The Titans had four selections on day two of the 2016 NFL Draft with three in the 2nd round and one at the top of the 3rd round. Tennessee picked up additional picks in the round two by trading the top pick to the Rams for the #1 overall selection that used to take Jared Goff on Thursday. The Titans had an additional 3rd round pick at #76 but traded it to Cleveland when they traded up to get OT Jack Conklin at #8 in the first round.
Coming into the draft the Titans had needs at offensive tackle, cornerback, safety and receiver. They addressed the offensive line woes by taking Conklin Thursday night.
In round two Tennessee went with Clemson LB Kevin Dodd at #33. Dodd had a great year in 2015 with 12 sacks and had a good showing against Alabama in the National Championship Game with seven tackles and three sacks. Dodd benefited from playing alongside Shaq Lawson who received a lot of double teams but still made the most of his opportunities.
The Titans were already set at LB with Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan but it looks like new GM Jon Robinson was looking at the future as Orakpo is 29 and Morgan is 27. This season Dodd won’t likely be a starter but will work his way into the rotation and could be brought in to rush the quarterback on third down.
At pick #43 the Titans took Penn State DT Austin Johnson. That was a head scratcher since Bama’s A’Shawn Robinson was still on the board. Johnson has potential but I would’ve thought that the team would’ve looked for a corner or receiver at that spot. With receivers Michael Thomas and Tyler Body still on the board and defensive backs Mackensie Alexander and Vonn Bell available the Johnson pick is questionable. If the Titans needed a defensive tackle Robinson from Alabama would’ve been my pick.
Picking again at #45 Tennessee selected Alabama running back Derrick Henry. The Titans were thought to be set at the position after acquiring DeMarco Murray from the Eagles two months ago. In 2014 the team selected Bishop Sankey in the second round and Robinson just signed Antonio Andrews to an extension. By taking Henry in the second round it puts Sankey on notice and it gives the Titans their running back of the future. At 28 years of age Murray is on the downside of his career. He could still contribute but Henry will give the team a 1-2 punch and set the former Heisman winner up as the back of the future.
With the first pick in the third round Tennessee selected MTSU corner Kevin Byard. Byard had a great pro day and seemed to click with the team’s brass. The former Blue Raider had a great career in Murfreesboro but beat up on Conference USA opponents. It will be interesting to see how that translates when he plays in the NFL on Sundays. Had I been selecting the picks I would’ve gone with Boise State safety Darian Thompson. Thompson brings the wood and plays with swagger. He was taken five picks later by the Giants.
I liked the Dodd and Henry picks but Austin Johnson and Kevin Byard don’t jive with me. Overall I give the team a B-. Dodd and Henry are cornerstones the team can build around on both sides of the ball. Hopefully I’ll be wrong about the other two selections. Tennessee will have three picks on day 3 of the draft to address the receiver position and add some depth to the roster.