Last month we highlighted the Tennessee Titans’ top 5 free agent acquisitions on the current roster as free agency was set to begin.
With the draft just over two weeks away, today we’ll count down the top 5 draft picks on the current roster.
5. Jack Conklin – RTEmbed from Getty Images
Tennessee moved up in the first round of the 2016 draft to grab Conklin (Michigan State) with the 8th overall pick. It was general manager Jon Robinson’s first pick at the helm, and boy did he look like a genius by season’s end. An injury forced Conklin into the starting lineup for the season opener, and he responded by not allowing a sack until week 11. Conklin was named a First-team All Pro his rookie season, and has already established himself as one of the bright young talents at right tackle after just two seasons.
4. Kevin Byard – SEmbed from Getty Images
Robinson struck gold again when he selected Kevin Byard (Middle Tennessee State University) in the third round of the 2016 draft. While Byard didn’t see significant minutes until late in his rookie season, he still opened eyes by finishing third on the team in tackles. After being named a starter ahead of the 2017 season, Byard took full advantage of his increased opportunities to the tune of a league-high 10 turnovers accounted for…earning him Pro Bowl and First-team All Pro honors last season. Like Conklin, Byard also established himself as one of the bright young talents in the league at his position.
3. Marcus Mariota – QBEmbed from Getty Images
Yes, third on this list. Remember…this is the top 5 players overall, not the 5 most important players to the franchise. Mariota has yet to complete a full 16 game regular season, and has yet to earn any sort of post season honor. But make no mistake about it, the 2nd overall pick of the 2015 draft (Oregon) is the straw that stirs the Titans’ drink. Since his arrival the team has improved each season, and his playoff-clinching performance against Jacksonville coupled with his heroic effort in Tennessee’s historic comeback victory over Kansas City in the wild card round of last year’s playoffs shows that he has the skill and moxy to be a franchise qb. But if the Titans want to hoist that Lombardi trophy, then Mariota will need to move up this list sooner than later.
2. Taylor Lewan – LTEmbed from Getty Images
The brash, talkative, confident Titans team you see today started with the arrival of Lewan. He had an up and down rookie season after being selected 11th overall by Tennessee in 2014 (Michigan), but continued to work and mature into the two-time Pro Bowler that you see today. Lewan is physical (sometimes too physical), and the unquestioned leader of a much-improved offensive line. He’s a team-first player and a leader in the locker room. Lewan is one of the best left tackles in all of football, and is in line for a huge and well-deserved payday. If he remains healthy then Lewan’s career has a very realistic chance to end in Canton, Ohio…home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
1. Jurrell Casey – DEEmbed from Getty Images
Quiet as kept, defensive end Jurrell Casey has been the most consistent and productive player drafted by the Titans (2011, 3rd round, USC). His longevity is a credit to his offseason conditioning, and his ability to still wreak havoc on opposing offenses is a credit to his passion and commitment. Casey earned Pro Bowl honors in each of his last three seasons, a record among all of the Titans’ draftees. But more importantly, Casey stuck with the team through the rough years, opting to sign extensions in Tennessee when he could have easily bolted for greener pastures. Casey’s leap of faith was rewarded with his first playoff appearance last season, and he will be counted on once again to play an integral role if the Titans are to make a return trip to the post season this year.