How Did Titans Grade Out in NFL Draft?

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. –** The draft grades are rolling in for the 2018 NFL Draft.

So, how did the Titans fare?

Let’s take a look:


Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News – A

What Iyer said:

Draft picks: ILB Rashaan Evans (Alabama), OLB Harold Landry, III (Boston College), S Dane Cruikshank (Arizona), QB Luke Falk (Washington State).

Here's to you again, Jon Robinson, one of the brightest young GMs in the game. Evans and Landry can be second-level studs for linebacker-turned-head coach Mike Vrabel, and Dean Pess gets some Ravens-like linebackers. Cruikshank can push for the starting strong safety spot soon. Falk is the ideal athletic developmental backup for Marcus Mariota under Matt LaFleur.


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Chad Reuter, NFL.com – A**

What Reuter said:

Tennessee Titans
Draft picks: Alabama LB Rashaan Evans (No. 22 overall), Boston College edge rusher Harold Landry (No. 41 overall), Arizona S Dane Cruiksank (No. 152 overall), Washington State QB Luke Falk (No. 199 overall).
Day 1 grade: A
Day 2 grade: A
Day 3 grade: A
Overall grade: A
The skinny: The Titans really needed an inside linebacker after the departure of Avery Williamson, so trading up for Evans made sense. They had to move down two rounds (giving up a fourth-rounder and picking up a sixth-rounder) to get ahead of the Patriots to secure Evans, but that's reasonable for an instant starter who can do a lot on the field. I can't knock the Titans for sending the Raiders a third-round pick to go get Landry. He will take over for Derrick Morgan or Brian Orakpo sooner than later. They'll find depth at other positions on Saturday and after the draft. Cruikshank has the length and agility play as a press corner or safety, so he's a good value in the fifth round. With Blaine Gabbert as the current backup, finding Falk available in the sixth round was a major bonus.


Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com – B

What Rang said:

Put simply, no team did more with less than Tennessee which is why I'm giving them a solid grade despite using only four selections. The Titans haven't necessarily been flashy while drafting under general manager Jon Robinson but one of the tougher, more physical teams in the AFC got even more so Thursday with the addition of blue-collar (and still ascending) linebacker Rashaan Evans, who fills a key need with the ability to drop, rush and, of course, be the enforcer against the run you would expect from a linebacker from Alabama. Edge rusher Harold Landry slid due to concerns that he will struggle to duplicate his college production against the longer, stronger tackles he will face in the NFL but his burst and bend off the edge are exciting. Similarly, Dane Cruikshank comes with questions about his ultimate NFL position, but he possesses the physicality to make the switch to safety and eased concerns about his athleticism in workouts. Finally, after a slip to the sixth round, the Titans could prove an ideal landing spot for Washington State quarterback Luke Falk. While he lacks ideal arm strength, Falk throws with terrific accuracy and anticipation - traits that can take advantage of the one-on-one matchups that come with defenses focusing on Tennessee's powerful running game. Furthermore, with the injury-prone Marcus Mariota and journeyman Blaine Gabbert ahead of him, Falk has a good chance to make the roster as the 199th overall pick.


ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. – B-minus

What Kiper said:

Top needs: Linebacker, guard, tight end

Credit GM Jon Robinson and the Titans for being aggressive. They traded up for all three of their top picks. The problem is that depleted their capital for the rest of the draft, and this team isn't without holes. Yes, Tennessee made the playoffs (and won a game), but I see a depth chart with aging edge defenders and issues at guard, tight end, inside linebacker and wide receiver. So the Titans ended up with only first- and second-round picks, then didn't have another selection again until the fifth round. They better hit on who they moved up for. As for the players they got with those trades, I do see the fits. The Titans moved up ahead of 3-4 teams Pittsburgh and New England for Rashaan Evans (pick 22), who will fill Avery Williamson’s spot at inside linebacker. Evans is an every-down player who can run with tight ends and backs, and he's a great fit for Tennessee's defense. I actually had pass-rusher Harold Landry to the Titans in the first round in my two-round mock, and they moved up to No. 41 to get him in the second round. He's the best true 3-4 edge rusher in this class. I love the symmetry of former Patriot Mike Vrabel taking a quarterback with the 199th pick -- the same spot in which New England grabbed the greatest quarterback of all time. And Luke Falk actually looks up to Tom Brady and patterns his game after him. Falk isn't a great athlete, and he doesn't have the strongest arm, but that's what teams said about Brady in 1999. So, no, I don't think Falk is the next Brady, but he can be a solid NFL backup. Again, the aggressive day from Robinson's front office is noted. With only four picks, the Titans are going to have to hit on a few undrafted free agents, too.


Dan Kadar, Super Bowl Nation – B

What Kadar said:

*The Titans jumped ahead of the New England Patriots in the first to take Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans. That alone earned head Titans head coach Mike Vrabel some credit. Evans played a lot on the outside at Alabama and has the physicality to play the middle. *

Tennessee then jumped up to the 41st pick in the second round to take Boston College edge rusher Harold Landry. From a draft value standpoint, getting him was a great selection. However, the pick cost of Nos. 57 and 89 was high, and there are concerns about his health. But if’s healthy, the Titans have a rebuilt linebacker unit. Fifth-round pick Dane Cruikshank gives Tennessee a versatile defensive back who can play safety and cornerback.



Thor Nystrom, Rotoworld – A-minus

What Nystrom said:

1.22 (19) LB Rashaan Evans (Alabama)

2.41 (8) DE Harold Landry (Boston College)

5.152 (132) S Dane Cruikshank (Arizona)

6.199 (150) QB Luke Falk (Washington State)

In one sentence: The Titans only had four picks, but boy did they do well with them... Landry at 2.41 is insane value.



Peter King, SI.com – B-minus

What King said:

It wasn’t a heavy draft for Tennessee, but the first two picks were, in the simplest form, what a draft is all about: finding players to fill holes. Rashaan Evans, an attacker who played in a multi-faceted scheme at Alabama, fills the one left by departed free agent Avery Williamson (Jets). A lot will be asked of him in Mike Vrabel and defensive coordinator Dean Pees’s system—at least he’ll be operating alongside a steady veteran like Wesley Woodyard.

In the second round, Tennessee traded up to get late first-round projected edge rusher Harold Landry, who they don’t badly need right now but will after this season, given that Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan are both in the final years of their contracts. 2016 second-rounder Kevin Dodd has not developed because he fits a classic 4-3, not a flexible 3-4 like Tennessee ran under Dick LeBeau and will run in a slightly different way under first-time head coach Mike Vrabel. Tennessee’s grade is bumped down one notch to account for having to trade for the needed edge rusher, but overall, this is a very good move.


Pete Prisco, CBS Sports – C-plus

What Prisco said:

I liked their pick of Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans in the first round. He will be a three-down player on their defense, which they needed. Second-round pass rusher Harold Landry will be great value if he can play like he did in 2016. Taking quarterback Luke Falk in the sixth round could prove to pay off for a long-term backup to Marcus Mariota.


Nate Davis, USA Today – B-minus.

What Davis said:

They're banking that quality trumps quantity given trades reduced them to a four-player bounty. Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry could herald the passing of the torch in the linebacking corps. They better. Unwarranted Tom Brady comparisons have been endlessly attached to sixth-round QB Luke Falk, who was naturally pick 199th (just like Brady in 2000). It would be a win if Falk merely pans out as a reliable backup to Marcus Mariota.


Pro Football Focus – Good.

What PFF said:

1 (22) Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama, 85.6
2 (41) Harold Landry, Edge, Boston College, 83.9
5 (152) Dane Cruikshank, DB, Arizona, 81.9
6 (199) Luke Falk, QB, Washington State, 78.1

Day 1: Tennessee moved up to snag Rashaan Evans who fills a need in the middle of the field. After starting his career at Alabama as an explosive and productive edge rusher, Evans played more of a traditional linebacker role the last two seasons where he put the pass-rushing to good use as a blitzer while showing well in the run game. The question mark for Evans is in coverage where his season-best grade came last year at 76.6, but he can become a movable chess piece in passing situations where his pass-rushing prowess will be a nightmare if matched up on opposing running backs.

Day 2: The Titans moved up to make one of the best value picks in the draft, perhaps securing the best pass-rusher off the edge in Harold Landry. His 2017 season was disappointing as his production dipped and he battled injury, but he was outstanding in 2016, posting an 89.0 pass-rush grade, the best single-season mark from anyPower-5 edge defender in this class. Landry also fits the mold with regard to athleticism, burst, and bend off the edge.

Day 3: Dane Cruikshank is a good athlete who ranked second in the draft class with a run-stop percentage of 6.2 last season. Luke Falk has solid backup potential as he doesn’t have a great arm, but he’s capable of throwing with accuracy and touch in the short and intermediate game. He’s coming off the worst season of his career as he ranked 33rd in the draft class in big-time throw percentage and 27th at avoiding turnover-worthy plays.


Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post -- B

What Cannizzaro’s said:

They went right after needs, landing Alabama LB Rashaan Evans in the first round and Boston College DE Harold Landry in the second.


The Score – B

What The Score said:

1

LB Rashaan Evans

2

EDGE Harold Landry

5

DB Dane Cruikshank

6

QB Luke Falk

The Titans showed up to the draft with six picks in hand, made a series of small trades, and came away with a solid addition with every selection. Of course, the problem with that is they only chose four players. Evans and Landry address the Titans' biggest need as pass-rushers, while Cruikshank will at least be a valuable special teamer, and Falk can be a formidable backup. * *


Conor Dorney, Fansided – B-plus

What Dorney said:

*Grade: B *

Best pick: Rashaan Evans (LB, Alabama)

Questionable pick: Dane Cruikshank (S, Arizona)

Sleeper pick: Harold Landry (EDGE, Boston College)

Linebacker was one of the most pressing needs for the Titans heading into the 2018 Draft and they ensured they landed their top player by trading up to get Alabama’s Rashaan Evans. With Evans likely to be off the board in the next several picks, Tennessee was able to get a player who should make an immediate impact from day one.

Had Harold Landry entered the draft last year, he very well could have been a top-15 pick. After a down 2017 season, however, the Titans were able to land him with the ninth pick in the second round. Landry is a bit undersized but possesses outstanding athleticism and ability to bend the edge that could make him a top pass rushing threat in the NFL. Landry’s length and short-area quickness should help to vault a Titans pass rush that already finished among the top five in the entire league last season.

With only four selections in the draft, the Titans did a good job of maximizing their value, and they’ve made it clear that they intend to build the type of outstanding defense to help Marcus Mariota in Mike Vrabel’s first year as head coach.


Walter Cherepinksy, Walter Football – A**

What Cherepinsky said:

*Goals Entering the 2018 NFL Draft: The Titans don't have very many needs, so they can afford to select the best player available. Three areas that should be focused on are edge rusher, linebacker and receiver, but Tennessee can otherwise just focus on adding talent. *

  • 2018 NFL Draft Accomplishments: There were four first-round off-LOS linebackers in this class - Roquan Smith, Tremaine Edmunds, Leighton Vander Esch, Rashaan Evans - so when the first three were taken off the board, the Titans correctly realized that they had to trade up to get one in the wake of Avery Williamson's departure. They moved up three spots to secure Evans, leaping the Patriots, who could have snatched him off the board. This was a great decision; having talented off-LOS linebackers is extremely important in today's NFL, given the intricacies in the passing game. For example, we all saw what happened to Pittsburgh's defense once it lost Ryan Shazier. The Cowboys, Panthers, Bears and Bengals have all seen similar declines without Sean Lee, Luke Kuechly, Danny Trevathan and Vontaze Burfict, respectively. *
  • Getting Evans was a win, as was securing Harold Landry in the second round. The Titans once again moved up, recognizing that Landry was a steal at No. 41 overall, given that Landry easily could've been chosen in the 20s. Had the Titans taken Landry at No. 25, I would've given that a B grade. *
  • Tennessee made just two other picks, both of which were solid. Dane Cruikshank will provide some needed depth in the secondary, while Luke Falk was a solid bargain at No. 199 overall. The Titans had just four overall selections because of all the trades they conducted, but they came away with two players who will make a big impact as rookies, as well as two prospects who should serve as solid backups despite being chosen after the 150th-overall pick. General manager Jon Robinson did a great job in the 2018 NFL Draft.*

Andy Benoit, SI.com --  B-minus**

What Benoit said: *Draft picks: Alabama LB Rashaan Evans (No. 22), Boston College EDGE Harold Landry (No. 41), Arizona S Dane Cruikshank (No. 152), Washington State QB Luke Falk (No. 199). ​ *

It wasn’t a heavy draft for Tennessee, but the first two picks were, in the simplest form, what a draft is all about: finding players to fill holes. Rashaan Evans, an attacker who played in a multi-faceted scheme at Alabama, fills the one left by departed free agent Avery Williamson (Jets). A lot will be asked of him in Mike Vrabel and defensive coordinator Dean Pees’s system—at least he’ll be operating alongside a steady veteran like Wesley Woodyard.

In the second round, Tennessee traded up to get late first-round projected edge rusher Harold Landry, who they don’t badly need right now but will after this season, given that Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan are both in the final years of their contracts. 2016 second-rounder Kevin Dodd has not developed because he fits a classic 4-3, not a flexible 3-4 like Tennessee ran under Dick LeBeau and will run in a slightly different way under first-time head coach Mike Vrabel. Tennessee’s grade is bumped down one notch to account for having to trade for the needed edge rusher, but overall, this is a very good move.


Mark Maske, Washington Post – B**

What Maske said:

Tennessee Titans: B

Analysis: There is much to like about this draft class for Tennessee. The Titans focused on their defense and helped it considerably by taking LB Rashaan Evans in the first round and pass rusher Harold Landry in Round 2. The issue is whether an early pick should have been used to address the offensive line.


Ian Wharton, Bleacher Report – A-minus**

What Wharton said:

Tennessee Titans:

Draft Picks:

Alabama LB Rashaan Evans (No. 22 overall), Boston College edge-rusher Harold Landry (No. 41 overall), Arizona S Dane Cruikshank (No. 152 overall), Washington State QB Luke Falk (No. 199 overall)

It's hard to do well with just four selections in an entire draft class, but the Tennessee Titans were big winners despite the lack of resources. They traded up twice, stealing linebacker Rashaan Evans and edge-rusher Harold Landry from several suitors nearly on the clock. These were no-brainer decisions considering the lack of depth at each position in the class and the quality of players they attained.

*Both Evans and Landry will be able to help this defense right away. Evans is a physical and efficient player in the box, making him an affordable replacement for Avery Williamson. Landry's role will grow in the future as both Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo are in contract years, but watch for his speed to become a huge asset on third-down passing plays in his rookie season. *

Even Dane Cruikshank (No. 152 overall) and Luke Falk (No. 199 overall) were value picks. Cruikshank projects as an excellent special teamer and downhill enforcer as a third safety. Falk is more physically limited in the pocket but can become a quality backup for Marcus Mariota.

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A day after being drafted in the first round, top draft pick Rashaan Evans arrives at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Donn Jones Photography)

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