Titans' Top 2022 NFL Draft Targets amid A.J. Brown Contract Talks, Trade Buzz

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIApril 25, 2022

Titans' Top 2022 NFL Draft Targets amid A.J. Brown Contract Talks, Trade Buzz

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    In 2021, the Tennessee Titans went 12-5 during the regular season to earn the No. 1 seed in the AFC South. Then, after their first-round bye, they immediately got eliminated from the playoffs, losing to the Cincinnati Bengals in the divisional round.

    Now, the Titans are looking to reload in an attempt to make a deeper playoff run during the 2022 season. However, there are still holes to fill on their roster and some uncertainty surrounding some of their key players—most notably, star wide receiver A.J. Brown.

    There have been trade rumors involving Brown, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract. But general manager Jon Robinson recently commented that he does "not foresee [a Brown trade] happening," per NFL.com's Kevin Patra. But Brown wants a new contract and doesn't plan in participating in the Titans' on-field work during their offseason program, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

    All of this is happening while Tennessee is preparing for the 2022 NFL draft, which is set to take place Thursday, Friday and Saturday. So it will be interesting to see if Brown's status impacts the Titans' draft plans in any way, as well as how they address their various other needs.

    Here's a look at several players who should be top targets for Tennessee when it's first on the clock at No. 26 overall in the first round.

Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M

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    Justin Rex/Associated Press

    The Titans need to strengthen their offensive line heading into 2022. The unit struggled in pass protection last season, and it also needs to a better job of blocking for star running back Derrick Henry. Left tackle Taylor Lewan and center Ben Jones are back as starters, but there's uncertainty at the other spots.

    One of the best offensive linemen who should be available when Tennessee is on the clock during the first round is Texas A&M's Kenyon Green. Not only is he a talented player, but he has a ton of flexibility and could fill any number of roles for the Titans.

    In 2021, Green made starts at every position on the offensive line except center. He's most experienced at left guard, where he made 17 starts over the past two seasons for the Aggies. He faced tough competition and should quickly become a starter in the NFL.

    "From the Titans' need at left guard to their specific interest in Green, this projection checks a lot of boxes," The Athletic's Dane Brugler recently wrote.

    If Tennessee wants to improve its O-line early in the draft, then Green would be a wise selection.

Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Even if Brown remains in Tennessee for the long term, the Titans need to add more playmakers to their receiving corps. They acquired Robert Woods in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams this offseason but also released Julio Jones, so they're still lacking depth.

    If Tennessee wants its offense to reach another level (especially its passing attack), then it could benefit from using its first-round pick on a wide receiver. And Penn State's Jahan Dotson could be a great fit with the Titans, assuming he's available at No. 26.

    Dotson showed continued improvement over his four-year career with the Nittany Lions that culminated in a big senior season in 2021. In 12 games, he had 91 catches for 1,182 yards and 13 total touchdowns, earning him a spot on the All-Big Ten first team.

    With his speed and athleticism, Dotson would be a great weapon for Tennessee to add to its offense. If he ends up in the same receiving corps as Brown and Woods, it could be a fun unit to watch in 2022.

Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

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    Aaron Doster/Associated Press

    This might be a bit more of a long shot, but it's not out of the realm of possibility. Ryan Tannehill will be 34 at the start of the 2022 season and he struggled in the Titans' playoff loss to the Bengals last season, so they may want to already start thinking about their future at quarterback.

    It's possible that Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder is still on the board when Tennessee is on the clock. Or if he's still available a few spots before, perhaps the Titans would consider making a trade to move up and acquire their potential future franchise QB.

    If Tannehill struggles during the upcoming season, then the future may arrive sooner than later for Tennessee. And Ridder could be a great quarterback for the team to develop so that it's prepared whenever the time comes.

    There are more pressing needs for the Titans to address in the draft. But if things unfold in a way in which Ridder is available, maybe it'll make the most sense for them to bring in the former Bearcats QB.