NASHVILLE – Well, NFL Combine week is officially here.
I’m headed to Indianapolis today, and will be on hand the rest of the week.
On Wednesday, Titans general manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabel will take the podium to answer questions. Then the prospects will flood the room.
But first, I’m going to answer another round of questions in the Titans mailbag.
Let’s do this…
Trey Mundy from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim! I have 2 questions: What will the Titans do this offseason to address the QB spot both in starting and backup? Will the Titans go after a veteran wide receiver in free agency? I know that this is Mariota’s last year under contract. Are the Titans planning to give him an extension or are they going to give him help and see what he does. Will Gabbert be our backup next year or will someone like Bortles, Fitzpatrick, Tannehill, or RG3 be? I know I added another question there, sorry. Last question, will the Titans pursue someone like Desean Jackson or Tyler Lockett this offseason or will they turn to the 1st or 2nd round?
Jim: Hey Trey. Well, the starting QB has already been addressed. His name is Marcus Mariota. The back-up? Well, time will tell. Blaine Gabbert remains under contract, but the GM showed by drafting Luke Falk in last year’s draft he’s willing to explore options. So adding another QB wouldn't shock me. As for receivers, it also wouldn’t surprise me if the team signed a WR in free agency, and then picked one in the draft.
Tyler Sherwood from Union City, Tennessee
Question: Maybe a silly question at such a long shot, but what are the odds of the Titans trading WAY up to grab Nick Bosa? Probably out of the question, but a fun how-much-would-it-cost hypothetical to think about.
Jim: I'll say Slim and none, and I think I saw Slim on Third and Broadway waiting for a Lyft.
Dr. Julie Coyle from South Bend, Indiana
Question: Hello, I've been a Titans fan for only the last 4 years- but I've studied closely the TE situation, and have discovered that MyCole Pruitt, is an outstanding TE- if I am correct he only dropped one pass all season, and that was during a very rainy game, and his blocking was amazing and is rated as one of the top receivers this last season on the team. Seems as if he should be more in the focus for this team-his abilities seem to be really good, and I feel with Delanie Walker and Pruitt, the TE position will be covered alongside the others. Do you agree? Or see a much greater role for Pruitt in the 2019 season?
Jim: Good day Dr. Coyle. Thanks for taking the time. You’re right on Pruitt – he stepped in and played well, especially as a blocker. He also made some big catches. I do think he’ll get even more chances moving forward. But I think more tight ends will be in the mix. Jonnu Smith remains under contract, along with Anthony Firkser. No one has said this to me, but I kind of expect to see the team try and bring Luke Stocker back as well. And we can't forget this is a great draft for tight ends. So while MyCole will have an opportunity to earn more chances, he’s going to have to earn it.
Chad Alexander from Jacksonville, Florida
Question: Hi Jim, greetings from Duval again. I've been in line with the popular belief we need more from the outside pass rush. However, the more I look at what we have on the roster; I can’t help but wonder if it may be worth being patient with the young guys.... Harold Landry obviously has breakout potential, but Kamalei Correa and Sharif Finch are still very young too. Could they be an offseason away from being the answer? Thanks for all your hard work Jim!!!
Jim: Hey Chad. There’s no doubt Landry is going to be a big factor in 2019 and beyond, and Kamalei and Sharif are going to be in the mix as well. Another year in the system should benefit all three players heading into this fall. But the team doesn’t have enough bodies here. Brian Orakpo retired, and Derrick Morgan’s contract is up. Not sure he'll be back. So the team is going to have to add pieces, and they could come in free agency and the draft. It would be a big bonus if Kamalei and/or Sharif turn into big difference-makers as well.
Jack Walker from Simi Valley, California
Question: Hi Jim. Just a quick question. Is this season "make or break" for Marcus? I mean, it's his last year under contract. Also, would they offer him an extension before the season starts (I hope not, I'd really like to see a "top 10" quality season before they pay that kind of $$)? Any chance the Titans invest a draft pick in a QB in the draft? Call me crazy but I wouldn't pass up Ryan Finley on day 3 if available. Worst case scenario (or best) is MM8 has a blockbuster 2019 and gets a big contract and Finley can carry the clipboard.
Jim: Well, he’s going to need to prove he can stay healthy, and play better. I’d be surprised if he got a contract extension before the season. He’s under contract for 2019 with the option year, and the team will have the option of using the tag in 2020 if it so chooses. Nothing says it has to be done right now. As for investing in a draft pick in the 2019 draft, another reminder the team drafted Falk in the 6th round. He didn’t stick, but that shows it’s possible.
Gabriel Varney from Kingsport, Tennessee
Question: Hello again Jim. It's a clear need that we need more Outside Linebacker help, or edge rusher if you prefer. With Orakpo retiring and Morgan becoming a free agent, it's apparent we need more help. Harold Landry was a GREAT steal in the draft last year and I believe he has a great career ahead of him. I like Finch also as a rotational edge rusher. So my question is about Trey Flowers from New England. He is a free agent this year and has always been very consistent and productive. With our GM having ties to New England and I'm sure he is very familiar with Flowers, what do you think are the chances that we bring him to Tennessee as a starter beside Landry? He may not be the biggest name out there as far as Edge Rushers in free agency, but he is definitely in the top 3 in my opinion and would bring a veteran presence to our young Outside Linebacker core, assuming Morgan doesn't get brought back. Thanks again Jim and GO TITANS.
Jim: Hey Gabriel. I hit on this topic with Chad. The team needs edge rushers, and Flowers is an intriguing prospect whether the GM has connections to the Patriots or not. He’ll be looking for good players, and Flowers is one of them. He's still blooming. (#dadjoke). But a lot of teams are looking for guys who can get after the quarterback, so I expect Flowers to have a nice market.
Christopher Wyatt from Huntsville, Alabama
Question: Jim, my brother from another mother, how’s it going lol? I like all the good info and insight in the mailbags. I have a few questions. I know the Titans have a good history of not bringing in guys with bad behavior, with the exception of Adam Jones. But I think two players would be a steal for us in the draft and post-draft if they were kept on our radar. These two players are nose tackle Jerry Tillery and DE Jaylon Ferguson (who would be a 1st rounder if it wasn’t for bad conduct that makes him ineligible to be drafted). My question is. Are these players on the Titans radar? Do you think the Titans would be able to snag Ferguson as an undrafted free agent?
Jim: Hey Christopher. Good to hear from my namesake. The honest answer is the GM doesn’t let me near the war room, so I can’t see where they’re ranked. But there's no question they have to be on the radar of every team. Forget about Ferguson as an undrafted free agent, though. Heck, he’s been picked as a potential first rounder in some of the mock drafts I’ve seen.
Kelly McDowell from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Question: Hey Jim, this is my first time writing in. I have been a big fan of the titans since 2000 when I got to watch the Titans play in the Super Bowl. Anyways, I really like Mariota as our starting QB, but I have not been impressed by our backup by any means. In fact any of Mariota's backups have never been impressive by any means, I think that is due to their different skill sets. Gabbert or Cassel could never replicate the play style needed to cater to Mariota's strengths meaning they probably have to make play specifically for the backups that is a waste of time. So my question is this, now that Colin Kaepernick is out of his legal battle with the NFL wouldn't be wise to go after him as our new backup? He brings a veteran presence and the skill set to replicate Mariota if he gets hurt. What do you think?
Jim: Hey Kelly. Wow, what a beautiful part of the country you’re from. The Kaepernick question has been presented dozens of times in here over the past few years, and I’m sure writers across the NFL get inundated with questions as well. I’ve heard no buzz about it being a possibility.
Jaylin Birdsong from Columbia, Tennessee
Question: What do you think the odds are of the Tennessee Titans drafting a player like Jalen Hurd (Wide Receiver, Baylor, Former Tennessee Vols star running back) in the second or third round?
Jim: Hey Jaylin. Jalen’s an intriguing prospect, no doubt. But a lot of questions surround him, including about his departure from Tennessee. Now he’s faced with injuries questions, which will keep him out of drills at the combine. Can’t lie, I’m skeptical.
Nick Trushel from Knoxville, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim. Big fan coming to you from Knoxville. Throughout the past few weeks I have been reading a lot about the upcoming free agency and draft for the Titans. Generally it seems most people are set on filling the need for a pass rusher, wide receiver, interior O-line, and backup QB. Most mock drafts and free agency predictions have the Titans selecting a receiver or defensive lineman in the early rounds. Personally through the eye test I saw our biggest hole in the interior offensive line. Ben Jones, Quinton Spain, and Josh Kline have been far from exceptional. I wanted to hear your input on our offensive lines holes and how to fill them.
Jim: Hey Nick. Have been on record all offseason saying the offensive line needs some changes in the interior, and I’m expect to see some additions in free agency and the draft. As for the three you mentioned, Jones was the best of the bunch in my opinion.
Sean Jordan from Rome, New York
Question: What are the chances that we pick up Tyrell Williams and Adam Humphries from free agency, both are younger Williams at 27 and Humphries at 25. They both have experience and success in the league, and they won’t need a big contract like Antonio Brown (if we traded to get him). Williams will be the vet that will help out the young WR group that we have and would be great to have on the other side of Davis. Then we can address the defense in the draft and add more depth to or other needs in the draft.
Jim: Hey Sean. So much happens when free agency starts. When the three-day negotiating period begins, teams get a better idea on the market for players. I suspect the GM is eyeing veteran receivers. The two you named are good players, but some other options available as well.
Drew Worthington from Jackson, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim, this will be a short question. What are the chances we take a receiver first round? I know we have our biggest needs at EDGE and DT, but talents like N’Keal Harry from ASU are too good to pass up. I feel he would complement Corey Davis really well and would improve our offense dramatically with the return of Delanie and if Marcus can improve.
Jim: Not completely ruling it out. But also, a lot depends on what happens in free agency. A lot of these needs could be filled next month, which could change the outlook in April.
Bradley Moulder from Kansas City, Missouri
Question: Hey Jim, with free agency looming I was wandering if you have some insight on something. There is 3 defensive guys coming out that I think fulfill a need for our team, Trey Flowers (Patriots), Za'Darius Smith, & CJ Mosley (Ravens). If we were to go after someone what wins out our Patriots connection or Ravens connection with Dean Pees? Would like all three but I don’t see it logistically working out.
Jim: Hey Bradley. Flowers was in high school when Pees coached in New England, so that’s not a factor. And while Pees having knowledge and a past with players helps, it’s just part of the puzzle. The GM and HC are calling the shots and while I’m sure they'll gather opinions, it’s ultimately their call.
Dominique Uzueta from Jackson, Mississippi
Queestion: Greetings Jim. My first time in the mailbag :), thanks for reading in advance. So Jim, I might be the last person to find this out, but I had no idea Marquise Brown was the 1st cousin of Antonio Brown. Considering the stats and film i was thinking Andy Isabella and A.J. Brown are the top two receivers in this draft (Hakeem Butler a strong 3rd, DJ Metcalf is SUPER overrated im an SEC fan i watched this guy closely). My question is, Should the Titans gamble with the gene pool and select Marquise Brown as the first WR in the draft above the others? I mean the guy was projected to run the fastest 40 between a 4.2 - 4.3 at the combine before his injury. Oh one more thing: I think Titans should draft an OG in the first round despite the “experts” thinking a TE would best suit us lol. Thanks again Jim.
Jim: Appreciate you diving in Dominique. Yeah, Antonio went to some of his games and cheered him on. The two are close – they reportedly talk every day. Marquise in an intriguing prospect, but teams will have to make a decision on him. His family ties can’t influence in the decision. His injury has to be a concern, especially since he won’t be able to take part in the combine. It leaves questions. I think the team will add to the receiver position in free agency and/or the draft, but how soon in the draft? Well, we’re about two months from finding out...
Have a great week everyone!