Nashville, TN

Tennessee-centric 2021 NFL Draft recap

Logan Butts

Following a 2020 iteration that had a strong local flavor, there weren't quite as many Tennessee prospects chosen in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, the Tennessee Titans did make a lot of moves. Let’s take a look at the Titans picks and all of the area prospects who were drafted or signed as an undrafted free agent (UDFA).

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3tE5hG_0ZajSyl300
NFL.Com/NFL.Com

Tennessee Titans

This was a curious draft for the Titans. Following an offseason in which several tenured key contributors left or were forced out, there were a number of open holes on the roster - namely at wide receiver, edge rusher, and in the defensive backfield.

Starting off with Virginia Tech's Caleb Farley at 22 was a great value pick, a recurring theme throughout these selections. Talent-wise, Farley was arguably considered the best cornerback in the draft. The injury history - two back surgeries and an ACL tear - is worrisome. But, everyone said the same thing about Jeffery Simmons two years ago, and look how that's turned out.

Farley and third-round pick Elijah Molden, considered one of the top slot corners in the draft, were both high-upside picks brought in to help cover the mass exodus in the defensive backfield over the last two seasons. Following the loss of Logan Ryan in 2020, the Titans released Malcolm Butler and Kenny Vaccaro and let Adoree' Jackson sign with the Giants.

Taking Dillon Radunz in the second round completed the Titans miserable year of consequences caused by taking instant-bust Isaiah Wilson in the first round of the 2020 draft. Hopefully Radunz can step in and fill the void that the Georgia product was supposed to fill at right tackle for the next decade.

Monty Rice, the playmaking Georgia linebacker the Titans chose in the third round, was considered a reach, especially with a number of highly-rated receivers still left on the board. The same could be said for Louisville WR Dez Fitzpatrick, who the Titans not only took over several bigger names early in the fourth round, but traded up to do so. Rice gets extra points for being a huge Titans fans growing up.

However, later in the fourth round the Titans found one of the steals of the draft. Pittsburgh's Rashad Weaver was a force in college, racking up 34.5 tackles for loss and 17 sacks in three seasons (he missed the 2019 season due to an ACL tear). He should provide instant help on the edge.

  • Caleb Farley | Round 1 Pick 22 | CB | Virginia Tech
  • Dillon Radunz | Round 2 Pick 53 | OT | North Dakota State
  • Monty Rice | Round 3 Pick 92 | LB | Georgia 
  • Elijah Moulden | Round 3 Pick 100 | CB | Washington
  • Dez Fitzpatrick | Round 3 Pick 109 | WR | Louisville
  • Rashad Weaver | Round 4 Pick 135 | DE | Pittsburgh 
  • Racey McRath | Round 6 Pick 205 | WR | LSU
  • Brady Breeze | Round 6 Pick 215 | S | Oregon

UDFA Signings:

  • DT Naquan Jones, Michigan State
  • FB Tory Carter, LSU
  • TE Miller Forristall, Alabama
  • OG Cole Banwart, Iowa
  • K Blake Haubeil, Ohio State
  • TE Briley Moore, Kansas State
  • DL Justus Reed, Virginia Tech 
  • OL Chandon Herring, BYU

Tennessee

The Vols had another lackluster draft performance, with just two players taken, and none in the first two rounds. Josh Palmer went higher than expected, while Trey Smith surprisingly fell all the way to the bottom of the sixth round.

  • Josh Palmer | Round 3 Pick 77 | WR | Los Angeles Chargers
  • Trey Smith | Round 6 Pick 226 | OG | Kansas City Chiefs
  • Bryce Thompson | UDFA | CB | New Orleans Saints

Memphis

The Tigers only had one selection after having a state-high three players chosen in 2020. Kenneth Gainwell is a versatile highlight machine. I thought he should've been taken earlier.

  • Kenneth Gainwell | Round 5 Pick 150 | RB | Philadelphia Eagles
  • Riley Patterson | UDFA | K | Minnesota Vikings

Vanderbilt

For the second year in a row, the Dores only had one player selected. But Dayo Odeyingbo was the first player off the board from any school in the state. The torn Achilles must not have scared teams away too much.

  • Dayo Odeyingbo | Round 2 Pick 54 | DE | Indianapolis Colts
  • Andre Mintze | UDFA | EDGE | Denver Broncos

Middle Tennessee

  • Rob Jones | UDFA | OL | Middle Tennessee

Local High Schools

After five local players were taken last season, just one was this year - former Oakland star and LSU linebacker JaCoby Stevens.

  • JaCoby Stevens | | Oakland | LSU | Round 6 Pick 224 | LB | Philadelphia Eagles

Tennessee State, Austin Peay, Tennessee Tech, UT-Chattanooga, UT-Martin, and ETSU did not have any draft picks and have yet to have anyone sign as an undrafted free agent. However, less than half of the UDFAs have been announced so far. Austin Peay safety Juanatarius Bryant did receive a rookie minicamp invite from the Atlanta Falcons.

Comments / 0

Published by

Covering sports in Nashville and the middle Tennessee area, with a focus on the city's four Division I programs: Belmont, Lipscomb, Tennessee State, and Vanderbilt.

Nashville, TN
44 followers

More from Logan Butts

Comments / 0