lot of talk about acquiring Ezekiel Ansah from the Lions. If we could for cheap then let’s do it! But we would have to give up too much for this guy and this whole post is about picking up quality for pennies.

Also, what do you think of Paul Posluszny from the Jags? He had a career year last year and he would provide a much needed depth at the position! Furthermore, he is super cheap! Thanks for the time Jim!

Jim: Hey Randy. Appreciate it. I’m not going to speculate on specific players. But I mentioned this here last week that GM Jon Robinson always seems to be looking for ways to upgrade the roster, and he proved it late last offseason when he claimed Josh Kline off waivers and traded Dorial Green-Beckham for Dennis Kelly. I suspect conversations have already taken place about the potential for moves after analyzing the roster following minicamp. But sometimes the personnel guys and coaches want to see how things play out in camp before jumping. They want to give guys on the roster a chance to succeed, or fail. So we may have to wait a bit for this answer.

Jay Bhatla from Dallas, Texas

Question: Hi Jim. As always, I enjoy reading your mailbag every Saturday morning. This past week, one of your posts caught my eye.

I was born in Houston and grew up watching the Houston Oilers. I have followed the Oilers/Titans for 30 years, despite moving to Dallas during my formative years. One of my fondest memories includes visiting Nashville during the playoffs, and enjoying our Titans defeat Pittsburgh in overtime with the help of some fancy Joe Nedney theatrics. It was truly special sharing that experience with some die-hard Titans fans.

It has been challenging finding other Titans fans in our community outside of my family. I noticed that one of your recent inquiries last week came from a loyal Oilers/Titans fan who resides in Dallas. It would mean a lot to me if you could provide the opportunity to connect with him (and perhaps others in DFW) to catch some games this season. You are welcome to share my contact information with him and other Dallas/Fort Worth Titans fans who would like to show our Titans pride in this region. Thank you for considering this request, Jim, and for making such a positive impact for Titans fans across the nation (and world).

Here is the original post from last weekend’s mailbag:

Albert Gardner from Dallas, Texas

Question: Hey Jim, this is my first time writing but I’ve been reading since day one. I’ve been a long time Oiler/Titans fan since the Run&Shoot days with Warren Moon. I live in the Dallas, TX area so it’s always been a little lonely being a Titans fan around here.

My question is this: Steve McNair has always been my favorite Titan. Imo he was the heart and soul of our team and will be for time on end and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Eddie George, Warren Moon, Bruce Mathews, Jevon Kearse and many more. But with the way Marcus Mariota is progressing, I’m starting to think that I may have a new leader in my chair for greatest Titan. I’m thinking Mariota has a chance to not only be my greatest Titan but also the best QB in the NFL for a long time. What do you think Jim? Are you starting to get that same feeling?

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Titans veteran receiver Harry Douglas has played in 116 games over the past nine NFL seasons. He’s played alongside some great receivers. Douglas said he’s been impressed with Titans rookies Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans receiver Harry Douglas has seen plenty in his NFL career.

Douglas, heading into his 10th season, has played alongside some of the game’s greats at the receiver position, from Julio Jones in Atlanta to a future Hall of Famer in Andre Johnson, his teammate last season in Tennessee.
At this point, it’s impossible for him to say what the Titans have in draft picks Corey Davisand Taywan Taylor. While the two rookies have completed their first round of OTAs and a minicamp, they haven’t yet put on the pads for training camp.

Douglas, however, has an early hunch.

“Those two are special, man,” Douglas said. “I love their work ethic. I love how they play the game of football, and they are going to do big things for this football team.

“I can tell already they are going to be special. They listen, they go hard, and they both make plays. So it is good when you have young guys who can come in and do those things.”

Douglas, who entered the league in 2008 and has played in 116 games since, said he wants to help the young receivers any way possible. He gave them his phone number back in May.

Coach Mike Mularkey recently praised Douglas for his leadership skills.

“He’s been great,’’ Taylor said of Douglas.

“A big help,’’ added Davis.
“I just told them, whenever they need help, don’t hesitate to ask me,’’ Douglas said. “That’s why I am here. They can ask me about anything, hit me up with anything and talk to me.”

Davis, the fifth overall pick of the NFL Draft out of Western Michigan, wrapped up this month’s minicamp with momentum. He looked 100 percent in his return from an ankle injury, and made some impressive plays.

Taylor, a third-round pick from Western Kentucky, was consistent throughout the offseason.

Next up is training camp.

Douglas expects them to keep the momentum going.

“The way those guys work, their attention to detail, the effort they put out, their play-making ability,’’ Douglas said, “I have no doubt, they are going to be good. We drafted two great ones.”