It’s almost here, people. The NFL season is only 84 days away. Seems like a while away but, it’ll be here before you know it.
Is this really up for debate? It’s Marcus Mariota. In his first two seasons, Mariota has 49 touchdowns, 19 interceptions, a 62% completion percentage and a passer rating of 93.8. Not bad, right? Not bad at all, actually. Mariota is bouncing back off of a season-ending leg injury in which he already looks 100%. But Head Coach Mike Mularkey is not rushing anything. He’ll be heading back to Hawaii and Oregon to work on his cutting. Also, Mariota is STILL undefeated in the red zone with 33 touchdowns and zero turnovers in his two years. That’s absurd. With a better receiving core and another year under his belt, expect “The Flyin’ Hawaiin” to have an MVP-like season.
Marcus Mariota, Matt Cassell
Jon Robinson won the 2016 offseason when he acquired DeMarco Murray in exchange for a pair of socks and pack of gum. A bargain. He then doubled up and grabbed the Heisman Trophy winner, Derrick Henry, in the 2nd Round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Talk about a backfield. Murray led the AFC in rushing with 1,287 yards along with 9 touchdowns. Henry was not taking the starting role, but still had a solid rookie year with 490 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Titans drafted Cal’s Khalfani Muhammad in the 7th Round to add some lightning to the thunderous backfield. Murray will be the guy again, but expect Henry to have a much bigger role in the 2017 offense. Jalston “Nudie” Fowler will be the starting fullback for his third consecutive year.
DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry, Khalfani Muhammad, Jalston Fowler
The Titans have not had a true number one receiver since…..probably….what, Nate Washington? And that’s not saying much. Wide receivers have been a weak spot for the Titans for years. Never cashing in on the big free agent and never grabbing a top notch prospect in the draft. Well, that changed.
With the fifth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Titans grabbed the best wide receiver in Corey Davis. Davis instantly boosts the passing game with his quick feet, sharp routes and the ability to go get the ball. Exactly what the Titans needed. He’ll play on the opposite side of Rishard Matthews, who led the team in yards, receptions and touchdowns last season. Jon Robinson wasn’t done yet. He then went and got the best slot receiver in the draft in Western Kentucky’s Taywan Taylor. Taylor will find his way on the field due to his ability to run after the catch and make defenders miss. He’ll have to beat out second year-vet Tajaé Sharpe, though. Sharpé will rotate with Taylor for the slot spot, most likely. Harry Douglas returns for year 3 with the team and provides veteran leadership. His old Falcon teammate, Eric Weems was signed in March to fill a return man role. Jonathan Krause and Tré McBride will be quality practice squad players.
Rishard Matthews, Corey Davis, Tajaé Sharpe, Taywan Taylor, Harry Douglas, Eric Weems
Mike Mularkey loves using his tight ends and Marcus Mariota loves throwing to them. A two tight end set is what the Titans run. A schematically well-ran blocking scheme works in this offense with the tight ends. Especially with two-time Pro Bowler, Delanie Walker. Walker has been nothing but spectacular since landing with the Titans in 2013. Racking up 282 catches, 3,349 yards and 23 touchdowns in that span.
Long time veteran Anthony Fasano headed back to Miami in the offseason which emptied a hole on the offense. In the 3rd Round of the draft, the Titans took a 6’3, 248 pound machine in Jonnu Smith. Smith will most likely start from day one as he is a tight end who can do it all offensively. Phillip Supernaw and Jace Amaro will battle for the third spot.
Delanie Walker, Jonnu Smith, Phillip Supernaw, Jace Amaro
Pro Football Focus has the Titans offensive line ranked first in the league. Would you disagree?
This line truly was without weakness all season long. Paving the way with 2,180 rushing yards as a team as well as no member of the offensive line surrendering more than three sacks on the season. Two of the top six tackles in the NFL are on this line in Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin. Conklin, a rookie, earned All-Pro honors in his first year with the team. Lewan continues to improve on and off the field as he is one of the locker room leaders, but wore down as the year went on with unnecessary penalties.
One of Jon Robinson’s best offseason moves a year ago was getting center Ben Jones. Jones ranked as the 7th best center according to PFF. After Byron Bell went down early, Josh Kline stepped in and proved he was a starting guard. Jon Robinson made another bold move as he shipped wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham to Philadelphia in exchange for versatile tackle Dennis Kelly. Kelly had significant playing time. The Titans drafted two lineman in guard Corey Levin and big 6’8″ tackle Brad Seaton. This is one of the league’s best and the productivity should continue into next season.
Who doesn’t love this beer chugging, cat fishing loving group of goofballs?
Taylor Lewan, Josh Kline, Ben Jones, Quinton Spain, Jack Conklin, Brad Seaton, Corey Levin, Dennis Kelly