Here are grades for the Tennessee Titans‘ eight picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.
CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech: B+
- Pick: First round, No. 22 overall
- Dane Brugler ranking: 30
Farley on the idea that he won’t be ready for Training Camp: “I rebuke that in the name of Jesus.” #Titans
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) April 30, 2021
Farley was widely regarded as a top-ten prospect before news of his two back surgeries became widely known.
He’s a super talented player—a true shutdown cornerback with length, fluidity and elite speed. Because of his back, though, there’s a chance he doesn’t play at the start of his rookie season.
Farley denied that possibility in his introductory press conference, saying “I rebuke that in the name of Jesus.” But, as of now, there are more questions than answers about his health status.
If he plays early and often, this grade would turn to an A+.
OT Dillon Radunz, North Dakota State: B+
- Pick: Second round, No. 53 overall
- Brugler ranking: 74
It’s not surprising that general manager Jon Robinson wanted a starting-caliber tackle, considering the Titans’ other options at right tackle were mostly untested veterans Kendall Lamm and Ty Sambrailo.
Radunz has a real shot to be the Titans’ day-one starter at RT in 2021. He is, in effect, their Isaiah Wilson do-over.
LB Monty Rice, Georgia: C+
- Pick: Third round, No. 92 overall
- Brugler ranking: Fourth round
The Titans did need a depth piece at inside linebacker heading into the draft, but the third round was probably a little too soon for them to fill it.
Productive Clemson slot receiver Amari Rodgers was still on the board, and he probably would have been the better pick.
Still, Rice has impressive speed, and he’s a hard hitter. He’ll give LB Rashaan Evans some competition, and he’ll fight with LB David Long for positioning on the Titans’ depth chart.
CB Elijah Molden, Washington: A-
- Pick: Third round, No. 100 overall
- Brugler ranking: 45
By all accounts, Molden was one of the draft’s biggest steals.
He’s a talented slot cornerback and safety who had impressive production at Washington.
While he may not start for the Titans right away, he will undoubtedly play a key role for the team in 2021, and it won’t be long before he works his way into the starting lineup.
WR Dez Fitzpatrick, Lousiville: C+
- Pick: Fourth round, No. 109 overall
- Brugler ranking: 6th-7th round
Words can’t begin to describe how desperate the Titans were for a wide receiver entering the third day of the draft, and it showed with how quickly they traded up.
The Titans sent the Panthers a fifth and a seventh-rounder to move up in the fourth round for the pick they used on Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick is the first receiver Robinson has drafted who didn’t at least have two 1,000-yard seasons in college; he failed to meet that mark despite being a four-year starter at Louisville.
While Fitzpatrick will give the titans a body at receiver, he may not give them a ton of value. He can play both inside and outside, though, which is important.
OLB Rashad Weaver, Pittsburgh: A-
- Pick: Fourth round, No. 126 overall
- Brugler ranking: 94
After two years of OLB Harold Landry playing entirely too many snaps, the Titans have finally given him a pair of rushing mates who can give him some relief: Bud Dupree in free agency and Weaver during the draft.
Weaver recorded 7.5 sacks in just nine games his final season at Pittsburgh. Robinson said he’s a “high-motor” player, and he’ll really help the Titans in 2021.
WR Racey McMath, LSU: B+
- Pick: Sixth round, No. 205 overall
- Brugler ranking: 7th round-priority free agent
McMath wasn’t much of a receiver in college, but he was an excellent special teams player.
It’s no surprise McMath was so effective as a gunner: his towering 6-foot-2 frame and sub-4.4 speed make him an ideal player to chase down punt and kick returners.
That special teams prowess gives him a real shot to make the Titans’ final 53-man roster out of Training Camp in 2021.
S Brady Breeze, Oregon: B+
- Pick: Sixth round, No. 215 overall
- Brugler ranking: Seventh round
Following the Titans’ offseason purge of their secondary, in which the team released veteran starters Malcolm Butler, Adoree’ Jackson and Kenny Vaccaro, their safety depth became somewhat shaky.
Enter Breeze, a ball magnet and special teams phenom at Oregon.
He may not be a major contributor early in his career, but he’s got the intellect and instincts to eventually become a player the Titans’ defense relies on in some way.
Cover image: Chris Hanew / USA Today