The Tennessee Titans were one of the bright spots of 2016, changing the narrative from perrinial laughing stock to young up and coming team. Marcus Mariota made great strides, and the once maligned “exotic smash mouth” offense proved to be a force. While they didn't make the playoffs, they proved that they're a team to watch in 2017.
They're also a team to watch entering the draft as they own two first round picks, including number 5 overall that they stole last year from the Rams. There are many ways the Titans could go, and a lot of them lead to players that will have a big impact on your fantasy squad. All rounds are approximated because, well, I'm not a “draft expert” and let's be honest even those guys don't know what teams are doing most of the time.
Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Round 1 Pick 5
One of the few glaring holes that the Titans have on their offense is at wide receiver. While Rishard Matthews played admirably in 2016, he is better suited to be a second wide receiver. Mike Williams is a protypical top wide receiver prospect, with the tape to back it up. Catching an insane 57 passes for 1,030 yards in 2014, Williams missed all of his junior year after he fractured his neck hitting his helmet on the goal post. He came back in a big way in 2016, however, catching 84 passes for 1,171 yards. Williams is the type of receiver you want a young growing quarterback to have, as he has great hands and a huge catch radius. Adding Williams to this offense would fill their one glaring hole, and make them even more of a force to be reckoned with.
O.J Howard, TE, Alabama
Round 1 Pick 5
Before you even ask, yes I realize that the Titans already have a good tight end in Delanie Walker. Walker, however, will turn 33 before the season starts and started to show some downgrade in production last season. Howard is widely regarded as the best tight end in this class and one of the most talented tight ends to come out in years. He was extremely efficient and effective at Alabama averaging over 15 yards per reception in a low volume, conservative Nick Saban offense. The 2016 National Championship game was where you truly saw Howard's potential, catching five passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns in route to offensive MVP honors. Howard is also an effective run blocker, a skill that is necessary in Mularky’s run heavy offense. I'm 2016, Tennessee ran two tight end formations forty percent of the time, proving that they want tight ends heavily involved, and having both Walker and Howard there would give them versatility and the ability to create mismatches all over the field.
John Ross, WR, Washington
Round 1 Pick 18
If the Titans opt to focus on their defense with their first overall pick, they may miss out on Williams but still be able to get arguably the most talented receiver in this class. Ross turned heads at the combine after running a 4.22 40 yard dash and his game tape proves that performance wasn't an outlier. You routinely see defensive backs laying five to ten yardsoff the line of scrimmage opposite Ross because of his game breaking speed. He isn't just a deep threat though as he will usually parlay that respect into great coverage underneath. Ross is also outstanding after the catch and is a threat to take score from anywhere on the football field. While I like Rashard Matthews, he isn't exactly a game breaker and would be perfectly suited as the possession receiver opposite the more dynamic Ross. Ross’s speed would also open up running lanes for Marcus Mariota, DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry as defenses will be too concerned with Ross beating them deep to stack the box. The only question with Ross is durability but if the Titans take him at number 18, we could be hearing about the Mariota-Ross connection for many years to come.
Anthony Reimer is a contributor and member of the FLAFFL House Family. Follow him on Twitter @reimeras & on the Fantasy Life App @mrmeseeks