By Ron Wynn

NASHVILLE, TN — The majority of predictions being made regarding the Titans’ picks in this week’s upcoming draft are they will look to strengthen their defense.  There is general agreement that they need to improve the pass rush, both from the standpoint of the line and linebacker corps. There’s also some who feel the Titans may go for a defensive back with their first pick, which is at 29. A longshot would be an offensive lineman, at least in the first two rounds. Unfortunately, it seems  Logan Ryan is departing, so a cornerback’s a very good first round possibility.

The second round seems more a depth round. Once again, either defensive linemen or linebackers, especially outside linebackers, seem most likely, though a cornerback wouldn’t be a surprise in this round either. The third round could see the Titans address backup quarterback or perhaps another wide receiver. One position that isn’t being mentioned very much is running back, though they did lose Dion Lewis, and presumably would need another pass catching/ short-yardage specialist. However one area that will most hopefully change is utilizing Derrick Henry more in the passing game. The lack of receptions over the last two seasons has been the only thing anyone could criticize regarding Henry’s game, despite the fact he once took a screen pass 99 yards for a touchdown.

One name cited as a possible first round pick by ESPN’s Mel Kuiper, both on the air and his various mock draft boards, is Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos, either as a defensive lineman

Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos

or outside linebacker. Other names appearing in various projections include Oklahoma’s Neville Gallimore and Baylor’s James Lynch. Defensive backs being listed as possible Titans’ picks include Tulsa’s Reggie Robinson, Auburn’s Noah Igbinoghene, and Alabama’s Trevon Diggs.

In terms of potential backup quarterbacks, Florida International’s James Morgan seems to have vaulted to the top of most lists. Other contenders include Hawaii’s Cole McDonald or Colorado’s Steven Montez.

This season’s NFL draft will be a virtual one. It begins Thursday and continues through April 25. There will be no in-person attendance. It will be simulcast on ESPN and the NFL Network respectively.