The 2022 NFL Draft is nearly upon us, and the Tennessee Titans will have a difficult decision to make with the 26th overall pick. At least we can assume (as dangerous as that is) the two-time defending AFC South champions intend on keeping veteran quarterback Ryan Tannehill around next season.
As for 2023 and beyond? Perhaps we’ll obtain an answer in the coming days.
So, who should the Titans draft with the 26th overall pick? As with our mock drafts, we picked players based on need and team fit. Also, all prospects are ranked alphabetically as opposed to preference or potential.
Based on consideration of the aforementioned prerequisites, we believe the Titans should target the following players with the 26th overall pick.
David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
Although Ojabo appeared destined to be selected in the first round following the NFL Combine, the Michigan standout’s recent Achilles tear could drop him to Day 2. However, the Titans strike me as the type of team that would be willing to pick him in the first round, even knowing there’s a realistic chance he might not play until 2023.
Or, Ojabo could fall to the fifth or sixth round entirely. Who knows anymore?
After redshirting in 2019 and coming off the bench in 2020, the 6-foot-4, 250-pound Ojabo exploded for 11 sacks, 12 tackles for a loss, and a Michigan-record five forced fumbles in 14 games and seven starts last season. The potential and character are both here, but will the Titans strike here knowing the risks?
Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
Now we’re talking. The end of the Tannehill era feels like it’s rapidly approaching, especially after he threw three interceptions in a Divisional Round loss to the Cincinnati Bengals earlier this year. Although the Titans are likely stuck with the Texas A&M product for one more year, they can cut him next spring and only incur an $18.8 million cap hit.
Enter Ridder, the Cincinnati Bearcats legend who recorded a 62.1 completion percentage, 10,239 yards, 87 touchdowns, and 28 interceptions from 2018-21. The 6-foot-3, 211-pound quarterback also rushed for 2,180 yards and 28 touchdowns on 4.4 yards per attempt in 50 games.
If the Titans are eager to add Tannehill’s successor in this year’s draft, Ridder should check every box. The Cincinnati product is a dual-threat weapon and a proven leader who can properly command a team. If Ridder is still available at No. 26, I think the Titans should absolutely swoop in and draft him.
Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M
Although Rodger Saffold started 46 of a possible 49 games at left tackle over the last three years, the 2021 Pro Bowl selection is now playing for the Buffalo Bills. The Indiana product’s departure could create a hole for Green, the 6-foot-4, 323-pound interior lineman who saw action at four different offensive line positions in 2021.
NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein praised Green as a “bulldozing drive blocker with horsepower to consistently clear paths.” If that won’t appeal to the Titans, what will?
“While Green has some areas to improve, his run blocking can be dominant, which gives him a chance to become a good starter very quickly,” Zierlein wrote.
That noise you hear is Derrick Henry advocating for the Titans to select Green with the 26th overall pick.
Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
If the Titans target a receiver in the first round, Dotson might be the only one in that range who wouldn’t be a slight reach. I personally projected the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs would use first-round picks on North Dakota State’s Christian Watson and Georgia’s George Pickens (say that five times fast), prospects who often went in the second round of most mock drafts.
I’ve said before that I’m not the highest on Dotson, a 5-foot-11, 178-pound offensive weapon who I believe will struggle because of his size. But I’m also not an NFL decision-maker. So when Tannehill enjoys a stellar 2022 season in large part because of Dotson, you are all free to come back and point and laugh at me. I welcome it!