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Past Two Draft Classes Shaping Up Well for Titans

Posted Aug 23, 2017

Titans general manager Jon Robinson has two draft classes under his belt, and already both classes are shaping up as solid ones, with key contributors. Today, Titans Online takes a look at the players from the 2016 and 2017 draft classes…

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans general manager Jon Robinson has two draft classes under his belt, and already both classes are shaping up as solid ones, with key contributors.

Let’s take a quick look at the draft classes halfway through the preseason while looking ahead:

2016

Tackle Jack Conklin (1st round, 8th overall)

The lowdown: Conklin was named All-Pro following his rookie season on an offensive line regarded as one of the best in the league. Heading into year two, he should be even better.

Linebacker Kevin Dodd (2nd round, 33rd overall)

The lowdown: A foot injury slowed Dodd during his rookie season, and eventually forced the team to shut him down. Two surgeries later he’s on the comeback trail, and has shown flashes during the first two preseason games.

Defensive lineman Austin Johnson (2nd round, 43rd overall)

The lowdown: Johnson started at defensive end against the Panthers, and has made solid improvement. He should be a key contributor in the rotation on the defensive line this fall.

Running back Derrick Henry (2nd round, 45th overall)

The lowdown: On plenty of other teams, Henry would be a starter. With the Titans, he turned in a productive rookie season while playing behind one of the NFL’s best backs in DeMarco Murray. He’s looked great this offseason, and should make an impact this fall.

Safety Kevin Byard (3rd round, 64th overall)

The lowdown: He’s one of the team’s bright young stars. Byard will be a regular starter this fall after playing in all 16 games during his rookie season. He’s been a regular playmaker in practices, and is on the verge of a breakout season.

Receiver Tajae Sharpe (5th round, 140th overall)

The lowdown: Became one of four rookies in the “Titans era” to tally at least 500 receiving yards last year. He returned to practice on Monday after missing time with a foot injury, and is expected to be a contributor this fall on an upgraded receiving corps. 

Cornerback LeShaun Sims (5th round, 157th overall)

The lowdown: Probably one of the team’s most underrated players. Sims was named one of the team’s Offseason Performers of the Year, and he’s worked with the starters since Day 1 of training camp.

Guard Sebastian Tretola (6th round, 193rd overall)

The lowdown: He sabotaged himself with off-field issues, and was waived prior to training camp.

Linebacker Aaron Wallace (7th round, 222nd overall)

The lowdown: Wallace has been one of the team’s most productive players this preseason, with 1.5 sacks, eight tackles and two tackles for a loss. His versatility – from playing inside, outside and on special teams -- makes him even more valuable.

Cornerback Kalan Reed (7th round, 253rd overall)

The lowdown: Mr. Irrelevant in the 2016 NFL Draft has been anything but that for the Titans. Pro Football Focus has Reed listed as one of the highest-graded players in the preseason. He’s proven his versatility in practices and games.

2017

Receiver Corey Davis (1st round, 5th overall)

The lowdown: A hamstring injury halted his momentum, but Davis showed off his enormous potential during OTAs and the first week of camp. He was lined up as a starter before the injury, and should reclaim that spot when he’s healthy.

Cornerback/returner Adoree Jackson (1st round, 18th overall)

The lowdown: Jackson has shown his explosiveness in practices and in games in both the defense, and on special teams. He’s currently working with the second-team behind a pair of more experienced players, but he’s been second to no one in the return game.

Receiver Taywan Taylor (3rd round, 72nd overall)

The lowdown: Taylor was one of the stars of the offseason, and that carried over into training camp and preseason games. Taylor leads the team in receptions and receiving yards through two preseason games. It’s going to be tough to keep him off the field.

Tight end Jonnu Smith (3rd round, 100th overall)

The lowdown: Smith is coming off an impressive showing against the Panthers, and he’s been solid in practices. He’s going to play this fall behind Pro Bowler Delanie Walker.

Linebacker Jayon Brown (5th round, 155th overall)

The lowdown: Talk about a fast riser. Brown has impressed those around him with his speed and playmaking ability. He’s going to be on the field a lot this fall, and he’s going to make plays.

Guard Corey Levin (6th round, 217th overall)

The lowdown: The Titans have worked him at center and guard, and he’s made steady improvement. Coaches like his versatility in the middle.

Linebacker Josh Carraway (7th round, 227th overall)

The lowdown: After a slow start during the offseason, Carraway has flashed more in recent weeks, displaying some of the pass-rushing skills that prompted the Titans to draft him. But the emergence of Wallace and others has him on the bubble.

Tackle Brad Seaton (7th round, 236th overall)

The lowdown: Coaches like his size and strength, but he’s still raw. Seaton is improving, but he’s still a work in progress.

Running back Khalfani Muhammad (7th round, 241st overall)

The lowdown: Muhammad has had his moments in August, but he’s going to need to make more explosive plays.