The Titans season ended the other night with a heartbreaking 33-17 loss to the red-hot Indianapolis Colts. So between all the disappointment and frustration, it’s now time that we look forward to next season and the excitement a new offseason brings. To find out what the team needs in the future, we must look into the past. This past season was filled with ups and downs, twist and turns, but the one thing that stayed consistent was the Titans inconsistency, one week we are beating up on the defending super bowl champs and then the next we are getting crushed by the Buffalo Bills. Every week we either leaned on Mariota to score points to keep us in the game, or we were watching the defense put up stop after stop to keep us in games because of a lackluster offensive performance, that’s not a formula for success. Almost every successful team has a balance of offense and defense, but the Titans definitely didn’t have that this season. They were able to go out and put up 34 on the Patriots, and just a few weeks before that, they couldn’t even score a single touchdown against Buffalo. The defense was a whole nother story, the Titans defense was holding teams to under 19 points a game and had a Top 6 passing defense, they were a dominant force week in and week out.
The obvious way to go is to spend heavy on the offense this season, with the defense being as young as they are (Average age is 25 for all Starters) the offensive side of the ball needs some major upgrading. Currently, the Titans have the 27th ranked receiving corps in the NFL with only one real reliable wide receiver, Corey Davis. The Titans need to address the Receiver position and get another reliable target to go along with Davis. The Titans do have the slot position filled nicely with Taiwan Taylor and Tajae Sharpe but they don’t currently have a number 2 guy that can come down with the 50/50 catches and be a real red zone threat. The Titans could fill that need with a few different options. You have Free Agency, the Titans should pick up one of these 3 players; Randall Cobb, Jordan Matthews or Kelvin Benjamin. Any of the 3 players would give the Titans a huge boost to the passing offense. Cobb is a reliable receiver with great hands that line up anywhere on the field, Kelvin Benjamin (if used correctly) can be a huge asset to the team in the red zone and on tough contested catches which is what the Titans need right now, and Jordan Matthews is a mix of both of these players, he can catch a contested pass using his 6-3 frame and can also stretch the field a bit with his 4.46 speed. Another solution is the NFL draft, JJ Arcega-Whiteside is my number one target for the Titans in the draft. He is 6-3 and has good speed, he leads all FBS Wide Receivers with a 61.5% Deep Catch Rate and also caught 14 touchdowns this season a Stanford. Whiteside gives the Titans everything they are looking for in a Wideout. Another Receiver I can see the Titans targeting later in the draft is Hakeem Butler, he is 6-6 and has a very impressive catch radius and can move fairly quickly for a big receiver. Butler put up some very impressive numbers at Iowa State, pulling in 1300 yards and 9 touchdowns this season. The other weak link in the Titans offense this season was the interior line play, specifically the guard play. Quinton Spain and Josh Kline didn’t play well for most of the season and in the next couple of years, they will need to be replaced. With Spain most likely leaving in Free Agency the Titans need a new right guard, so let’s look at a few options for them. A good decision would be to bring back Chance Warmack, as some of you may now the Titans drafted Warmack back in 2013 with the 10th overall selection out of Alabama, he ended up not working out and he got signed Philly for a few years. He might be able to come back and fill in a Gaurd for a few seasons before we find a younger replacement in a few years. Another player the Titans should take a look at is AJ Cann. I liked Cann a lot coming out of South Carolina, he is a solid guard with good quick feet. He was drafted in 2015 by the Jaguars in the 3rd round, I think he could come in and start right away for the Titans. Now on defense, the Titans are losing Brian Orakpo and possibly Derek Morgan so they will need to acquire a pass rusher in Free Agency or maybe even the draft. The Titans should go after either Shane Ray or Aaron Lynch in free agency this offseason. Both are relentless pass rushers and are proven “NFL’ers” that can get to the quarterback. If you add one of those two with Harold Landey and Shareef Finch, you would definitely have a dynamic pass-rushing trio. One guy I would like to see the Titans to go after in the draft is “sack master” Sutton Smith out of NIU. He leads the Nation with 15 sacks and has had 30 sacks in his past three seasons combined. He also has forced 7 fumbles in his career, he is a speedy pass rusher that can no doubt make a spot for himself on the Titans roster if they draft him. The last position the Titans could benefit from signing is a decent backup Quarterback. Over the past few seasons when Mariota has gone down the Titans have to throw in their backup quarterback who never seems perform up to expectations. The Titans need to bring in someone who can pick up where Mariorta left off if needed. I think RGIII, Brett Hundley or Ryan Fitzpatrick would all be great backups to Mariota. The Titans need a QB who can challenge Mariota to step up and play to his potential while also being able to step in when needed.